Finance Fellows Meet and Dine with
When you think of on-campus dining, you probably envision plastic trays, a
long buffet, and an endless supply of chocolate milk. On September 22, 2009,
however, undergraduate students in the Robert H. Smith School of Business
Finance Fellows program were gathered in Van Munching Hall’s Executive Meeting
Room in a different context—a formal networking dinner with finance
professionals. In addition to an evening with opportunities to connect with
professionals in the finance industry, students were dressed in business formal
and treated to a catered sit-down dinner.
The Finance Fellows Networking Dinner was designed to connect undergraduate
finance students with professionals in the field with aligned career interests.
Students were given bios of all invited guests, and they were encouraged to come
prepared with research and meaningful questions for the guests at their table.
Justine Jang, a Finance Fellow who attended the event last year, was pleased to
make some new connections this year. “I think the most memorable part of the
dinner,” she says, “was actually sitting down with the mentors at our tables and
learning from them. Many of them are also Smith alumni so we are able to talk
about finance careers but also about other things we have in common.”
Invited guests included alumni and other professionals who are working across a
broad range of financial careers. Jang was able to network with an employee of
Stifel Nicolaus, a full-service regional brokerage and investment banking firm,
as well as another guest who is employed as a financial advisor, working on the
planning side of financial management. “It was a great way,” Jung explains, “to
explore and learn about the different careers that are available to a finance
Jeremy Erdman, a senior majoring in finance and accounting who also serves in
the school’s Finance Banking and Investment Society (FBIS), appreciated the
opportunity to interact with Smith’s alumni working in financial careers. “It
was great to reach out to an open door and develop that connection with someone
that was very willing to talk to you.” Erdman was especially pleased to
reconnect with Raymond Fan, a Smith alumnus and past president of FBIS.
Erdman used the networking dinner as an opportunity to ask Fan to speak with the
FBIS members about his experiences working at Bank of America and in private
equity. Fan accepted the invitation and came back to Smith the next week to meet
with the club members.
“The main takeaway for students,” says Sue White, Distinguished Tyser Teaching
Fellow, “was about the importance of networking. It is important to
network not only to get a job, but to continue to network throughout your
In addition to networking practice, students were able to visualize themselves
as future alumni role models. Because these alumni have taken the time to
connect with current students, Erdman says, we feel more inclined to come back
to Smith after graduating into successful finance careers.
Tim Lewis, MBA Candidate 2010, Smith Media Group