Amy Donegan first organized Boston College’s Bank Week four years ago, when she said investment banks had begun to accelerate their recruiting timelines while pushing for increased diversity in hiring.
“There’s plenty of students who grew up around finance and came to BC with the goal of doing something like [finance],” Donegan, assistant dean for undergraduate career advising at the Carroll School of Management, said. “That’s not the target audience for a lot of these firms, as they’re looking for underrepresented students.”
This year, Bank Week took place from Tuesday to Friday and featured a variety of panels and networking events where sophomores could interact with BC alumni in the investment banking industry.
“Investment banking is unique in the sense that almost all of their hiring comes through their intern programs, and their intern programs are recruiting in sophomore year, so it really creates a need to get our students ready,” she said.
Donegan said that Bank Week aimed to foster a welcoming environment, featuring events such as “Women in Finance,” “Black/Brown in Finance,” and “Being LGBTQ on Wall Street” to provide perspective and advice for underrepresented groups on navigating the industry.
“Networking with people, I learned a lot more about the diversity programs,” Remi Robertson, CSOM ’24, said. “I now know a lot of banks have women’s programs and, even if not a specific women’s program, they have [women’s] organizations within the banks, which has been really interesting to learn.”
The Diversity Networking Reception on Friday morning also gave students a smaller space to network with bank representatives before the session opened up to the general student population.
“It helped with getting a personal connection with recruiters and [current] employees, and with figuring out what they’re actually doing in the company,” Dhairya Dhamani, CSOM ’24, said. “So you get, not a scripted answer, but something that is more genuine.”
Since Bank Week caters to sophomores with limited financial experience, Donegan said the Bank Week website provides a variety of resources, including networking tutorials, bank recruiting timelines, and free access to advanced technical interview preparation from Training The Street.
Students new to the industry also observed the structure and inner workings of investment banking. Omer Tanvir, global co-head of campus recruiting at Goldman Sachs, gave an overview of the structure of an investment bank. He explained that while investment banking is an industry, it is also a specific division within investment banking firms.
“Most investment banking firms have about twenty different divisions within them, one of which is investment banking,” Tanvir, BC ’05, said. “The first thing that bankers do is give you advice when you want to buy another company or merge with another company, … The second thing they do is capital raising—they connect you with [investors] when you need money.”
Bank Week sessions allowed alumni working in more prominent divisions—including sales and trading divisions and wealth and asset management divisions—to share insight about their fields, but other alumni provided perspective on lesser-known fields.
One such panel described environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing, a field that prioritizes societal and environmental benefits through profitable investments. Paul Donofrio, a UBS investment banker working on ESG, reminded students to monitor the impact of their investments given the Earth’s worsening environmental condition.
“I think the reality is that everybody has kids, and everybody sees where things are headed,” Donofrio, BC ’09, said. “And they realize that there’s a sense of urgency around some of this stuff now. I do see change.”
Overall, Bank Week provided an opportunity for students to take their first steps into the investment banking industry and receive firsthand knowledge from BC alumni.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure to go into investment banking, but I think we don’t really know what it is and what it’s like,” Robertson said. “So I think hearing people’s firsthand experiences was really eye-opening.”