The Boston College Career Center and the Carroll School of Management hosted BC Bank Week last week, a series of programs and events aimed at sophomores interested in pursuing jobs in finance. The purpose of Bank Week is to provide students an opportunity to learn about the different jobs within banking.
Bank Week was started last year in order to provide an educational opportunity for students interested in banking that wasn’t solely focused on recruitment. The program directors decided to make a point of having no networking during the informational sessions so students could focus on learning about the finance industry.
There were a variety of informational sessions and panels hosted by alumni and former interns on Tuesday and Thursday. The programs ranged from “Banking 101: What is a Bank” and “Networking Prep,” which were more general and aimed at all students, to “Asset and Investment Management” and “Sales and Trading,” which delved deeper into specific categories of finance.
This is the second year of Bank Week. Mamerto Teniozo, an organizer of Bank Week and CSOM ’20, said he’s excited for sophomores to have this educational opportunity and that Bank Week would have been helpful to have when he was a sophomore.
“There’s a stipulated time where banks come on campus and start networking—there’s ample opportunity for sophomores to start to plan around their schedule, which is definitely such a benefit,” Teniozo said.
Nadiia Fuchedzhy, MCAS ’22, said she found the programs very helpful in that the speakers were honest about the realities of being an intern.
“Today, I was told what the people at the internship are expecting you to do to get the offer,” Fuchedzhy said. “For example, I would just expect [interns] to behave like everyone else, when you actually need to the first in and the last out. I think the informal advice from the past BC graduates is helpful.”
Students interested in banking start looking for internships as early as sophomore year—many banks have already started the internship interview process for sophomore students for the summer after their junior year.
“Generally, sophomores will begin networking in the spring of their sophomore year, and that’s as simple as meeting the banks, getting to know the people that work there, and also getting to know different sectors of banking,” said Alex Martin, another organizer of Bank Week and CSOM ’20.
“From there, they attend networking sessions, meet with people, and also really start honing in on their technical skills—learning on their own, studying on their own, and then finally, interviewing.”
After the informational sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, there was a networking event Friday morning where more than 20 representatives from firms came to talk to students. Xirui Du, MCAS ’22, said the process can be very overwhelming.
“It’s kind of stressful,” Du said. “You have to search [for] a lot of internships and programs online and apply to them and then prepare for that, and also go to these different network sessions. It’s just a lot of things going on.”
Alex Intriago, a Harris Williams & Co. representative and BC ’19, said firms look for students who are not just bright, but who would also get along well with others in a work environment.
“[We’re looking for] a critical thinker—someone who’s able to think on their feet and is able to look at something from both a bird’s eye view and a very detailed view,” Intriago said. “Also just someone you can have a conversation with. … You always hear about the airport test: If your flight is delayed five hours, are you going to be able to sit with that person and have a good conversation?”
Despite being labeled a networking event, many representatives from firms expressed that they see the event as educational. Kate Schuler, a Goldman Sachs representative and BC ’18, said she wants to help students make the right decisions.
“It’s very much educational,” she said. “It’s making sure that all of those that are interested in going down the finance route really have an understanding of the different business lines … and know what they’re passionate about so when they make that internship decision, they are making an educated decision.”
Robert Powers, a Piper Sandler representative, said he appreciates informal events like Bank Week because they help him mentor undergraduates in their future.
“It’s nice to have those conversations and guide somebody more as a mentor than a potential employer,” Powers said. “I mean obviously we’re here, we’re looking for really bright students and people that want to do finance, but it’s also sort of refreshing to talk to somebody and think through what they want to do.”
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor