The “Wake On Wall Street” alumni group and Dave Hanson (’05) are helping pave the road to Wall Street for Wake Forest University business students by sharing sage advice and strategies for securing internships and jobs in investment banking. A standing room only group of 188 students packed into a classroom in Greene Hall on Aug. 30 to attend his “How to get a job in investment banking” session in conjunction with Wake On Wall Street, the Wake Forest Finance Club and University Career Services. Hanson is an associate at Deutsche Bank in New York City.
“You have to make your own opening,” Hanson told the group of undergraduate and graduate business students. “Sometimes people show you the door. Sometimes you need to open your own door. The door for me opened when Wake Forest alum, Robert Gefaell (’96), extended a hand.”
Hanson passionately described the opportunity in investment banking for graduates to gain a world class skill set and to work alongside dynamic, motivated people. He was upfront about 12-18 hour work days, meals at the office, cancelling vacations, and “basically cramming five years of a career into two years.” Hanson cautioned students who may be motivated primarily by compensation. “If you really don’t like finance, any compensation will pale in comparison to what you have to put into this role,” he said. However, he pointed out that investment banking is a meritocracy, and that hard work is recognized, encouraged, and rewarded.
An extremely strong work ethic, quantitative ability, intellectual curiosity, and excellent communication skills are essential for a job in investment banking, according to Hanson. He also said completing a relevant internship is crucial. “Consider them six to eight week interviews. The company interviews you in a real-world setting, and you get to evaluate whether the company is the right fit.”
Students attending the session learned about the structure of investment banks, banking titles, levels, and responsibilities, e-mail etiquette, interview preparation and how to appropriately connect with members of Wake Forest’s vast alumni network. “It is critical that you work with the University and do your own background work to develop a plan for how to prepare yourself for the right career path” emphasized Hanson.
“The presentation provided priceless information that I wish I had when I was a junior, because it offered a candid perspective, so students are not surprised further down the road ,” said Jay Warner (’11), Co-President of the Wake Forest Finance Club.
Attendees left with a valuable list of hundreds of New York and Charlotte area alumni contacts working in finance related careers. They also received questions to help prepare for investment banking job interviews, courtesy of alumnus Ashley Larson (’03).
Wake On Wall Street is a network of alumni, parents and friends working to increase the awareness and brand value of Wake Forest University Schools of Business in the world of finance. The leadership team includes: Matt Hultquist (’01), Brian Lenker (’04), Dave Hanson (’05) and Bryant Schlichting (’06). The club recently expanded to Charlotte with the help of Matt Lindberg (‘02), Will Lloyd (‘04), Dan Niccum (‘04), Steve Hale (‘05), Matt Walters ('05), and Angela Damazyn (’07). The group can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.