Yumnam ’17 Makes the Most of a Career Test-Drive

By: Seine Yumnam ’17

Sadly, Wabash does not have finance classes. But, worry not, there are opportunities out there just for Wabash men to lay foundation in finance: stock market focused.

During the winter break that just passed by (2013-2014), I had a Career Test-Drive with Cheevers and Company, an execution firm under the umbrella of Chicago Board Options Exchange. John Castro, Wabash alumnus, hired me. Generally, a Career Test-Drive is a very short intensive job shadowing opportunity. But my experience was too great to end it soon so I did it for the whole winter break. I walked into the firm on 24th of December. I barely knew anything about stock market, shares, trade execution, brokerage firm and whatever that has to do with trading. I am also a member of the investment club. In most meetings I would just sit and watch other team-mates throw words and ideas that made no sense to me.

  ”I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?”

However, in a period of one month, things have changed. Thanks to Cheevers and the Wabash funded Career test-drive program we have. During the first week in Cheevers, I learned the terms and concepts that appear most frequently in the stock market; every single person in the office was passionate enough to deal with my lack of knowledge. In my second week I was observing what each trader was doing, questioning their decisions and actions to bid or offer.  The explanations I received were detailed with visual charts and graphs. Their calculated and precise moves completely blew my mind off. But sometimes they just had to follow their client’s orders. By third week, I was able to write buy and sell tickets without error and supervision. This was a quantum jump from my previous state of knowledge. The last week, I was awed at the volume of work that can be done sitting in an back office environment. The need for keenness and accuracy in the back office drove my attention. I got heavily involved in allocating trades, checkings and correcting misallocations, back office system renovation and much more.

My subtle interests in trading and banking have exponentially grown over the winter. Not only have I learned subject related ideas, but I have also become more confident in my career goals. I am in a much stronger position to plan what to do next and craft my own growth strategy. I have also honed vital skills like multi-tasking; simply put, I ate lunch every day in front of the desk while allocating trades. This multi-tasking skill is particularly important if someone is seeking a job in trading center in the USA: trading firm’s employees have no lunch breaks.

I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?  Remember, such test-drives are technically free. You can get funding from Wabash Callings depending on the number of days you are doing the test-drive.

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‘Bash Bunks and A Little Trip to Denver

By Spencer Peters

           

While I was studying abroad in Rome last year, I often travelled to other countries on the weekends.  While I was in Paris, Barcelona, or Naples I wouldn’t do what is considered the American tradition of booking a hotel room and stay the night alone.  I would instead walk up to the door of a hostel I found on Hostelworld.com or some other hostel website and pay for a bed.  Sleeping in a room with people I didn’t know wasn’t as big of a shock to me as it was to some of my travelling companions, as I used to sleep in a cold dorm during my freshman year at Wabash; however it did take some getting used to.  Because of my choice to stay in a hostel, I can honestly say that I had more fun everywhere I went, learned more about the culture of the place by meeting fellow travelers, and I also saved A LOT of money by choosing the option.  The moral of my introduction is: by opening up your mind to possibilities outside the norm, you can often benefit much, much more.

            This was the purpose of the Denver Trip that I and three other Wabash men made this Fall Break: to increase awareness of an alternate housing program for Wabash Students, namely ‘Bash Bunks.  ‘Bash Bunks is a couch-surfing program put on through the Career Services department at Wabash College.  The staff has built an extensive database of alumni and friends of the college that are located all around the U.S. and some even in Europe.  A student can access the network and send a request for housing to a specific alumnus in a specific location for some amount of time.  The reason for this visit could be many: from a job interview across the country to med school visits. 

            Alex Amerling, Ian Webb, Justin Taylor, and I set out from Crawfordsville on a Wednesday afternoon with our eyes set on St. Louis, MO and the home of Jim Dyer and his family.  Jim is an alumnus that works at ScottTrade and is listed on the ‘Bash Bunks network.  We arrived at his home and he had nothing but hospitality for us.  He fed us dinner and let us interview him for our cross-country excursion.  Upon waking up, he had a full breakfast spread for us before we had to leave and make our way to Denver.  Staying with Jim was much better than some unwelcoming hotel room and it also was at no cost to us!  Example 1 of how great the ‘Bash Bunks program is!

