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Networking Is Key

Morgan Fletcher '17
Morgan Fletcher '17

At Hamilton College, I always knew I wanted a career in finance but quickly learned that the finance world encompasses a variety of jobs with different titles at different companies. Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed.

To help navigate this abyss, I attended the Tuck Bridge Summer Program at Dartmouth during my Sophomore summer. The program gave me exposure to the basics of business school with courses ranging from financial modeling and accounting and corporate finance to marketing, strategy, and ethics.  

In my pitch to interviewers, I say that attending Bridge was when I knew “insert finance internship here” was the best fit for me given x, y and z attributes; however, this was not exactly the case. While it was an incredible program (and one that I highly support for current Hamilton students), I still felt uncertain about the right path for me.

The advice I received––and something I think we all hear at some point in this process––was to “network.”

Backing up for a second, I should explain that as a student-athlete at Hamilton, I really loved structure. I liked being organized with a reliable schedule. The finance application process is structured with relatively consistent deadlines and requirements across the industry. So of course, I assumed networking would also hold the same level of structure. I remember asking my older sister––a fellow NESCAC athlete who forged her way into the finance world––for an email template and script. I soon learned there was no “magic key” to networking.

I knew networking  was an important step of the process and decided to forge on. I quickly faced the next hurdle of where to even start. The answer to that is anywhere. I was so focused on finding the “right place” to start networking that I put off actually networking. Eventually, I found my footing by not overthinking it and just sending out emails to recent grads in any finance roles I could find with the hefty help from Hamilton’s alumni portal combined with scattered LinkedIn searches.

Once I actually started, the emails and conversations got easier, and I was able to start discerning which paths interested me. With knowledge from both Bridge and conversations with alumni, I was able to narrow down the scope of internships to apply for (which still ranged across a few industries). My junior summer, I received an internship offer from Bank of America Merrill Lynch within the equity research department and have been working there full time since graduation.  

Overall, my advice is to just take the leap into networking and start having conversations. Networking is what you make of it. There are a few things you can do to give it a more distinct structure:

  1. Be organized. Keep track of everyone you talk to with descriptions of your conversations in an Excel file or Word document.
  2. Be prepared. Come to the conversations with thoughtful questions and genuine interest. Don’t just have a call to check the box.
  3. Leverage all the resources you have. The Hamilton community is unparalleled.
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