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‘Go West, Young [Wabash] Man’

By Patrick Bryant ’16

A dozen Wabash sophomores and juniors had the opportunity to visit technology and finance companies of various sizes over the course of a four-day Professional Immersion Experience in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was a great way to finish break and prepare for the spring semester.  First of all, I want to extend thanks to Mr. John Schroeder for his generosity in making this trip happen.  I would also be remiss to not extend thanks to Scott Crawford and James Jeffries of Career Services for their efforts on not only putting this together, but making sure we made our visits in a safe and efficient way.

It could be said that we were the “guinea pigs” for this first trip out west, but the quality of the visits we made certainly made it hard to believe that could be the case.  The two days that we spent making visits were divided between a day in the Silicon Valley region and a day in San Francisco.  The scale of the companies visited varied from the likes of Google, Twitter, Shutterfly, and Wikimedia (the parent company to Wikipedia), to smaller startups like Mei Wu Acoustics and Knack.  Most visits gave us an opportunity to talk to alumni, but very candidly, we found each and every person we met with to be very hospitable, knowledgeable, and happy to have Wabash guys visiting.

Bryant ’16 was very grateful for the access to experts he received during the SF PIE Trip

For an economics major, I consider myself someone interested in and open to learning about technology, but I haven’t had any exposure to any kind of coding before.  This trip opened my eyes in the sense that often those technical skills weren’t the imperatives for the profile of an intern or new hire.  Often it was adaptability or the ability to collaborate.  For any Wabash guy, that’s second nature.  That message was reinforced during our final event, a networking dinner at Lolinda, an Argentinian restaurant in San Francisco.  The variety of backgrounds and stories shared among the alumni that met with us really made this trip something to remember.

I highly encourage programs like this to those alumni who have an interest in supporting something like this or hosting students in the future, or to students who have an interest in applying for these sorts of programs.  What we do in the classroom is so important and vital to the Wabash experience and in furthering the College’s mission.  That said, the opportunity to see in-person and communicate in an environment that forces one to use those classroom-developed skills is an asset to the Wabash education that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Guess What Andrews ’15 Did Over Break

By Tyler Andrews ’15

Silicon Valley and San Francisco are every bit as cool as you have imagined. And better. If you didn’t already enjoy the aspect of being in a relatively warm temperature year round, or the fact that the geography just outside the city is phenomenal, or the fact that you have a million different locations to travel to for pleasure, you can definitely take pleasure in the thriving, driving mind that is Northern California. (Might be part of why the price tag is so up there, but it’s worth it).

Andrews ’15 and Patrick Kroll ’16 take in the natural sights after seeing some professional ones

Over winter break, I was part of a phenomenally lucky group of 12 Wabash college students. We were all Sophomores and Juniors, excited to be getting away from the snowpocalypse, or polar vortex, or whatever you’ve come to call it. We knew it was going to be beautiful scenery and trips to some prestigious companies. But being there in person made it all the better. On our trip, we visited a couple of small places called Google, Twitter, Indiegogo, Wikimedia, and Shutterfly, to name a few.

Since I’m sure not many of you have seen it, Google is intense beyond anything you can imagine. If you are ever lucky enough to visit the location in Silicon Valley, brace yourself. We met with a Wabash alumnus who was part of the design team for Google Instant, Google Glass, and numerous other applications and programs. Every which way you turned was the Google yellow, red, green, and blue. Their philosophy was to promote creativity through interaction and community thinking. There were gardens and beach volleyball courts and even a giant dinosaur covered in pink flamingos. And don’t get me started on how amazing their food court was…

The thing to know about Silicon Valley is that it is an absolutely incredible area for tech companies because it isn’t bustling with people on the roads like the big city. There are dozens upon dozens of office buildings with large corporation logos on the sides, and slid in between are ponds and different landscapes to brighten the place up. In Silicon Valley, we visited Shutterfly, Mei Wu Acoustics (a noise and vibration consulting company), Google, Red Rock Coffee (a church run coffee shop that has made over $1 million in revenue in the last two years alone…), and Knack (a software company that is designing games to help companies evaluate potential employees). Every visit brought a different twist, but each had bright new ideas and was inspirational to us as students.

We started the next day off by going straight to the heart of San Francisco, and getting a taste of the commuter experience, riding the BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit. We kicked the day off by visiting Indiegogo and getting a more in depth understanding of the online crowd-funding world. Our host, Bre, was wonderful, and provided us with lots of tips on how to start our own crowd-funded ideas. We then visited Twitter, Wikimedia, AON Consulting (who just sponsored Manchester United), and Calypso Technologies. The big difference about companies in San Francisco versus companies in Silicon Valley is the privacy. Walking down the street, you would have no idea where Twitter, Indiegogo, or any of these companies were located. Knowing the address of each, we got through security at each of these areas and proceeded up to the offices of these awesome companies. And let me tell you, the views were just as incredible as the production that these companies were kicking out.

All in all, I would have to say that Twitter and Google tie for the coolest locations on my visit. Google is just, well Google, and is on a whole different level of corporation status. Their idea of how to run a company is mind-blowing…mind-blowingly successful. And Twitter, ironically started by a Google guy, is just as exciting. Their view of San Francisco was the best we saw, and was viewed from their huge patio overlook 7 stories. Twitter has some excellent ideas circling right now, and are looking to expand even more, so I’m especially excited to see what they do. Personally, my goal is to land an internship with Twitter this coming summer, but we’ll see what happens!

Thank you to the Wabash College Career Services and to one of our great alumni, Mr. Schroeder, for making this event an opportunity. It was an incredible event, and I look forward to going on future events potentially like it. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the trip, or just check out Wabash College!

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.