            After leaving Jim’s, we had a LONG day of driving before we reached Denver and the home of Tony Caldwell.  Tony is a law student in Tucson, AZ but until recently lived in Denver, CO.  He still had a house there and he offered it up for housing to the four of us for two nights.  The house was spacious, clean, and homey and the perfect place to stay while on a professional visit.  The house was right on the line for the subway and was close to every neighborhood in the city. 

            While in town, the four of us met with alum Stephen Abbott and got an interview about his thoughts on the program as well as other career related topics.  The goal of our trip was to increase interest and awareness in the ‘Bash Bunks network and I think we accomplished that, both from a student and alumni perspective.  Hopefully, through our trip and our social media documentation of it, we gave the Wabash Community something to follow and provided more information about a great program that can and should be utilized by both alumni and students. 

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Applying for the Fulbright Scholarship

By Jared Sonnickson ’01

Editors Note:  Jared graduated from Wabash in 2001 and earned a Fulbright Scholarship.  Upon being approached by Art Howe and with the Fellowship upswing at Wabash, Jared was kind enough to share this advice about applying for this prestigious opportunity.  If you would like to contact him, the Career Services office will provide contact information for you.  Enjoy!

The Fulbright Commission offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to a host of countries around the world – nearly of them actually! I was fortunate to receive a scholarship toward the end of my senior year at Wabash, which provided an excellent opportunity to go abroad for about one year, in my case to Germany. However, this undoubtedly would not have been possible without the assistance (and critique) of the Wabash community. The selection committee above all proved to be a crucial factor in helping me prepare my application for the scholarship, which constitutes my first piece of advice or tip – to take advantage of this opportunity. As a first step though, prospective applicants or interested students should start, more or less early, with looking into the Fulbright programs, for example in the summer after junior year. Around the beginning of the fall semester of senior year would be a good time to reach more concrete ideas about a possible program and destination.

For a convincing application, students should develop a project to be conducted or researched during the time abroad. This is particularly important for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which is the one that will most likely interest Wabash students and for which you will most likely qualify (and is the same program I originally participated in), though there are other possible programs such as the English-teaching program. Regardless of major/minor, it would be helpful to have a project idea that, in addition to its academic merit, relates to the country of destination, which also demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge and especially interest in the country – both of which are important for the final selection process. In this context, faculty members at Wabash can provide a particularly helpful and necessary source of constructive critique, which will help applicants all the more in preparing a solid application.

With regard to the rest of the application, like with any application (for internship, job, college program, etc.), it is imperative to allow oneself time and consideration in order to gain feedback as well as to rethink, rewrite and revise the various application components. This approach was certainly helpful for me and ultimately I can only recommend these simple tips: take your time, seek advice and feedback from the wide palette of expertise and assistance provided by the Wabash community, which also includes the alumni. And on that note, I would be delighted to be of further assistance – feel free to contact me with any questions concerning this program or other study/living abroad aspirations.

All the best,

Jared

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Final Advice for Interns

Editor’s Note: James Jeffries and Alex Amerling provide some timely advice for interns wrapping up their summer. 

Don’t let your resume look like this:

Sales Intern                                                    Summer 2013

Acme Corporation, Saskatchewan

  • Initiated Friday Social Hour for team of 13
  • Managed workload, even with delayed morning arrivals
  • Executed 15 calls per day to family and friends
  • Um…some major project in sales, but I forget
  • Started 18 performance upgrades; completed 2

Here is Alex’s Advice:

1. Go out with class. This means finish any of those tasks that you just haven’t gotten around to, make sure to clean your work area out, tell your boss where you are on unfinished projects so he/she has the adequate amount of information to finish the project.

2. Write everything you did down. Write down all the new computer programs and equipment you learned to use. And even more importantly write down what you accomplished in detail. Imagine making a presentation of what you accomplished this summer. This allows you to have a great answer in those tough interviews and it will make updating your resume much easier.

3. Thank You’s. Thank everyone who helped you along your way for the summer, both in person and with a thank you card. NEVER underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you card; it can get you a job in the future.

If you have any questions on how to update your resume, write a proper thank you, or anything else to finish up your summer feel free to stop by Career Services or email Scott (crawfors@wabash.edu) or James (jeffriej@wabash.edu).

