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Nick Mayer '20

When thinking back to my time at Hamilton, I am amazed by how quickly time passed. They always say college goes by quickly, but that old saying holds a lot of truth. I am grateful for the advice my dad gave me as I began my freshman year when thinking about what I wanted to pursue in my career: “Start early.”

To give some background, I knew I was interested in finance, but it took some time to figure out the area I wanted to pursue. I joined the Hamilton Finance Club my freshman fall semester and found it a great way to get to know the industry and get myself in front of alumni who worked in finance. The meetings were run by upperclassmen who gained experience in an internship the summer before and taught the club about various aspects of the financial world. It was a great way for me to learn the differences between investment banking, sales and trading,  and more, and helped me figure out what I was interested in pursuing further. 

The club was also a great way to make connections with professionals who went to Hamilton. The Hamilton alumni network is extensive, and I  recommend completing the necessary seminars to gain access to the career portal and to leverage the help of  alumni as often as possible. The summer after my junior year I completed a ten-week summer internship in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Deutsche Bank. The Finance Club was a tremendous help not only in making sure I knew about upcoming interviews and opportunities, but I met many of the members of the Deutsche Bank team who were Hamilton alumni through Finance Club events and getting to know them was a great help during the interview process.

While Hamilton does not offer a finance major, there are a few relevant economics courses that are beneficial for learning some of the technical skills needed to land an internship as well as a full-time job after college, most  notably Corporate Finance, Accounting, and Financial Economics. The school also sponsors the Wall Street Prep Course, a three-day finance bootcamp that takes place during fall break, which goes in depth into financial modeling. You receive access to the course afterwards, which is useful for interview prep. To me, it was well worth sacrificing a few days of break.

Outside of Hamilton, I attended the Tuck Bridge Program at Dartmouth the summer after my sophomore year. The Bridge program is a comprehensive business program led by Tuck M.B.A. professors and students, teaching courses in business communications, corporate finance, financial accounting, managerial economics, marketing, and spreadsheet modeling. It is a month-long program that finishes with a capstone project in which groups present to a panel of industry executives and faculty an analysis of a target company as well as a conclusion including a  calculated stock price using the skills developed in class. I believe this program sets you apart and gives you a strong understanding of the necessary technical skills to prepare you for a career in finance. The capstone project  also serves as an excellent topic to discuss in interviews. 

For the past two years since graduating from Hamilton, I have been working as an associate on the investment team at Newbury Partners, a private equity firm specializing in secondary transactions. Applying to jobs was a time-consuming and seemingly never-ending process, but I received an offer in my primary area of interest just as the pandemic was beginning. I know the difficulty of applying to numerous internships and jobs and the stress of feeling like you are running out of time, but I would encourage juniors and seniors to remain persistent, and that it truly will all work out in the end.

For those who played sports and participated in the high school recruiting process, the finance recruiting process is very similar. It is beginning earlier and earlier as firms look to attract top talent before their competition. The sooner you can determine what you are interested in and begin learning as much as you can about the business, the better you will set yourself up to land an internship as well as a full-time role after graduation. I highly recommend treating the process as a “fifth class,” because that is how much time you should dedicate to learning as well as networking and leveraging the resources the Career Center at Hamilton has to offer. It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do after Hamilton, and even small efforts can add up and lead to the success you are looking for.

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