Early start to semester gives FSB students a career head start

September 2018

Jay Murdock

For most Miami University students, fall semester 2018 started the last week of August. But for nearly 50 Farmer School students, the school year started a week early, two states away from Oxford.

Chicago Finance Week and Ad Week: Chicago and Beyond are hands-on programs where students network with alumni working at major companies and learn about their businesses.

“Each day, we visited companies from 9 to 5, and in the evenings, we participated in a finance case competition with West Monroe Partners,” junior finance major Madeleine Whissell said. “It was an amazing experience to visit so many prestigious firms and network with Miami alumni.

Senior finance major Tanner Black took part in Chicago Finance Week to get better ideas about what he might do after graduation. “While I knew I was interested in finance, I was not sure exactly what career I want. I thought getting to hear from several firms in various industries would help me get a better idea of what I want to do,” he explained.

John Yacoubian was also looking ahead, but not quite so far into the future. “The time to apply for summer internships is right around the corner, so I wanted to use this week as a way to make sure that I'm applying to areas of finance where I will enjoy what I do,” the junior finance and accounting major said.

“It was an amazing experience hearing about all the functions that the companies perform. It was also fascinating to see how these companies differed in terms of their culture and work-life balance,” Yacoubian remarked. “This trip taught me a lot about commercial banking, investment banking, consulting, wealth management and commercial real estate.”

“I found it interesting to see the different work cultures of each place we went to. One place that stood out to me in particular was BlackRock. The exposure I was able to gain to the firm was an unparalleled experience to anything I have had,” junior finance major Patrick Young noted. “Attending the different meetings helped further my interest to work within the investment management field.”

For senior business and interactive media studies major Brittany Hallberg, going to Chicago for Ad Week was not just a return to her hometown, but so much more. “We were completely immersed into the world of advertising -- taking on a real client and understanding all of the hard work and details that go into preparing for a presentation, meeting with and learning from some of the top executives at the largest agencies in the world,” she recalled.

“Pitching the campaign in front of a panel of judges made up of top executives from FCB Chicago with one of my teammates was my absolute favorite part of the week,” Hallberg explained. “I have never been so nervous, yet so excited about something in my entire life and it was so rewarding to see all of our team's work come together for the perfect way to top off an incredible week.”

Nichole Richards, a junior marketing major, said Ad Week met her expectations and more. "The people that I had the incredible opportunity to meet and begin building relationships with as a result of this trip -- students, faculty, and alumni -- is truly what made this experience so valuable and unique."

“This experience gave me guidance in terms of my future career. As I apply for internships, I have a much better understanding of what each job entails and what interests me,” junior finance major Grace Laliberte remarked.

“I would tell someone considering the program that it is a great way to learn about a variety of careers, and that it offers firsthand exposure to top companies and executives,” Whissell said.