–Alex Amerling & James Jeffries

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Long Pham ’14: Programming Internship at Fastport Trucking

Long Pham ’14:  This summer I am doing an internship up here in Lowell, MA with Jim Ray ’95 at his startup FASTPORT, thanks to the funding from Lilly Small Business Internship Fund.  FASTPORT is a small business focusing on technology-based trucker recruitment, and is pretty much the very first such company in the trucking industry.  One particular advance that we possess is our web-based application for truckers to get rid of all the paperwork and reduce the processing time from a few weeks to 48-72 hours.

However, our web application was meant to be much better and faster than it is at the moment; and that is where my work comes in. Generally, my work at FASTPORT involves assisting Jim on rebuilding the entire web application from scratch, to create a better, faster and much more efficient system for the business.

I would like to emphasize the importance of what I have learned here at FASTPORT.  In fact, the most important lesson that I have learned over the last 10 weeks is not about programming; instead, it is all about work ethics and entrepreneurial attitude.  For over 10 weeks, Aeknoor Cheema ’15 and I have been working to get the business up and running.  Aeknoor was helping Colin Dunlap ’12, our Sales & Marketing manager, on building business and marketing plans, while I assisted Jim on all the programming stuffs.  Since FASTPORT is only a startup with 2 employees and 2 interns, it is obvious that we all have to work really hard in order to make it work. Late-night and weekend work shifts are very common at FASTPORT.  Even though the workload is always tremendous, I never felt unmotivated, thanks to Jim’s wonderful mentorship.  When we stay late for work, he often takes us out to dinner, and we discuss our workplan over delicious wings and beers.  Jim also shares stories about his ventures, his successes and failures, and always concludes with some sort of life-worthy lesson.  These experiences make me feel fortunate for having chosen this internship for my summer.

Certainly, I cannot forget to mention the programming part of the internship.  Even though I had studied several courses on Computer Science and was indeed fluent in Java and Python, my knowledge did not help very much.  Jim has guided us towards .NET programming using Visual Basic/SQL, which I never learned.  Thankfully, he was a great teacher, who would spend time making me instructive videos and guidelines, as well as providing working examples for me to study from.  After 10 weeks of ‘studying’ web programming with Jim, I have come a long way from knowing nothing to being able to construct a complete web project on my own with an infinitesimal amount of help.  All this work also makes me realize that knowledge means nothing unless you really use it in fieldwork.

To conclude, I would just like to thank Career Services and Jim for offering me this wonderful opportunity.  All these hardworking late nights and weekends have taught me the importance of working ethically with a positive attitude, regardless of your position in the company.  More importantly, they affirm one simple truth to me: Wabash Always Fights, in school and beyond.

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Sean Hildebrand ’14: Exploring Opportunities in Sports Industries

Sean Hildebrand ’14:  When I was searching for an externship that would help me in my goal to one day work in the NFL, I was fortunate enough to land an opportunity to visit the Indianapolis Colts Team Facility for a day.  While there wasn’t anyone on site that worked with the actual team, there were plenty of employees scrambling around to finish various projects before the preseason opener this Sunday.  I met numerous people who worked with the marketing, sales, and sponsorship side of the organization, and I instantly became fascinated with the work they were doing. 

The first man I visited was Jim Matis, formerly known as “Mad Dog” on radio station Q95.  After 25 years with the radio show, Jim became the Colts’ sponsorship sales account manager.  Even though promotions and sponsorships aren’t what I’m looking to get involved with, it was great to learn about what goes on behind the scenes in the Colts’ facility and at home games.  For example, all those company banners you see hanging around Lucas Oil Stadium became involved with the organization through Jim.  The Colts organization agrees to market the company name around the stadium and through commercial/radio ads in exchange for a hefty investment from the company.  The more sponsors he racks up, the more the organization profits. 

I was then passed on to Andy Schwartz, the man Jim goes to once he comes to an agreement with a new sponsor.  Schwartz then gets in contact with the sponsor and finds out what kind of promotions they want with the Colts (commercials, in-game ads, radio mentions, etc.).  Once that is settled, Schwartz sets up times when the company’s promotions will be displayed on television, radio, or during the game.  He showed me the script of all the promos that will be shown during this Sunday’s preseason game:  there were eight pages worth of ads that had to be shown throughout the game.  The unnoticed amount of work that the marketing side of the organization goes through every day is simply unbelievable.  Even though this isn’t the kind of work I want to get involved with, I gained an incredible appreciation for the work that this side of the organization does in helping the Colts become even more profitable.  I also found value in seeing how fast-paced and unpredictable life in an NFL organization can be.

