Click here for pictures from the trip.
Joe Johnson ’11 – Personally for me, Friday morning started off much better than our rain dampened Thursday. Although the temperature was still in upper 40’s it still beats having to walk around New York City in wet suits and using broken umbrellas from the fierce winds. Our first stop Friday was at Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse is a financial service group. Credit Suisse Group is structured in three divisions, Investment Banking, Private Banking and Asset Management. We met with alum Bogdan Ianev ’03 and dealt more with how Investing Banking works and operates within the firm. Honestly, I learned far more about investment banking than I imagined I would. I didn’t realize the amount of effort and time that goes into investment banking as well as how many relationships are involved with many other businesses and individuals. Investment banking has a great price tag but I have come to understand that you’ll work hard for every dollar.
From Credit Suisse we took the F-Train across Manhattan to an advertising agency called Bandujo Advertising. Bandujo Advertising is a creative based advertising agency that focuses on the design aspect of marketing products. From the moment we walked into their office, the mood was dramatically brightened. Each wall was painted a different, vibrant color. One wall would be lime green next to a sky blue wall next to a peach colored wall. The furniture, desks, and cabinets in the office were very contemporary and unique. I felt like this place would be a very fun environment to work in. Going from an investment banking firm to and advertising firm brings out the diverse working conditions New York City has to offer as well as giving us students a foundation of what type of working condition might suite us best. Overall, Friday morning was filled with knowledge and creativity. It allowed me to get my feet wet and understand where my interests may lie. I found this trip, as a whole, very beneficial. Good thing I am only talking about Friday morning because if I could talk about the amazing experience the New York City trip gave me, I’m afraid you’d be reading this all day.
Hoang Nguyen ’10 – Two years ago when I got hooked on a career path in banking, I was always wondering how I could reach out to New York employers and Wall Street firms. The reputation of Wabash’s stellar education didn’t seem to get much further out of Indiana and the Midwest. People on Wall Street had never heard of the school, they didn’t recruit on our campus; they didn’t know what a liberal arts education meant. I was clueless and lost in how I could approach my dream. And then the email from Career Services came along this summer. The brilliant New York Alumni Networking trip during Fall Break offered a chance to see some of the biggest bankers in the world in New York City as well as to meet some of our alumni and hear them share their own stories about making it in New York. I immediately applied; got accepted and Career Services never let me down.
The whole trip was well organized and paid for with the generosity of our alumni. We stayed in a hotel that was only a short walk from a subway station that took us to Manhattan in less than 15 minutes. The facility of the hotel and our rooms were neat, but we never really got the chance to appreciate them as we were constantly away in Manhattan meeting employers and alumni. In our 2 days of visiting places in pouring rain, I had finally got my chance to visit Bank of America Securites, the Swiss investment banking giant Credit Suisse, and of course the world leading financial services powerhouse Goldman Sachs. At each of the visiting sites, I managed to pick up new things about the banking industry that has been under so much change following the financial crisis. Bank of America informed me the hard cold fact that they still owed the government some aid money and a job prospect was out of the picture this year for a foreign student like me. But they also believed things would turn around soon and the financial industry would bounce back sooner rather than later. Credit Suisse shared some inside details about how they participated in the market on a daily and client basis. And Goldman Sachs, as the market leaders, told us the factors that separated them from the rest of the players in the market. Each visit gave us facts and stories that I would never find on the news or anywhere.
The best part about the trip is not only that we came to see different firms in New York but also that we had the chance to interact with our alumni there. Listening to their stories and how their career paths formed was truly inspirational to me. I went to New York with an open mind, and I left New York ready to chase my dream career.
Nathan Schrader ’10 – Friday night was probably the night all of us were waiting for, and I’m sure it exceeded expectations the most wishful college student could ever imagine. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it’s not too far off. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the entire trip, from navigating and getting lost on subway routes to dinner at amazing restaurants to visiting established alumnus in their well designed offices learning about their path from Wabash to where they are today. During those visits I learned much about the vigor Wabash graduates work with and how one thing can lead to another until you’re at the top. But Friday night taught us another side to the business world: the social side of networking and marketing.
