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Gray ’15: Kiss Me, I’m Home

By Nick Gray ’15

I spent this past summer picking cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, and bath salts out of the US mail system. Before this past summer, I’d spent hours browsing testimonials of people who had interned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol Tabaco and Firearms (ATF), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), who I was interning with, and the responses varied greatly: “They’re making me file. ALL SUMMER.”, to “Kiss me. I’m home.”

Gray ’15, a Philadelphia native, explores opportunities in his hometown and sees a new side of it

The USPIS Philadelphia Division was a 40 minute commute that I was glad to take. My average day was spent doing things like this:

  • Doing surveillance on a woman in North Philly, who’d been stealing identities in her apartment. We took license plate numbers, circled the house for possible routes of escape (in the case of a warranted search), and speculated on her daily schedule.
  • Working with drug dogs and their handlers to sniff out (no pun intended) packages in the mail.
  • Documenting, weighing, and packaging the quarter million dollars’ worth of drugs that we (the interns) helped find.
  • Browsing the evidence room (I almost cried when I got to hold a Romanian AK-47).
  • Hearing perspectives from federal agents ranging from 23 year veterans to people that started the year before.

On more extraordinary days, I got to sit and talk to Federal Judges, District Attorneys, Secret Service Agents, Air Marshals (We had a shooting competition. Naturally, I lost.), Postal Police, members of the Philly Police Department, DEA Agents, K9 units, State Troopers, and members of ATF. I got to participate in and help facilitate federal agent training and in the process, almost beat a veteran in a shooting competition and got arrested four times in felony vehicle stops which included accusing an Inspector of racial discrimination. I also got a course in using riot shields, how to correctly use a firearm while holding the shield, and I took part in a virtual simulation on responding to calls as a law enforcement officer (I saved a young woman then killed multiple innocents). The simulation left my hands trembling, hands sweating, and my heart cold and pounding. I tried to imagine the real thing.

I did not have to imagine for long. When cocaine or methamphetamines were found, we did what they called a “controlled delivery.” The drugs would be delivered as planned but with heavy surveillance. For this, we were allowed to ride along equipped with bulletproof vests. We got to watch as the package was delivered, then seconds, minutes, or even hours later, the door being blown off the hinges by a ram and the pouring in of federal agents armed with MP-5s. After, we were allowed to watch on-site interrogations and search the house for additional evidence. We also had the pleasure of being cursed out by locals for “entering without warrants” and “racial discrimination” (this is where my training came in handy).

As exciting as all of this was, it was fairly hopeless too. Drugs, cocaine especially, were sent, over and over, to the same rough neighborhoods, to which we came to “control delivery” and whisk away peoples brothers, husbands, and sons. I had the privilege of working with George Clark, a Postal Inspector in the Philly Division. Clark gave me an outlet into another side of law enforcement. He allowed me to assist him in the investigation of a man who had, over the course of three years, stolen nearly half a million dollars from banks like PNC, TD, and various others. He’d also managed to involve the post office by buying money orders with the stolen money. He accomplished this feat with a pen, legitimate checks he’d gained from vulnerable people, and the power of persuasion. We spent about a week pouring over his criminal record and reports we had of his past thefts. We found his favorite place, favorite day, favorite time, and waited for him across the street in an undercover car. Sure enough, he was there at 7:02 AM buying money orders with stolen money.

“Nick, get in there and get his description.” Clark said.

“What?”

Last time I heard, the guy was looking at about a quarter century in prison. The internship was over before we could snag him.

This internship began, where all great things begin: Career Services. I attended the Law Enforcement Lunch they hosted before that summer and went to speak with two ladies from the USPIS based out of Indy. Students had swarmed the FBI, DEA, and Secret Service, but these two Inspectors did not have a single taker. They were very friendly and much more flexible than the other agencies. I called their supervisor, Ken Miller, who told me they weren’t accepting interns that summer. I was disappointed.

 

“Guess I’ll just go home this summer.” I said.

“Where’s home?”

“Philly.”

“You know what”, he said, “I know a Scott Guretse in Philly, an Inspector. Here’s his email, check it out.”

 

Kiss me, I was home.

