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Noles on Wall Street opens doors to high-impact positions in finance

Jun 01, 2017

College of Business students continue to set their sights on succeeding at prestigious Wall Street firms, and are making inroads with internships and jobs despite stiff competition from graduates of other universities.

A yearlong student-alumni program at the college – Noles on Wall Street – opens doors for the most determined of these students, giving them insights into what it’s like to work among the movers and shakers in the high-stakes world of finance. It also allows Wall Street professionals to see the high caliber of students that Florida State yields.

“Wall Street firms don’t tend to recruit from ‘non-target’ schools, so we decided to make it easier for them to get to know our students and for students to have an opportunity to see what life is like on Wall Street,” said junior finance and accounting major Ryan Cote, Willow Partners’ president.

The program, run under the direction of the Recent Alumni Board by Willow Partners, a group of business seniors with investment banking industry experience, targets sophomores who demonstrate real interest and promise in investment banking. In addition to helping them hone their technical skills in financial modeling and valuation, the program prepares them for tough interviews, teaches them networking tactics and allows them to interact with alumni in the areas of investment banking, wealth management, hedge funds and private equity. The goal is to help them secure internships and jobs in those areas. Since its inception in 2015, the program has proven to be fruitful, boasting a 100-percent placement rate for its past student participants.

A highlight of the program is a three-day trip in the spring to New York City, where highly vetted College of Business students meet with Wall Street professionals. Last month, 10 of them met with more than 100 individuals at 30 of these firms, including alumni and others from companies such as Barclays, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

“Our expectation is that when these students visit Wall Street, they’ll touch base with the alumni they’ve already talked with over the year, make new contacts, and gain a perspective of the culture and the people they could be working with,” Cote said. “They will either be inspired or find out this is not the environment for them.”

For sophomore Santiago Aparicio, who is interning this summer with a Tallahassee-based wealth management firm and for years has set his mind on a Wall Street career, the trip validated his goal of working as an investment banker in New York.

“Being in New York City really nailed it down and confirmed for me that if I want to reach my goals, I have to work really hard,” Aparicio said. “Visiting the firms gave me the chance to find out about the path different people took to get to where they are and allows me to continue the conversation with some of the people I met about what I have to do to get noticed and hired.”

Even in high school, finance and real estate junior Santiago Marti Garro figured out that investing in companies and real estate was for him. He was thrilled when he learned about the Noles on Wall Street program.

“The College of Business is giving me the opportunity to learn from those with experience and knowledge in the career I am pursuing,” said Marti Garro, who is interning over the summer with Search Fund Accelerator in Boston, Mass. Not only is he able to interact with FSU’s alumni, but he also has the opportunity to know other finance professionals in their networks.

“When it comes to breaking into highly competitive industries like investment banking, networking is the most crucial aspect of the recruiting process, and the New York trip was the best way for me to apply the interviewing and networking skills I’ve learned throughout the program,” Marti Garro said. “The opportunity to have a trip like this, and to build strong relationships and connections with other individuals in the industry opens doors to new opportunities in finance.”

Willow Partners is currently seeking resources to grow the program and reach more students. To make a donation, please visit the College of Business Donation Form and choose "Noles on Wall Street" (F07800) from the designation menu.

By Barbara Ash





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