The Girard School is casting a wider net for job prospects for its graduates.
Twelve upper-class students recently completed a two-day visit to New York City – for some their first trip there – visiting alumni at four financial companies and attending an alumni reception.
“When I started my career search a few months ago, I was primarily focusing on the Boston area, but after our trip to New York I am extremely interested in pursuing job opportunities that the big city has to offer,” said Cameron Tetrault ’16, a business major with concentrations in finance and marketing.
The excursion took students to three companies that previously have hosted Girard School visitors – Goldman Sachs, Investment Technology Group (ITG), and Bloomberg – and a new destination, Allianz Global Investors. Greg Shannahan ’81, Eastern Divisional director at Allianz, designed what was supposed to be a two-hour visit with presentations by three colleagues and time for questions and answers.
“I wanted to present a real perspective on what it’s like to work for an asset manager,” Shannahan said. Allianz Global Investors, a diversified active investment management firm, has 24 offices in 18 countries and, as of June 30, had $496 billion in assets under management worldwide.
“I think we hit a nerve, a good nerve, with the students. We got some very good questions and interaction from the students.”
Shannahan’s remarks opened and closed the program. In between, James Naldi, vice president of product specialist services, spoke on “Product Development and Services;” Joseph Minnix, a director and head of internal sales, spoke on “Internal Partners Role and Typical Career Track;” and Steven Malin, a director and investment strategist for global economic strategy, addressed “Present Economic Outlook/Adjusting Your Course.”
“At the end of the session, the students had enough poise and inquisitiveness to keep the conversation going for an additional 15 minutes,” said Malin. “The maturity level of the students goes well beyond the experience I had over 30 years in college classrooms as an educator.” (Malin, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, has taught graduate and undergraduate macroeconomics and risk management courses at Barnard College-Columbia University and six colleges in the City University of New York.)
The Girard students’ response to his presentation also impressed Minnix. “The students did a great job at pushing me to be better in my presentation and communication skills,” he said. “They left an impression on me to think about the presentation I gave, the discussions I had afterward, and recognize areas I could’ve been better, so my next event could be better. A group that is engaged and wanting to learn more forces that out of people.”
The 12 students included eight seniors, three juniors, and one sophomore. Most are finance majors, and many are dual-degree candidates, including marketing, digital design, and political science.
“This trip was an invaluable opportunity for students to explore and become comfortable with the plethora of opportunities available in New York City,” said Jessica Crowley, one of Girard School’s business career specialists. “It has opened many doors for future opportunities for Girard students, such as internships, job shadows/externships, mentoring relationships, and potential full-time jobs.”
“Having the opportunity to immerse myself in to culture of Wall Street and the professional world of finance was an invaluable experience,” said Brian VandenAkker ’17, a finance and economics dual major. “I came away from the trip with a more refined idea for what I want to pursue following graduation.”
Minnix is confident in the Girard students’ future success: “I can tell that Merrimack has done a fantastic job at instilling a strong sense of values. The students were inquisitive, curious, and open-minded to learn our stories. It’s those strong core values that will lead to success in their professional careers.”
In addition to their time at Allianz, students visited three firms that have served as destinations for prior student trips to New York City.
At Bloomberg STP, students toured the office and participated in a career conversation and question-and-answer with the alumni host Steven Kelly ’81, business manager, and member of the Merrimack College Leadership Council.
At Goldman Sachs, students met with three alumni, broke into small group discussions and toured the trading floor. Alumni hosts were Vince Bellino ’15, investment banking analyst; Russ Byrne ’04, vice president, principal funding and investment, and member of the College Leadership Council; and Paul Jordan ’91, vice president, listed futures, and member of the College Leadership Council.
At ITG (a multinational agency brokerage and financial markets technology firm aimed at hedge fund and asset management clients), students heard from a panel of recent hires from ITG’s intern program and learned about the company’s experiential opportunities from a vice president for talent acquisition. The alumni host was Frank DiMarco ’85, managing director, electronic brokerage, and member of the College Leadership Council.