The alumnus networking concluding dinner at Heartland Brewery was a great opportunity to practice our social skills while at the same time making contacts and learning about alumni’s businesses. It was nice to be in a less formal setting than an office, casually talking with one another about Wabash days, future plans, routes taken after graduating, and much more. Personally, it was reiterated to me by history major Michael Nogen ’98 how strong the alumni network of Wabash really is (preaching to the choir, right?). After investment banking for two years, Michael decided to start a maternity clothing line company. A young twenty-something needing advice and resources, the Wabash Alumni sector helped him find Fred Wilson ‘69, CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue. Wilson acted as a mentor and gave Nogen the contacts and guidance he needed to successfully build the business and sell it in four years. It was just another example further proving that Wabash grads are out there wanting to help the young guys whether they can get you a job or not, and also that Wabash men really can do anything no matter what the background.
After the incredible meal along with a number of delectable house brewed beers and a singing of “Old Wabash,” the restaurant was ready for us to go. The next question on our minds had nothing to do with business, but what was next. This is where social marketing came into play. Jay Vix, Director of Marketing and New Media at BRAINFUSE, had given us great marketing strategies for any business venture we choose, as well as how to market yourself in a giant city like New York throughout our visit and the dinner. Jay had a resume full of marketing, especially outside of regular business hours. Thus, he used one of his contacts to get a few of us Wabash students into a brand new bar. It was a win-win situtation. We had a blast, and he helped his friend by generating business through our youthful presence. We also met a few of Jay’s former business partners and friends and exchanged contact information. I won’t go too far into detail about the night, but I think we learned that no matter where you are, being friendly and talkative to everyone could potentially lead to business contacts and maybe even a job or internship, and doing so can surely lead to a great time.
Looking back on such a night, us young college men will never forget what we learned from any aspect of business, and even life in general. I cannot thank the Wabash alumni, and especially those not from Wabash enough for the donations and hours of effort outside their jobs to make this happen and give small school liberal arts guys like us a shot. As I tried to catch up on sleep during the returning flight, I reflected upon the events of the trip and realized how blessed I was to receive the chance to learn from such great people and experience such an opportunity. I concluded that I have been given this information and these connections for a reason, and I must put it all to good use so that one day, maybe I can be on the other side, showing a couple college kids the times of their lives and teaching them a thing or two about business along the way, or as Mr. Vix said, to “pay it forward.”
Alex Moseman ’11 – Friday afternoon was probably the best part of the trip. After lunch with Rick Calacci ’91 we made our way to the CBS broadcasting center, where we got an awesome tour. We stared on the set of the CBS Evening News, where some of the guys took advantage and had their picture taken behind the Katie Couric’s desk. From there we were able to go to the main production room at CBS. It was a room filled with buttons, knobs, and a wall-to-wall screen that showed every CBS feed from across the county. The coolest part of the room was that this was the place where CBS would make a breaking news announcement. It was crazy to think that from this room at the touch of a button every TV in American tune to a CBS station could see what you where doing. After visiting the CBS station we went to Goldman Sachs. I’m not sure what it was about being there but somehow it made the whole trip come together for me. I don’t really have an interest in being an investment banker, but everything that we talk about at Goldman Sachs seemed to apply to any line of work. There were two things that Tom Halverson ’84 said that I still remember. He talked to us about the difficulties we might face by getting into an extremely competitive industry with a liberal arts degree. Speaking of Goldman Sachs he said, “We can just go to NYU and pick up 100 units (referring to 1st year employees) and know they will be good.” But he continued with, “If you are smart, capable, and hard working you can do anything that anyone else can do.” He went on to talk about how he really enjoyed working at Goldman Sachs, despite the long hours and demanding schedule. He advised us to “do what you really like do – what you are passionate about.” It was this message that I really took home with me. No matter where I go or what I do, I know that my Wabash education is going to prepare me to work hard, and think critical. More than anything that is the key to being successful. It’s not about working from the 22nd floor of the Banc of America Tower. It’s about working hard at what you love.