Building investment banking career preparation for WashU Olin students

Shannon Hagedorn, a career coach for the BSBA program in the Weston Career Center, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes intention, coordination and time to create great things, whether they are architectural masterpieces that last centuries or an effective career pipeline.

Vaios Kouvelis ’19 shared his insights as a current IB analyst in the Lincoln International info session on February 20.

We knew we had a lot of work to do to build up investment banking at WashU. About a year and a half ago, we received feedback from students, alumni and employers. We listened and acted accordingly. Now, we’re developing a program that has strong relationships with alumni and employers, thorough preparation resources for students and a more inclusive process of connecting students to available opportunities.

We (and I use that term very loosely and inclusively to refer to students, staff, employers and alumni!) have been very busy with the following initiatives:

  • IB Interview Prep Sessions and Mock Superdays: Hosted prep sessions, collaborated with the WashU Career Center to conduct two rounds of IB mock superdays with 10 alumni and employers as interviewers, and processed feedback in additional interview prep sessions.
  • Author Talk: Gleaned insights from Josh Rosenbaum, managing director and head of industrials & diversified services at RBC. He discussing his book, Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers and Acquisitions.
  • On-Campus Information Sessions: Connected with Lazard, Lincoln International, Moelis and RBC in person.
  • 124-Page Trek Prep Binder and Prep Session: Compiled recent data from Market Line and Bloomberg into trek notebooks and discussed each student’s research on each firm’s strengths and news as well as questions to ask each firm individually during a prep session.
  • Four-Part IB Essentials Spring Series: Launched a webinar series designed to equip sophomores with critical insight about accounting, the leveraged buyout, mergers and analyst expectations for interviews and internships.
  • Organized Virtual Information Sessions and 28 Alumni Coffee Chats: Converted in-person trek sessions and networking activities cancelled due to COVID-19 into effective virtual experiences with alumni and contacts at PWP, Moelis, Centerview, Houlihan Lokey, RBC, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Cain Brothers, Citadel Investments, AWH Investments, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc., Wolf Hill Capital, NBC Universal, Eco Street Capital, Benefit Street Partners, and US Bank.
  • 25 IB Mentor Matches: Paired first-years and sophomores with recent alumni for a four-session mentorship, in collaboration with the WashU Career Center.
  • 20-Plus Mock Interviews with Senior Bankers at Goldman Sachs: Developed skills and gained insights from behavioral and technical questions.
  • IB Insights Summer Series Podcasts: Engaged 10-plus alumni and industry experts to offer short, high-level, exploratory conversations for students early in their career discernment.
  • Countless Coaching Sessions, Informational Interviews, Mock Interviews, Info Sessions, and Conversations with Students, Alumni and Employers: Appreciated that a lot of work happens behind the scenes and that this list only begins to scratch the surface of recognizing what we’re all doing to help students prepare for and secure their next steps.
Josh Rosenbaum, head of industrials & diversified services at RBC, and the WUIB presidents, Luis Vazquez-Ugalde and Jonathan Severns, connect after the author talk.

We’ve still got a lot to do but we’re excited to start seeing results, including feedback from our team’s collective efforts, landing stories from students, and recognition from firms. You can take my word for it, or read some of the comments below:

  • Matt Bauer, BSBA ’22, who accepted a 2021 internship at Lincoln International, “wanted to say thank you and express my gratitude for all the help and advice you’ve given me along the way. Going back to the beginning of the year when I didn’t even have a resume, I definitely couldn’t have done it without you.”
  • Addison Liang, BSBA ’22, who accepted a 2021 internship at Credit Suisse, was grateful for “all [the] help throughout this process!”
  • Ian Welsh, BSBA ’22, who accepted a 2021 internship at Morgan Stanley, “wanted to say thanks for helping me with so many aspects of this process. It is so helpful to have people like you at the career center that are so willing to help guide me through every step of the process.”
Sophomore students practiced interviews with a mock superday. (Pictured left to right: Heidy Wang, Roger Wang, Albert Kao, Ian Sajjapong, Drew Wilkerson, Harrison Arnberg, Max Schieferdecker and Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu)

We know it takes time, but we’re laying the foundations for a self-perpetuating cycle and lasting impact, as we build investment banking at WashU.

Pictured at top: Alumni from Guggenheim, Lincoln International, Barclays, Lazard, Oppenheimer and Moelis offered insights in a superday of IB mock interviews. (Pictured left to right: Matt Bernstein, Vaios Kouvelis, Syed Ahsan, Colin McCune, Nikhil Angelo, Bill Reisner, Meg Stolberg and Calvin Works).

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