Kieran O’Connor, ’18, is not afraid of stepping outside his comfort zone. The University of Richmond senior is not only gaining career experience but also exploring a new city through his Jepson Internship at BMO Harris Bank in Chicago.

“Stepping off the plane into a city you know nothing about with nothing but an address and the hope that bed is waiting for you is quite an unsettling experience,” says O’Connor.

O’Connor says that experiencing life in a new place is worth the challenges that come from working in a new city. This summer, O’Connor is working with the Institutional Markets Team of BMO’s Business Banking segment, where he assists the financial analysts in his group. While he says that there is no one typical day, he spends much of his time in the office developing risk ratings for customers and creating debt maps and profiles for prospective customers.

“This internship has been an invaluable means of making strong connections within the industry to draw upon during the recruitment process,” says O’Connor.

As a double major in business administration with a concentration in finance and in leadership studies, O’Connor has been able to examine leadership within the banking industry. O’Connor explains, “My boss and many of the higher-level managers I have met at BMO are very relationship-oriented and truly do care about their employees.”

This is not the first time O’Connor has ventured far from his hometown of Westchester, New York for an internship in the banking industry.

“Last year, I interned in London, and I view the internship process as not only an opportunity to learn about the company you intern with and the sector you intern in, but also an opportunity to learn more about yourself through experiencing a new location and through taking a step out into the world and out of the ‘nest,’” explains O’Connor. “I have discovered so many cool places and events in Chicago that I could never narrow it down to one.”

His list of Chicago highlights include the city’s parks, which often hold free events, the Taste of Chicago food festival, and a handful of eateries. “This is only a short list though,” he clarifies.

O’Connor plans to put his internship experience to use as he pursues a career in the banking industry, but he is not ready to commit to any one location yet. He says that he would like to move around some before settling in one location and that Chicago, Richmond, and London interest him for their culture and lifestyle while New York offers exceptional opportunities.