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A Young Wally at the Chicago Stock Exchange

During my previous winter break, I did an one-month externship at Cheevers & Company on the floor of Chicago Stock Exchange with one of our prestigious Wabash alumni—John Castro. I met John during a career services event in downtown Chicago.  He is on the advisory board of the Security Traders Association of Chicago and he’s an institutional trader at Cheevers and Company. Being an Economics and Math double major; I wish to pursue a career in investment banking or consulting. So I thought it would be great if he could host me this winter for a job shadowing externship. Luckily, I talked to the right guy, a guy who eventually became my first mentor in the industry of finance.

Zuo ’16 gets his feet wet with an externship in Chicago

My externship started as soon as the semester was over. Working in the Financial First building next to Chicago Board of Trade in downtown Chicago gave me a completely different working experience. During this externship, I felt I was treated as an actual intern because everyone in the office was always willing to help patiently and took my questions seriously. At the very first week, Mr. Castro helped me go through most of the basic finance terms and concepts and taught me how to conduct effective finance researches. He showed me how the business was operated from different offices and how the stock trading was executed as a whole. Later on, he started to put me in front of different desks to see how different sectors of the business works.  I went to the back office to see how they do the daily clearing of all the trading records, traveled to the compliance office to see how they keep track of every executed stock, and I have been to the actual CBOE trading floor to see how brokers start the trade by making their first calls.  Castro not only helped me to get better comprehensive approaches to the stocks trading and finance world, but also helped me expand my social networks. I also helped my boss to write buy and sell tickets on a daily basis to better understand the nature of business.

I should say this is definitely the most unique externship going through Wabash Career Services.  Since the duration of this externship is one month- which is much longer than any other ordinary two-day job shadowing externship- I received more chances to interact with other people in the office. At the end of the externship, I could greet everyone in the office by their names and their normal lunch orders. And unlike other “employers,” my boss bought me launch every day. In order to show the special cares for the international minorities in the office, we had Chinese-Tuesday every week. Furthermore, being a freshman, I am a blank sheet of paper to this “messy” industry, so Castro assigned me different readings and independent research after work so that I could have better understand of the theories in terms of social practices. Furthermore, this externship expanded my horizon in the finance industry and helped me to build the relationship to the people who are working in stock exchange and investment banking.

 

Castro served as a mentor for Zuo during his internship, providing real-world experience in the world of finance

This externship is definitely unforgettable, not only for the knowledge I learned about the finance industry, but also because of the people I met during this winter break. John Castro is my boss who hosted me throughout my externship; he is a Wabash alumnus who graduated in class of 1997. He is my mentor more than my teacher in many ways, he is a real example of how a Wabash man think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively and live humanely. John is now considering hosting one Wabash every winter and if you are available and interested in Finance, then you can’t miss it. Eventually, I should say, so proud to be a Wabash man!

-Yiyuan Zuo Tiger ‘16

Ruvoli ’13: Catching a Break with a S.E.E.D. Grant

Entrepreneurship! This word alone can have a different effect on different people. For some people, entrepreneurship represents everything they have ever wanted to do. They’ve been enticed by being their own boss and doing what they love. Others see entrepreneurship as a headache, too big a risk, and just a sure way to lose everything they already have.

Having played catcher himself, Ruvoli created a tool that would benefit players like him

 

For me entrepreneurship is fascinating. Two years ago, my sophomore year, I was trying to find something to do during a boring Wednesday night over spring break. As I began to tinker with things, I picked up my catcher’s mitt and began to reminisce about my playing days. As I thought about my “glory days,” I thought about the countless hours I spent training and all the lessons I had taken. Why weren’t there ever any training tools for catchers? All the training tools in baseball consist of hitting, throwing, and fielding training. With this, I used my analytical skills that I’ve learned from my education at Wabash as a philosophy major, and I created my catcher’s training tool.

My training tool is called Perfect-A-Block, and its purpose is to promote the correct form of blocking a baseball or softball in the dirt. There are two problems when a catcher is learning to block. The first, a person’s natural reaction to an oncoming object is to flinch and turn away. By turning away, the catcher exposes his or her throat, which if hit with the ball can cause serious injury. The second problem is the exposure of the throwing hand while making a block. The throwing hand should be placed behind the catcher’s mitt to protect the throwing hand from any broken fingers. With my invention of Perfect-A-Block, I was able to create a training tool that enables catchers to work on the correct form of blocking by themselves. For a catcher, working on blocking usually requires a coach, parent, or teammate to throw them balls in the dirt, and then for that person to tell the catcher what they are doing right or wrong. Therefore, having the ability to work alone on having the correct blocking form is a huge step forward for the catching position.

Inventing Perfect-A-Block was a great moment for me, but of course, business and innovation costs money; and as a college student, money isn’t always at my disposal. Surely the costs add up with filing for a patent, filing my business as an LLC, and manufacturing costs. This is where Career Services and the S.E.E.D. Grant have come to help me tremendously. After struggling to find a manufacturer, I finally came across Infinity Products, Inc. located in Avon, IN. They have been great in helping me make my product into the real thing. To fund the manufacturing fees of the first part of my product, I applied for a S.E.E.D. Grant and was accepted. The S.E.E.D. Grant is for Wabash entrepreneurs looking for funding to help start their business. A student can receive up to $500 in funding. For me, this was definitely was a huge help. Because of the S.E.E.D. Grant, I was easily able to focus on the business side of things knowing I had the financial backing of the grant. As a result, the first part of my product has been produced, which is the mitt strap.

With the S.E.E.D. Grant, Ruvoli was able to make his idea a reality

 

 Funding can be a difficult thing for any entrepreneur, especially an entrepreneur in college. Having this opportunity at Wabash is great, and I encourage entrepreneurial students to take advantage of this. I would like to thank Wabash Career Services and the other members who have made the S.E.E.D. Grant possible. As I continue to work with Infinity Products, Inc., we are in the process of manufacturing the second and final part of the training tool, and, of course, I will apply for more of my S.E.E.D. Grant for help.

-Frank Ruvoli ‘13