Job Treks Launch on Wall Street


Equipped with a map of Manhattan and over 20 networking opportunities at some of the nation’s top financial institutions, a group of Darden students traveled to New York City last week for “Week on Wall Street.”

The event was one of Darden’s “Job Treks,” which connect students with companies around the world. Now in its 11th year, Week on Wall Street, organized by Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC), included 90 students and 21 events — the highest number in its history — at such institutions as Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley.

“Several of the firms we visited — Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo — are paying off their Troubled Asset Relief Programs to the U.S. Government,” said Edward Yu, assistant director of career education and advising at Darden. “This makes it an historic time to visit financial firms and to hear what their management has to say.” 

While the “banks have been open and willing to talk about the real challenges that students may face in working in banking in the future,” said Yu, “many leaders have emphasized their resilience during the crisis and shared positive signs of deal flows (such as mergers & acquisitions) for 2010.”

“The general outlook from every investment bank was very optimistic,” said Darden First Year student King Davidson. “I think it’s safe to say that the banks will be hiring more summer investment banking associates than last year.”

New this year to Week on Wall Street was a networking opportunity at Miller Buckfire, an independent investment bank that advises corporations on complex issues such as large-scale corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and debt financing transactions. The firm has collaborated in the past with Darden’s Turnaround and Restructuring Club, a forum for students and faculty who are interested in this specialized field. Miller Buckfire invited Darden First Year students for the first time to its Midtown Manhattan headquarters, where the firm's managing director and co-founder, Kenneth A. Buckfire, shared his thoughts on the restructuring industry.  

For students interested in working in the media, entertainment and sports industries, simultaneous Job Treks — organized by students with the help of the CDC — took place in New York City from December 16-18.

The New York events launched a series of 20 student-led treks that will take place throughout December and January and into early February in 14 U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. Among the industries represented are technology, pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, energy and retail. Over 15 new companies will host Darden students this year, including REI, Apple, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Genentech, a leader in biotechnology.

International treks have already taken place in London and Hong Kong, and Darden will participate in the European Career Fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 30, among other career fairs.

As students prepare for interviews and landing the right internship or job, Everette Fortner, Darden’s executive director for corporate relations and career development, points out the power of a compelling story. In a recent blog posting called "Your Story – Make It a Good One,” Fortner writes, “Your story in the networking/interviewing/job candidacy process is, in my opinion, the difference between breaking through, or not. If you have a compelling story, the entire interview hangs together and compels the interviewer to see the ‘fit’ between you and the opportunity.”

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is a professional school that improves society by developing principled leaders for the world of practical affairs.

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