Category Archives: Finance, Real Estate, & Insurance

To Grad School or Not to Grad School? Ask Yourself the Question.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Are you asking yourself if you need a break post-Davidson before you pursue your next course of study?  Deciding on a program and when to enter is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.


The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.  Gap years are increasingly common for students and a great year to gain more experience, sharpen your professional skills and supplement your academic pursuits before pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

As you explore your options, you have many questions. Visit with faculty advisors to discuss your areas of interest and strategies to identify the programs that would best suit your interests.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies, by visiting the Center for Career Development.  Take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you now – or in the future.

EY Financial Advisory: Not just another consulting company

EY Logo

As today is the final deadline to apply for EY Financial Advisory’s Business Advisory Program for internship and full-time employment, we thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the things that makes EY Financial Advisory stand out.

On the consulting side of the business, EY strives to improve business performance while managing risk.  They focus on business-led and technology-enabled transformations.  While that may not seem much different than other consulting firms, some of the industries they are working with might.

Consulting Industries:

  • Automotive
  • Government & Public Sector
  • Consumer Products
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Oil & Gas
  • Power & Utilities
  • Technology

The major difference with EY is their dominant position in financial services through their Financial Services Office.  Interns and full-time employees may get experience on the financial side through the Business Advisor Program.

The Business Advisor Program introduces interns and new associates a multi-layer experience.  “With each engagement, you can expect to build leadership, communication, and client-management skills, as well as sharpen your problem-solving capabilities.”

On Monday, representatives from EY, including Anna Blair Bullock, Class of 2015, spoke with students about the Business Advisory Program (BAP) in the Financial Services Office (FSO).

The BAP is a three-year long program that involves multiple projects ranging from six to nine months in length.  The projects will focus on financial services risk management and performance improvement. The presenters emphasized that people who fit well in this program love financial markets, working in teams, and will make the most of opportunities given to them.

The BAP internship program is a shorter version of the BAP and includes many similar aspects. The goal of the internship is to prepare interns for the possibility of returning after their senior year and offering interns great training that can help them further their careers.

Important application information:

  • Deadline is September 18th at 11:59 PM for both internship and staff positions
  • Must apply through WildcatLink and the EY website
  • Application includes resume and city preference
  • On-campus interviews are September 29th and are only behavioral interviews; you will be asked to complete a writing prompt before your interview
  • Second round interviews are on-site and include case studies

EY- Building a Better Working World

Anna Blair Bullock
Anna Blair Bullock ’15

On Monday, September 15th, at 7:30pm, EY Financial Services Advisory will hold an information session, targeted at all class levels, interested in both consulting and finance internships and entry level positions. In light of this, the Center for Career Development interviewed Anna Blair Bullock (class of 2015), who had the opportunity to intern with EY in the Charlotte office over the summer of 2014 and will be returning as a full-time Analyst upon graduation in May.

Q: What attracted you to the company and role?

A: I had heard great things about EY as a company and was excited when a 2012 alum reached out about opportunities in the Richmond office. Through the interview process, I realized what a flexible firm EY was. I was able to interview with the Charlotte office and was so impressed by all of the people I met throughout the process. In sum, I was attracted to EY because of the people and the vast number of opportunities available in the firm.

Q: How is the culture at EY conducive of a liberal arts background?

A: Throughout my internship, I was amazed by the culture at EY. The firm is huge, with over 200,000 employees globally. However, within each office, there is such an inclusive, fostering community similar to that of Davidson. The liberal arts education brings a different type of diversity to the firm because of the different skills and educational background we have relative to other candidates.

Q: What did you focus most on the role during the preparation process and what resources did you use from the CCD?

A: As I was preparing for my interviews with EY, I really focused on researching the firm and the position. It was important to articulate why I thought I was a good fit for the firm and why the firm seemed like a good fit for me. I felt prepared and confident for my case interview because of the extensive info and resources to practice case interviews. I would highly recommend practicing the CCD case studies with other students interested in consulting.

Q: Now that you have accepted the full-time offer to join EY upon graduation, what are you most excited/anxious about?

A: I’m most excited about the chance to work with great people on challenging but engaging assignments for a firm that has so many different opportunities for change and advancement around the world. As someone who didn’t study abroad, I’m thrilled that I could spend six months or two years working abroad.

Q: What advice would you give to students waiting to apply for internship/entry-level positions?

A: Be sure to reach out to the firm when they are on campus – attend info sessions, send follow up emails thanking people for their time and asking any follow up questions you have.

Anna Blair Bullock is a senior Economics major with a Communications Studies minor. She is very engaged on campus, serving as a Team Captain for the Women’s Swim Team, a Tour Guide and one of the two Senior Class Gift Chairs.

