Twenty rising Chapman University juniors got an on-the-ground look at working in one of the world’s business epicenters.
Chapman’s Argyros School of Business and Economics restarted its longtime Walk Down Wall Street program this year after a pandemic hiatus. The program proved popular – 20 students were accepted out of 100 applicants.
The weeklong trip in May was funded by Alicia and Don Morissette, who are also paying for the trip next year.
“We blew the lid off what they could be doing in New York and made it feel very real,” says Heather Stotler, assistant director of career advancement at Argyros. “They really are in love with finance and you could see everything come to fruition for them.”
Business majors experience the Big Apple
The group visited Nasdaq – where a student got to activate the market-closing confetti – Goldman Sachs, which looks toward the Statue of Liberty, JP Morgan, PIMCO and BNY Mellon, among other firms. They met alumni working in the city, attended a Chapman on the Road networking event and had time for experiences like dining out and baseball games.
“We wanted the students to visit these companies and apply for internships so they can land internships between their junior and senior years,” says Jim Dusserre, director of career advancement at Argyros. “Most of these companies want these internships to turn into full-time jobs.”
He recalls students’ reactions to sweeping views of Central Park and Times Square and the “packed” trading floor at Deutsche Bank.
“Their jaws were just dropping coming into these boardrooms and looking at these views,” he says. “We got to see this through their eyes.”
Kendal Stuckenberg says she knew about the program before she was admitted to Chapman and wrote about it in her application to Argyros.
“I couldn’t wait to apply and see my business major in the working world,” she says.
In the city, it was “incredible talking with potential employers and Chapman alumni to see their degrees working in life post graduation,” Stuckenberg says. “I loved the opportunity to ask all of my smart and sometimes silly questions.”
Ben Weiskopf applied after an alumnus who spoke at the football team’s training camp recommended the trip.
“We got to see each company’s unique culture and working environment while being able to ask questions to recruiters, interns/analysts, and even more senior people,” he says.
Elijah Bruggeman was “overwhelmed and starstruck by the city’s magnitude” when the group arrived.
“I had built up a myth of New York City and Wall Street – a mecca of global finance – in my mind, and I was nervous going into the first company meetings because I did not know what to expect,” he says. “My worries were ultimately assuaged when we were met with incredible kindness and enthusiasm on these company visits.”
At BNY Mellon, one of the company’s executives spoke about things “in the same ways I had learned in my finance courses and studies only a few weeks earlier,” Bruggeman says.
“I was so excited while leaving the BNY Mellon office, and from that moment on, I knew I was on the right track.”
The program starts taking applications in fall for the following spring. Dusserre says the goal is to have future Walk Down Wall Street classes greeted by panels mainly comprised of alumni from previous Wall Street trips.
Bruggeman says that throughout the trip, he realized how connected Chapman alumni are to their alma mater and how much they want to help students.
“A trip like Walk Down Wall Street, where you essentially interview industry professionals, and many recent graduates, is one of the only ways to truly understand if this is the right career path for you,” he says. “This ‘insider look’ helped me realize that I enjoy the chaos and uncertainty of solving problems in the industry.”
Stotler says that all the employers on the trip said they were looking for recruits with soft skills like curiosity.
“At Chapman you will get those soft skills, and we can make it more personal,” Dusserre says. “If you really want a career in finance and go into a program like this, the sky is the limit for you because of your combination of hard and soft skills.”