News, On Campus

Two A&S Seniors Bring Wall Street To Campus

After having spent the past summer completing internships on Wall Street, two Boston College seniors have launched a feeder club for undergraduates of all academic backgrounds to land competitive jobs at the frontier of investment banks and sell-side firms.

The BC Investment Banking and Sales and Trading Club (IBST)—started by David Dansky, A&S ’15, co-led by Richard Kim, A&S ’15, and run by three additional student officers—aims to provide undergraduate students, regardless of their major, a pipeline to high-caliber banking internships and jobs by preparing them for banking-specific interviews and sharing their experiences as former interns and future analysts.
“In the world of sales and trading, [banks] are just looking for smart kids—the people that are hungry to learn and very driven,” said Kim, a mathematics major and pre-med student. “I think there’s a lot of that out there.”

Despite initial plans to apply immediately to med school following his undergraduate career at BC, Kim began taking an interest in sales and trading after some exposure to the financial realm through his roommate, Dansky. Having completed an internship within the sales and trading division of Citi this past summer, Kim said he knew he wanted to help students prepare for a career in banking.

“I think a lot of A&S [students] can do it and are equipped to succeed at these jobs, they just don’t know about them,” Kim said. “They don’t know it’s possible to get in.”

The idea for IBST was largely driven by Dansky when he discovered the lack of  publicity surrounding finance job openings for non-CSOM students, and was brought to fruition after he gained sharable experiences during his most recent internship at Barclays Capital.

An economics major with a concentration in finance through CSOM, Dansky noticed a gap between the exposure of financial openings and interview preparation seminars for CSOM students versus those in A&S, with the latter group typically much less informed by administrators of recruiting opportunities.

“I still saw that finance careers were not exposed to A&S students at all,” Dansky said. “Emails were not sent—the same ones I received from my finance professors, they weren’t as aware of the info sessions that were going on as the banks would come to campus for firm-wide presentations, and I think that we’re absolutely going to strive to get as many qualified A&S students in as they can. I think it’s definitely a big goal, probably especially since [Kim and I] both have A&S backgrounds.”

Dansky also noted that although there are other finance-related clubs on campus, IBST is less focused on attracting interest than it is capturing those with preexisting interest and less direct access to interview preparation and resume building.

“We do have six finance-related clubs on campus, currently,” Dansky said. “Why this club is extremely unique is that … we want to get more people onto the Street. So, although we’re treated as a core school, you can look at a school like Princeton who will send 17 kids to a bank like Barclays whereas [BC] will send six or seven.”

According to Dansky, the primary focus for the club consists of elite job placement for larger portions of the BC undergraduate population, and to do so while helping build the University’s reputation on Wall Street.

“Essentially, what this club does, which this school has not yet had, is it’s a very comprehensive way to train [students] to interview successfully and get jobs on the Street, whether it be in banking or trading,” Dansky said.

“I think it’s good for the school, too,” Kim said. “This club could be a good way to connect undergrads as well as graduates who need help looking for something, and the people who are actually working on the Street.”

Upon starting the club and selecting adjunct associate professor in the finance department Michael Barry as its faculty advisor, Dansky suggested Kim help manage the club, understanding that Kim’s trajectory to Wall Street may encourage others to attain similar placements in the financial space.

“I think that’s an important note to make—to get kids more prepared so that they succeed, which builds our school reputation, which attracts more banks to want more kids from BC,” Dansky said. “That was the goal when we pitched it to Mike Barry.”

The club is divided into two primary groups—a sales and trading side, led by Kim; and an investment banking side, led by Dansky. Each side of the club is projected to train about 30 to 40 members, all of whom are slated to be paired with a mentor chosen from the club’s executive team.

Club meetings are organized around interview preparation workshops headed by club officers, seminars on certain facets of the financial industry, and other information sessions on topics ranging from networking to constructing an optimal resume.

While there are no strict requirements for admittance to the club, IBST will generally accept students who earned above a 3.4-3.5 GPA—a range nearly identical to that required by most Wall Street firms, according to Dansky. Resume drops for the club must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18.

“We told [Barry] that we wanted more kids to get on the Street,” Dansky said. “We didn’t think, for the brainpower and the reputation this school has, we were doing quite as a good of a job as we have the potential for—because kids were smart and they went through great CSOM classes, but they just didn’t know how to interview properly.”

Basing its model on similar clubs at other universities, Dansky noted that the club’s structure is modeled after other non-technical institutions, but that may have equally qualified candidates to fulfill roles in investment banking or trading.

While the two seniors both hold full-time offers with the firms they previously interned for, Kim and Dansky hope to remain active and integral faces for the club well beyond graduation, providing the club with a foundation for longevity.

“I think Dave and I plan to be involved in this for the next five to 10 years, throughout our careers—[and] try to come back and speak or help kids get in,” Kim said. “I think it’s just a good way to connect the BC community that is on Wall Street, just from firm to firm. It’s good for the school and that’s what happens at other schools.”

“Banks want personable, analytical kids who they can teach and train,” Dansky said. “You’ll learn everything on the job.”

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

September 15, 2014