Information Session: September 15 @ 7:30 pm in Alvarez College Union 209

Available Positions: Advisory Consultant Program – Business Advisor Program – Intern and Advisory Consultant Program – Business Advisor Program – Staff

Application Deadline for both positions: 11:59pm on September 18

On-Campus Interviews: September 25

AXA Advisors Seeks Young Talent

Peter Senick answers student questions

On Monday evening, October 28, Peter Senick, Divisional Vice President and Director of Sales at AXA Advisors, spoke to students about beginning a career as a Financial Advisor in the North and South Carolina branch office of AXA. Senick noted that the financial sector is a dynamic industry that is currently facing growing market demand and demographic growth forces. He informed students that less than five percent of financial advisors are under 30 years old, with the majority over 55, and that there is a need for young people in the field.

AXA is ranked #20 in the world in revenues according to the Fortune Global 500 (for comparison, Apple is #19). Operating in over fifty-five countries, AXA employs six thousand advisors in 43 branches in the United States, and manages over fifty-five thousand households out of the North and South Carolina branch alone. The company focuses on financial services and products including retirement planning, investments, and life insurance.

If you embody the characteristics that AXA Advisors look for in a candidate, such as high integrity, inner drive, and a history of success, consider applying in WildcatLink for an interview when AXA returns to campus on November 6 (application deadline: October 27).

Senick also noted that ideal applicants have an entrepreneurial mindset, understand financial concepts, and are interested in sales. To learn more about specific job openings within AXA, email or

Thank you to Mr. Senick for taking time to talk with students.  We look forward to seeing him again for on-campus interviews on November 6!

Caroline Dallas ’12 Returns to Campus to Recruit for BB&T

Caroline Dallas '12 presents on BB&T

Yesterday, Caroline Dallas ’12 returned to Davidson to present an information session on BB&T and their Leadership Development Program. BB&T is a large bank that offers financial services such as consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance, and products and services. BB&T is headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, but holds banks and corporations in 12 states and Washington D.C..

Caroline described BB&T as a values-driven company that aims to grow organically and provide high quality services for the best price. Their main goal is to create long term financial benefits for clients, making people more economically stable and helping the world to become a better place. BB&T has won multiple awards recognizing their training and development program and dedication to mentorship within their company. Bloomberg has named BB&T as one of the top 20 strongest banks in the world.

The BB&T Leadership Development Program has existed for over 40 years, is nationally recognized, and is a great opportunity for students to acquire the experience necessary to thrive at BB&T. This program lasts for 8.5 months and is held at BB&T University in Winston-Salem. The program offers over 300 in-house courses and 280 online courses. Dallas highlighted how the program is a great transition out of college life, as students at BB&T University still get to take classes and study, but also slowly adjust to becoming comfortable with financial concepts and working life. Students can begin at the University knowing where they will be placed within BB&T, such as in the wealth management department or the investment banking sector, or they can be placed in a track at their time at the University. The two main tracks within BB&T are Business Banking and Corporate Functions.

Although the date to apply to BB&T’s Leadership Development Program has passed, continue to keep your eyes open for opportunities with BB&T. Juniors should research the program and consider applying next year. Strong applicants will have excellent communication skills, some leadership experience, general knowledge of the financial industry, and a GPA of 3.2 or higher. For more information, contact Caroline at or visit the BB&T website.

Davidson Alumni Host “Investment Banking 101”

Last week, Davidson Alumni John Laughlin ’85 and Jay Harris ’90, both managing directors at Wells Fargo Securities, hosted “Investment Banking 101,” where they shared their expertise on breaking into the profession. The session, attended by approximately 25 students, highlighted the customer-centric business model of the investment banking world, where one works to give strategic and financial advice and manage the flow of capital.

Here are some tips that Laughlin and Harris provided during their talk:

1) Investment banking requires analysts with strong mathematical and evaluation skills who are willing to work in an environment that demands high performance and precision and committed to work about 80 hours per week. Employers look for analysts who come in ready to learn and problem solve.

2) A typical investment banking path would involve working as an Analyst for 2-3 years, then becoming an Associate for 3 years or leaving to obtain an MBA. Eventually, some investment bankers can move into the Vice President position for 3-4 years and then become Directors. However, just after performing as an analyst for 2-3 years, people are well suited to enter other professions, such as working in hedge funds, other types of banking, or even law.

3) Investment banking can be easily confused with sales and trading. Investment bankers work directly with customers such as large corporations, global banks, or private equity firms to research and provide financial advice on specific industries of interest and then suggest solutions to making the smartest investment decisions. The sales and trading profession works directly with the distribution of equities and loans and physically makes the investment trades, which investment bankers might advise.

4) Within investment banking, people tend to specialize in either coverage or product. Coverage specialists spend time becoming experts in multiple industries in order to give financial advice, while product specialists become experts in the products, such as fixed income, equity, or risk management solutions. Similarly, analysts will become experts in either Mergers and Acquisitions, Debt Capital Markets, Equity Capital Markets, Industry Groups, or Financial Sponsor Groups.