Anzalone ’16 Finds Answers with Career Test-Drive

By Ryan Anzalone ’16

As an Economics major here at Wabash, I spend a lot of time wondering what the real world will look like for a student like me. How do these skills translate to a career in finance, or any other industry for that matter? Thanks to the Career Services office and the Callings Funding, I was able to spend 3 days at an investment firm in Chicago experiencing the real world under the supervision of a Wabash alum. Chad Cleaver ’00 works at a firm called Driehaus Capital Management LLC which is a privately-held investment management firm with $12.9 billion total assets. Mr. Cleaver is the portfolio manager of the Emerging Markets fund, which generally invests in companies of all capitalizations based within countries with emerging markets.

Cleaver ’00 provided strong leadership and countless learning opportunities

This career test drive was eye opening for me. Due to Mr. Cleaver’s position in an emerging markets fund, I was fortunate enough to shadow him during many meetings with analysts from around the world. I gained valuable insight into different cultures and how different people view the problems facing the world economy. I arrived in Chicago with wide eyes and hundreds of questions and I left with lots of answers, and a much clearer view of the equity research industry as a whole.

“I found this experience to be highly valuable and it helped me decide which direction I wanted to continue pursuing as a career. These three days were some of the best spent three days of my college life so far.”

This test drive was a new experience for both Mr. Cleaver and me, as it was the first test drive of its kind at Driehaus. I spent my time each day reading about emerging markets and listening to industry professional’s talk about their hopes and concerns in each country. Analysts from Korea, China, and Turkey did their best to answer the questions Chad’s team had about their respective economies. The purpose of these meetings was to give the analysts at Driehaus a clearer picture of what is happening in these emerging markets, so that they can make more educated investment decisions.

On the first day, I felt like they were talking to each other in a different language. By the end of the test drive, I noticed I was able to follow along in these meetings much better and even found myself having questions for the traveling analysts.  I was also given a company from Kenya to research in my free time, with the end goal of presenting my research to Chad at the end of my trip. The company I was researching was called Safaricom, and it is one of the leading telecommunications companies in Kenya. I read countless pages of news about Kenya’s economy and how the telecom industry was projected to change in the coming years.

My independent research, paired with my exposure to the types of questions which needed to be asked to make an educated decision, allowed me to make a final investment decision about Safaricom and present it to Mr. Cleaver. I found this experience to be highly valuable and it helped me decide which direction I wanted to continue pursuing as a career. These three days were some of the best spent three days of my college life so far.

Yumnam ’17 Makes the Most of a Career Test-Drive

By: Seine Yumnam ’17

Sadly, Wabash does not have finance classes. But, worry not, there are opportunities out there just for Wabash men to lay foundation in finance: stock market focused.

During the winter break that just passed by (2013-2014), I had a Career Test-Drive with Cheevers and Company, an execution firm under the umbrella of Chicago Board Options Exchange. John Castro, Wabash alumnus, hired me. Generally, a Career Test-Drive is a very short intensive job shadowing opportunity. But my experience was too great to end it soon so I did it for the whole winter break. I walked into the firm on 24th of December. I barely knew anything about stock market, shares, trade execution, brokerage firm and whatever that has to do with trading. I am also a member of the investment club. In most meetings I would just sit and watch other team-mates throw words and ideas that made no sense to me.

  “I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?”

However, in a period of one month, things have changed. Thanks to Cheevers and the Wabash funded Career test-drive program we have. During the first week in Cheevers, I learned the terms and concepts that appear most frequently in the stock market; every single person in the office was passionate enough to deal with my lack of knowledge. In my second week I was observing what each trader was doing, questioning their decisions and actions to bid or offer.  The explanations I received were detailed with visual charts and graphs. Their calculated and precise moves completely blew my mind off. But sometimes they just had to follow their client’s orders. By third week, I was able to write buy and sell tickets without error and supervision. This was a quantum jump from my previous state of knowledge. The last week, I was awed at the volume of work that can be done sitting in an back office environment. The need for keenness and accuracy in the back office drove my attention. I got heavily involved in allocating trades, checkings and correcting misallocations, back office system renovation and much more.

My subtle interests in trading and banking have exponentially grown over the winter. Not only have I learned subject related ideas, but I have also become more confident in my career goals. I am in a much stronger position to plan what to do next and craft my own growth strategy. I have also honed vital skills like multi-tasking; simply put, I ate lunch every day in front of the desk while allocating trades. This multi-tasking skill is particularly important if someone is seeking a job in trading center in the USA: trading firm’s employees have no lunch breaks.

I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?  Remember, such test-drives are technically free. You can get funding from Wabash Callings depending on the number of days you are doing the test-drive.