Financial services is the number one industry of interest for University of Richmond students, according to the 2011 Student Career Interest Inventory.  To ensure students are familiar with all the career opportunities in financial services, the Office of Alumni and Career Services and the University of Richmond Alumni Association (URAA) hosted Deconstructing Wall Street last September.

Conceived by URAA Vice President Brandt Portugal, ’02, and developed with co-chair Jordan Rice, ’07, the program provided undergraduate students from all class years with the opportunity to learn about major areas and career paths in finance.  The alumni provided an inside look into the industry and discussed how to network and foster connections for internships and jobs.  With counsel from finance professor Jerry Stevens, the alumni recruited fellow Spiders to participate and developed all aspects of the program, from the schedule for the day, the content for the sessions and the program binders. 

“This program provided our students with an edge over other top ranked schools during the recruiting process due to the understanding they gained and the alumni contacts they made,” said Brandt Portugal, ’02, co-chair of the event and director in foreign exchange at Citi.

To that, Scott Kearney, B’85, senior managing director at Turner Investments, added that the event also pressed upon students the variety of career opportunities outside of the major financial centers, investment banking and trading.

The one-day event, attended by more than 80 students of all class years and majors, included four sessions led by UR alumni on sales and trading, private wealth and asset management, investment banking and capital markets, and research.  In addition, a student panel reflected on their summer internship experiences and a Wall Street recruiter shared her industry insight.

The importance of networking surfaced as a common theme throughout the event. Christiana Howe, ’13, an economics major, attended all sessions and made valuable connections.

“I gained important insight into career planning from every presenter at this event,” said Howe. “I also understood the value of being prepared for networking events with the help of career advisors, being professional and ready to learn.” 

Alumni networking is a powerful tool and the alumni who attended the day served as great examples. A significant number of job and internship opportunities for UR students come from leads or directly through alumni.

“Employers recognize the success of their employees and successful Spiders have the opportunity to help open doors for those Spiders behind them,” said Jordan Rice, ’07, the co-chair of the event and a private wealth management Associate at J.P. Morgan.  “While Richmond may be a small school, it packs a powerful punch in the caliber of the students it produces each year. “

With an increasing focus on facilitating alumni and student learning and networking opportunities, the Office of Alumni and Career Services and URAA will make Deconstructing Wall Street a yearly event.   

Feature Photo:  URAA Vice President and director in foreign exchange at Citi, Brandt Portugal, ’02, leads a sales and trading discussion at Deconstructing Wall Street 2011.
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Deconstructing Wall Street Sessions