BYU Students Network with Executives on Wall Street

While students are usually pitching themselves to companies, this time the tables were turned. BYU students headed to New York City to hear from financial executives at more than 40 companies speak about different job functions within their organizations — getting students excited to compete for possible internships on Wall Street.

"Students can only learn so much from talking about Wall Street," says Jim Engebretsen, Marriott School assistant dean of corporate relations and career services. "Actually going and seeing how the industry works and meeting with professionals reinforces what the students are learning."

For many of the 83 undergraduates and 22 MBA students who took part in the excursion in late November this was their first opportunity to visit the Big Apple and experience its fast-paced lifestyle. The students who participated, members of the Investment Banking Club and the Graduate Finance Association, financed their own trips with hopes that it would pay off with a summer internship.

"Students need to learn how demanding Wall Street is so they will know the commitment it requires," says Kim Smith, Marriott School associate professor of finance and Investment Banking Club adviser. "Our students are competing against the top in the country and around the world — from schools like Yale, Harvard and Princeton. Having the opportunity to go to New York City and meet with professionals early on is useful for the students to know what will be expected of them."

In order to make this happen, many alumni and friends graciously participated in the trek for the students, Smith says. To accommodate the large number of students, Keith Read, managing director at Cerberus Capital and member of the Marriott School's National Advisory Council, arranged for the Marriott School to use a few boardrooms at Cerberus Capital for company presentations. Not having to navigate the subways to multiple locations allowed students to meet with more companies in a shorter period of time.

As students learned about the different career paths they could follow in such a broad industry, many began narrowing their areas of interest and networking with the people they met.

"Last year I went on the trip and stayed a few days after to meet with people one-on-one, which was foundational in the steps that followed and eventually got me an internship for the summer," says Austin Boaz, a senior from San Diego majoring in accounting and co-president of the Investment Banking Club. "The internship has now turned into an offer for a full-time position when I graduate."

Besides the Manhattan trip, a similar trip to San Francisco takes place each fall. Students interested in going on an excursion have to apply and be accepted. In the future, Engebretsen says the clubs hope to extend the program to Boston and Los Angeles.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Bethany Morgan