By Pei Gong ’18
During Interterm in January, the Amherst College Career Center launched its Finance Trek as part of the newly established Careers in Business and Finance Program. This immersion program introduces 12 carefully selected sophomores to different areas within the finance industry. During the weeklong program, the group visited 14 employers, including bulge bracket investment banks, hedge funds, investment management firms and private equity firms. The group also had four networking receptions and met with 75 Amherst alumni working in business and finance.
The trek exposed students to the field through on-site visits, dinners with alumni, panel discussions and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Participants also attended informative presentations like “Private Equity 101” and took part in a daily 7 a.m. group debrief. Each day, the students travelled across Manhattan to observe a day in the life of people working in different areas of business and finance and at distinct stages of their careers. The students were able to explore different aspects of finance and determine possible career paths that fit their interests.
Amherst alumni contributed greatly to the program’s success. One of the trek’s highlights was a dinner hosted by Michael Loeb ’77. During the lively dinner discussion, Loeb said, “There is one thing that I believe is unique to Amherst: the willingness [of alumni] to contribute back and support younger Amherst generations. I’ve never seen another place that competes with Amherst for that deep affection and sense of responsibility and connection.”
“To participate in such an eye-opening trek was a privilege for me and many other college students who come from backgrounds where exposure to jobs in business and finance are rare,” said Chelsea Nkansah-Siriboe ’18. “I was able to see an unfiltered side of the finance world, which helped me to process both the positive and negative qualities of the industry. This trek convinced me that there is more to the culture of this industry than what first meets the eye.”
“The enthusiastic help I received from alumni made this program a success. Everyone that I asked said ‘Yes,’” said Stephanie Hockman, director of the Careers in Business and Finance Program. “In five or 10 years, I hope this group of trek participants is carrying on the tradition and speaking with or mentoring future students.”
At the end of an exciting week, the trek participants agreed that it was a fantastic experience that should be repeated annually.
Students: Visit the Career Center in College Hall to learn more about how to participate in a career trek.
Alumni: The Career Center organizes three or four treks each year. Interested in meeting students at a trek in your city? Please contact Emily Griffen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 542-2265. For information on how to support future treks, please contact the Advancement Office at (413) 542-5900.