The following day I visited the Finish Line headquarters to hang out with Andy Rankin, a Wabash alumnus of 1998 and a lawyer.  He does real estate corporate counseling with the company, which means he makes agreements with landlords to have a Finish Line at various malls and buildings around the country.  Finish Line began in Indianapolis in 1976, and has expanded to over 650 stores across the country.  There are also over 650 separate leases for each of the Finish Line locations in the United States, and two real estate lawyers to manage them.  To show me just how busy Andy can be, he gave me an old lease for a Finish Line store that is no longer open.  Numerous amendments were made on the lease by both Andy and the landlord, and the final draft ended up being 70 pages long.  The average lease for a Finish Line store takes him roughly two hours to look over and propose changes, and he usually does this about 5-7 times each week.  Fortunately for Rankin, this is about as difficult and boring as it gets for him at Finish Line Headquarters.

After spending a day with Andy, I gained a much better understanding of what lawyers do in the sporting goods industry.  While I am still uncertain about my specific career track after graduation, it was nice to learn what a law degree and other graduate school programs can do for you.  It was also great to see what a gigantic sporting goods headquarters looks like.  Along with the warehouse, conference rooms and hundreds of offices, the headquarters contains just about everything you can ask for:  lunch room, 80″ flat screen TV, arcade, weight room, basketball court, cross fit gym, and an actual Finish Line store in the basement.  And much like the Colts’ team facility, there is a lively and friendly environment around the offices and cubicles, and everyone seems to get along and have a good time with one another.  I’m grateful to have had the unique opportunity to visit two very distinguished businesses in the sports industry.

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Jack Yuan ’14: Getting “the Most” from a Virtual Internship

Jack Yuan ’14 takes advantage of networking opportunities over Sushi in Chicago with Derrick Yoder ’11 and Brian Mantel ’93

Jack Yuan ’14:  When I was searching for an internship that would leverage my writing and quantitative analysis skills, I was very fortunate to find and to get an internship focusing on consumer finance with Mr. Brian Mantel ’93.  This is the ninth week of my internship, and I have learned more than I expected from my work and my colleagues.

The way this internship works is very unique.  As a virtual internship, my job gives me a lot of flexibility. Different from working at a corporate site, I work at home and meet with my boss twice a week on Skype. The internship reinforces me being accountable for project management.  Other than the Skype conferences, I would travel to Chicago to work in person with my boss on some of the hard projects every two weeks.  While Skype meetings normally take about an hour, in-person meetings often take five to six hours, during which there is a lot of brainstorming and exchanging of ideas.  The place we meet normally has a whole wall of whiteboard, allowing us to put on as many ideas as we can.  Every meeting not only helps me better understand my task but also helps me build a consulting mindset.

My obligations in the first month included reading existing marketing materials, getting to know about America’s retirement facts, and exploring consumer financial needs.  In the early stage of my internship, I got to know about some of the marketing tools and strategies, including Porter’s 5 forces, 4P, and SWOT.  Starting mid-summer, I began to handle two main projects:  benchmarking and income statement generator.  Dealing with these two projects requires a lot of effort in gathering and sorting data.  With the help of Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows, I was able to process my data faster with appropriate economic theories and statistical tools.

One of the goals of this internship is, and I quote from Mr. Mantel: “getting most of [my] summer.”  Not binding me with pure workloads, Mr. Mantel encourages me to meet as many alumni as I can.  One of the past interns, Derrick Yoder travelled to Chicago during one of our in-person meetings.  My boss then invited him for dinner at a great Sushi restaurant, and we had a great time talking about interesting Wabash experiences, networking skills, and career development.  Such talks then took place between me and many other alumni, from whom Mr. Mantel encouraged me to learn—two weeks ago, I travelled to New York and got a chance to meet and learn from Mr. Sava Kobilarov ’01, Mr. Nick Su ‘12, and Mr. Greg Jania ’93.

This internship is a very valuable experience.  Rather than simply improving professional skill sets, I was able to acquire a diversified experience from my internship, which helped me broaden my horizons and learn how to learn from people.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity Mr. Mantel offers, and I would like to thank Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows for helping me solve some of the problems I encountered at work and Career Services for helping me find this opportunity.

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