Earnest Banks ’19 LABB Intern – In the beginning of week 7 of the LABB program, we had the pleasure of learning, interacting, and being mentored by Bill Kirst who is an appreciable college friend. He gave us an expansive story of his college experience; even though, Wabash was not the school of his choice. It was great to hear from someone that is not an alumni talk about Wabash education, community, and alumni. He later told us that being a Wabash man is one thing he would change if he could. We were able ask multiple questions about life, careers, advice, and schooling. He gave us informative responses which were valuable to every intern. The mini project that we did with Ford allowed all of the interns to create substantial plans with Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Since there were multiple groups, we were able to get interesting perspectives from the different participants. Bill Kirst met with each group before the presentation and asked questions that furthered every groups thinking. We really appreciated him for traveling to advise us. The time we spent with him was very interactive, which lead us into the holiday.

After enjoying Independence Day to ourselves, we spent the day after traveling to Chicago and when we got there we had a networking event with Wabash Alumni. There were alumni from multiple classes. From one member of class of 51’, we received an ample amount of information. He and other alumni gave their Wabash stories. The changes that occurred from then until now is very impressive because there were somethings apart of traditions that were admirable. Additionally, we made connections with people in Chicago, and personally that is great because I am a Chicago native so I am able to connect with Wabash Men when I go home. Meeting with alumni the night before the big presentation was very helpful, it helped create a comfortable atmosphere for the business pitches the following morning.

July 6th was the big day when we had to present the application that we created for our last project. There were multiple alumni that came to support and judge the presentation. The presentation consisted of 18 interns that were split into 4 teams to create an application. The four ideas for the application consisted of traveling abroad tips, cooking tips, charity donation competition, and an app small college. There were five judges that were potential investors much like the popular TV show, shark tank. The five judges were Howard Hellengren, a Princeton alum who was chief investment officer for First National Banks of Chicago, International Private Banking, Chase Manhattan Banks New York, and other important business positions. Brian Farrar is a Wabash alum who is the founder and partner of Maven Wave Partners. Brian Mantel is the Vice President of the Federal Reserve of Chicago. David Bowen is the founder/managing partner of SaBo Investments. Our last judge was Tim McHugh, a Wabash alum who is the partner and senior equity research analyst for William Blair & Company. Having these judges attend our presentations were very beneficial because they asked questions that we had not thought about beforehand. We all appreciated the feedback and presentations of everyone there.

This opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College. I also, would like to thank CIBE Director Roland Morin for making this opportunity available to me. It has been a life-changing experience that I will use in my future career.