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Alumni Discuss Foundations in Banking


With the semester coming to a close and the increase in students searching for career advice before the summer, those interested in finance and consulting had the opportunity to attend a “Foundations in Banking” panel hosted by the Career Center on April 16.

The panelists included Mao Ding ’14, a CMBS strategist at Bank of America, John Porges ’07, a loan trader at GSO Capital Partners, and David Keeland ’05, a proprietary trader at Allston Trading.

To begin, the alumni revealed how they found their professions with the help of the College’s resources. Ding, for example, studied in Hamilton’s New York City Program, where he interned at Bank of America during his semester there before returning in the summer and receiving a full-time position. In addition to gaining internship experience, he suggested that students heavily utilize the Career Center and the alumni directory as they helped him connect with up to 50 alumni from a number of different industries.

Similarly, Keeland looked for advice from his career advisor that connected him with an alum in the trading industry. The alum offered him an internship soon after and gave him a great amount of support throughout his time there. Keeland noted his specific profession allows him to manage a balance between work and life, though others within the industry require constantly staying aware of the market all throughout the day.

When talking about how to network with industry professionals, the alumni reminded students to be engaging, create a space for continued dialogue, and avoid having any sort of attitude or being too pushy. They should still be persistent, however, in their search to find career opportunities or find career advice.

Panelists also agreed that even those coming out of school without a deep financial or analytic background can succeed in their jobs. Students can learn things that conceptualize the framework behind finance and consulting work, like studying economics, having a love of markets, and maintaining a curiosity to learn. “That curiosity to continue learning is something Hamilton definitely instills in its students,” Porges said.

“Hamilton does teach you to communicate effectively and in a way that pulls people in,” he said. “You want to be the type of person that other people want to work around. With [the college’s] small classes and the small community, it’s hard to not be that kind of person at Hamilton if you want to succeed. That microcosm becomes a good proxy for the real world.”

The discussion eventually transitioned to the panelists’ thoughts on topics such as the trend toward passive investments, the impact of rising rates, the usefulness of taking computer science courses, and the possibly of tech companies facing greater government regulations from a stocks perspective. In a night of laughs, valuable comments, and honest insight, the event was a successful way for students to start finding their own futures in the banking industry.

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