CFS Concentration & Year: Business Field Studies (2009)
Internship: JP Morgan
Major/Minor(s): Communication Studies/ BIP, Political Science
Graduation Year: 2011
Current Position: Private Equity Associate – Sterling Partners
Describe your CFS internship and how it helped you either in interviews, job opportunities or graduate school applications?
My CFS internship played a significant role in interviews and job opportunities. CFS was the first time I was exposed to a large financial institution, such as JP Morgan, and I was able to leverage that experience and that brand for future opportunities. I also learned the basics of asset allocation as well as some industry jargon, both useful tools. Moreover, it was a great networking opportunity, and my mentors at JP Morgan were invaluable assets as I went through the recruitment process.
Did you see it as a future career when you took the internship?
My internship reaffirmed my interest in finance and was one of the primary reasons why I recruited for investment banking internships the following winter. However, I also learned that I wasn’t as interested in asset management (which is the group that I was interning with) and thus, explored other areas of the bank. I think an internship is a great opportunity for students to determine what they are interested in, but also what they’re not interested in.
Please briefly explain what you are doing now?
After spending two years doing investment banking at UBS, I now work at a middle market private equity fund in Chicago called Sterling Partners. We focus on investments in the healthcare, education and business services verticals.
Is there a link between your CFS experience and what you are doing now?
Without a doubt. I think my CFS experience was a building block. Without CFS, it would’ve been difficult to get an investment banking opportunity, and without an investment banking opportunity, it would’ve been impossible to go into private equity. Because JP Morgan is such a great brand, I continue to keep it on my resume now, even though my internship was five years ago. When I was recruiting for private equity last year, many interviewers asked me about it.
What advice do you have for students at NU considering the program?
I think CFS is a fantastic program, and students at Northwestern are lucky to have it. It’s an incredible resume builder and a wonderful opportunity for networking and mentorship. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to go into finance.
How can CFS students make the most of their experience?
Building relationships with your colleagues and superiors is a great starting point. As an intern, you’re just starting out in your career and you should function as a sponge –talk to as many people as you can and absorb as much information as possible. People with years of experience are often surprisingly open about sharing their challenges as well as their successes. Look for common themes and use them to your advantage.
In addition, to the extent it’s possible, use the internship to get some technical experience; this will help differentiate you down the line. Because Northwestern doesn’t offer a business or finance major, employers want to see that you’re proficient with tools such as Excel and that you do have technical experience.