While it doesn't appear on Google Maps, there appears to be a direct route from the University's West Bank to a career on Wall Street for Carlson School of Management students.
This month, 14 juniors in the Carlson School's Undergraduate program will visit New York City as part of the school's annual New York Trek. If history is any indication, their visits to financial services firms could foreshadow a career with one of the top financial institutions.
"In financial services, it's all about networking and we do have a lot of [alums] who have jobs out in New York," says Joe Barsky, director of the Carlson School's Funds Enterprise whose students participate in the event organized by the Undergraduate Business Career Center.
According to Barsky, internships lead to jobs on Wall Street, making it critical that undergraduates who are interested in the business secure an internship while they are still in school. "Maybe 90 percent of the job offers go to the people who did the internships," added Barsky.
Among the visits on this year's New York Trek are stops at UBS, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Houlihan Lokey, Bloomberg, RBC, and Citigroup. In addition to site visits, the students will also have an opportunity to network with financial services professionals and Carlson School alumni in the area at a reception held at local hotspot PS 450.
For senior Dan Rice, a finance and international business major who attended the Trek in 2009, the opportunity to interact with Carlson School alums was as important as visiting the banks themselves.
"They bring together basically every Carlson grad that's working in the industry out to a restaurant," says Rice. "You get to interact with them on a more social level, maybe a little less formal, and ask them questions that you might not be able to do while you're out visiting a bank. We got to ask a lot of questions: How was the transition for you? What's it like living out here? What's the work like?"
Carlson School Undergraduates began visiting Wall Street in 2002. The trips were originally scheduled during the school's January break, but later moved to the fall to help students get a jump on the undergraduate recruiting season.
In addition to meeting the students in New York and hosting them at their firms, Carlson School alums spend countless hours coaching and preparing students for interviews and advocating for their hiring once they apply.
"For most investment banks, we are not a core school and they don't recruit here," Barsky says. "The odds of calling someone who is not an alum and getting in is about zero. But our alums get us in and carry the resumes of our students around."
Aaron Nordvik, who attended the Trek last year, applied for and secured an internship with Morgan Stanley following his visit to New York last fall.
"They give your application more care, they flag your resume, if they know you went on the Trek," says the finance major who will join Morgan Stanley full-time after graduating this May.
Since the Trek began, Barsky has witnessed a change in how Wall Street firms looks at Carlson School students.
"The perception has been, we're sort of like Prairie Home Companion - all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the kids are above average but really quiet and nice," says Barsky. "Then they hire one of our students and they say, 'Wow, these kids are really good. We didn't know that.'
One at a time, each student that gets in there is breaking down the barriers for looking at our students. And assuming they do a good job, which generally happens, our credibility only goes up. It takes a while, but it's happening."