Smeal students get a glimpse of Wall Street through boot camp program

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Friday afternoons throughout the spring semester, more than 40 students fill the seats of the Penn State Smeal College of Business Rogers Family Trading Room for Wall Street Boot Camp — a rigorous program that prepares its participants for careers on Wall Street.

Wall Street Boot Camp is a program initiated several years ago by Robin Stevens, director of Alumni Career Services, and J. Randall Woolridge, professor of finance, to give Smeal students interested in pursuing Wall Street careers a better idea of the options available to them. Woolridge is also the Goldman Sachs and Co. and Frank P. Smeal Endowed University Fellow and president of the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC — a student-managed investment fund.

Each week, a different Wall Street professional talks about various career paths, job search skills and professional protocol and etiquette. Most of these visiting professionals are Smeal alumni, said Stevens.

“The program has made students more prepared and capable of competing against other schools. It also serves as another articulation of their dedicated interest in finance.”

-- Ryan Newman '01, vice president, Investment Management Division, Goldman Sachs

Ryan Newman, vice president of the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs and a 2001 Smeal alumnus, visits the Wall Street Boot Camp program every year to talk about the importance of having big dreams and setting concrete goals to make sure you achieve them.

Newman said that the boot camp, along with the Rogers Family Trading Room, serves as a way to prepare Penn Staters for Wall Street careers in an experiential way.

Wall Street Boot Camp sets students apart and makes them more competitive in the Wall Street job market. The program itself is extremely competitive, Stevens says. More than 200 students applied for the 40 available spots in this year’s boot camp.

Though the program isn’t based on conventional work experience, it still bolsters students’ resumes in significant ways, said Newman.

“The program has made students more prepared and capable of competing against other schools,” Newman said. “It also serves as another articulation of their dedicated interest in finance.”

At the end of the semester-long program, students who do well receive a networking list of more than 500 Penn State alumni who work on Wall Street, in addition to the connections they make with the professionals who visit every Friday.

“Speaking at Wall Street Boot Camp is a great way to connect with students who could be potential job candidates in the future,” said Newman.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013