This January, the Wall Street Club of Notre Dame hosted four career treks in three cities: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each trip consisted of approximately 20 students who were selected for the treks through a competitive application process led by the Wall Street Club. In these cities, students met with Notre Dame alumni from multiple financial firms. They were given the opportunity to network, practice interview skills, and garner practical financial knowledge and apply it outside of the classroom, expanding on necessary skills in the investment industry.
While networking is an invaluable portion of the career treks, it is only one of several reasons Notre Dame and the Wall Street Club believe in their importance. The treks also educate students on the breadth of careers in finance and allow them to be further educated on the expertise each field requires. Through an in-depth examination of both buy-side and sell-side firms, students left the career treks with a deeper understanding of the varied roles they may be asked to play depending on their intended career path. “I was surprised to learn that there is such a variety of careers in the finance industry,” said First-Year Meaghan Hanley, who attended the New York City trip. “I visited firms that specialized in areas beyond the traditional finance fields and discovered spheres in the industry I did not previously know existed.”
These career treks also allow students to gain direct insight to a firm’s culture. Firms may have markedly different environments from one another. A large, bulge bracket bank for example, will have a culture far different from that of a boutique bank. Through in-office, personal interaction with banks of a number of sizes, students are able to picture themselves at each individual firm and decide which may suit them best in the future.
Students on the treks also got to explore the culture, work and lifestyle differences between New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. The exposure to these different metropolitan areas allow students to visualize where they may want to start their post-graduation careers. Sophomore James Campion, who went on the San Francisco trek, stated, “The work-life balance in San Francisco was unique, as flexible work schedules allow opportunities for employees to exercise and enjoy the city. In all, the exceptional location of San Francisco coupled with work environments that prioritize health and the promotion of new ideas made for a distinctively new experience.”
Notre Dame alumni led the presentations at each firm, giving students the opportunity to hold discussions and ask questions of people who were in similar positions and who share an understanding of the Notre Dame mission. Sophomore John Collins said “I liked that we were able to meet recent ND grads in various divisions at each bank, because they were in our shoes not too long ago and could provide good and meaningful advice on their roles at their respective companies.”
Notre Dame career exploration treks enable students to make valuable connections and learn interview and networking skills in the process. They also provide students with key industry knowledge, equipping them with the tools necessary to succeed in the industry and discern their potential future in finance and investing.