5) NOW is a critical time for students thinking about breaking into the investment banking profession. The internship application process begins in October and November, where applications are accepted and reviewed. In December and January, firms will conduct 1st and 2nd round interviews via the phone or in person, and offers are extended in February. Although lots of people tend to secure investment banking jobs after completing internships the summer after their junior year, jumping into the profession is still possible once you are a senior. Laughlin and Harris urge students to network extensively in order to find these job opportunities, and go into interviews extremely prepared. This includes researching the company extensively, knowing your resume very well, and having questions to ask the interviewer. Always dress conservatively and bring a portfolio (not a backpack!) with paper, pens, and extra copies of your resume.

Students with questions about steps they can take to make themselves more competitive for investment banking opportunities are encouraged to visit the CCD.

Thanks to John Laughlin and Jay Harris for an informative and timely presentation!

Tuck Business Bridge Program Visits Davidson

Alice Sedgwick and Bridge Alums Mahlon Henderson '14 and Keith Durante '14

On Tuesday Sept. 10, Alice Sedgwick, a representative from the Tuck Business Bridge Program, visited Davidson College to talk to students about the Bridge Program and recruit for the 2014 program. The Bridge Program is a business four-week intensive program where students are exposed to classes taught by MBA professors in over 14 subjects including economics, accounting, marketing, corporate finance, spreadsheet modeling, and business communications. Towards the end of the program, students preform a valuation project, where they choose a company of their choice to value and present to a panel of industry professionals.

Alice spoke of the incredible individual learning experience that Bridge offers, but also Tuck’s emphasis on the importance of team work. When attending Bridge, students are assigned teams to work through homework with daily. These teams also work together in the last week of the program to preform the valuation project.

Many Davidson students have attended Bridge in the past, including me (Mahlon Henderson ’14), Keith Durante ’14, and Kara Mountcastle ’14. All these Bridge alums would be happy to answer questions about the program.

In order to apply, students must submit their resume, essays, transcript, and  SAT/ACT scores on the Tuck Bridge website. The first application is January 1, 2014.

Thank you to the Bridge Program for continuously reaching out to Davidson students!

Bloomberg Aptitude Test Comes to Davidson

This semester, Davidson College is partnering with Bloomberg to bring the Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT) to campus.  The BAT is a two hour, 100 multiple choice question exam that tests your aptitude for a career in finance across eight performance areas (News Analysis, Economics, Math Skills, Analytical Reasoning, Financial Statement Analysis, Investment Banking, Global Markets and Chart and Graph Analysis). After taking the BAT, your score is anonymously entered into our BAT database, which recruiters search daily to connect with candidates for internship and entry-level positions. Bloomberg has had more than 100,000 students take the BAT in the past 2 years.  Over the past two years, there have been over 25,000 connections between employers and BAT test takers.

Bloomberg BRIEFS

As an added benefit, all Davidson BAT test-takers receive a complimentary six month subscription to Bloomberg Briefs, Bloomberg’s premium newsletter offering (valued at $2,000 to the tens of thousands of hedge fund and Portfolio Manager managers and banker subscribers).  In order for you to benefit from this opportunity, just be sure to take the BAT.  The pack includes the daily Economics Brief and Mergers brief along with the weekly Private Equity and Hedge Fund Briefs. We hope that it helps you with your job search and first round interviews.

Connect with Alumni

Bloomberg will also message all Davidson College alumni that are Bloomberg users to notify them of your university’s recent session and the anonymous profiles available in the database. This will put your candidacy directly in front of key decision makers at elite firms in the finance world during this crucial time in recruiting season.

Session Details

Dates: Saturday, September 28th and Saturday, November 9th

Time: 10:00 AM

Location: Chambers 3130/ Computer Lab


Want to see what students are saying about the BAT? Watch these testimonial videos.

Interview With an Angel – Mark Angel ’13

By Morgan Orangi, Career Services Ambassador

Mark Angel ’13 is a Biology major, senior admissions fellow, president of club tennis, Chidsey leadership fellow, philanthropy chair of fraternity, tutor in the writing center, private tutor, and Turner Prince Charming. He interned this past summer with Capital Group Companies, a position he found in WildcatLink that was posted at Davidson as part of its 100 Internship Challenge.

Mark Angel ’13 spent the past summer in LA interning for the Capital Group Companies, a top three investment management firm, as part of The Associates Program (TAP). He discovered this opportunity while browsing for internships on Wildcat Link. TAP intrigued Mark with the prompt “What would you change about Davidson?” rather than requesting a cover letter. After a phone interview and an interview with Capital in New York, Mark received the call offering him the position.

According to Mark, Capital is an “extremely complex organization,” whose ten-week training program is also considered by Capital as training for potential employees. One of the primary tasks for Mark and six of his fellow interns was to learn about Capital and the companies that support them. Each intern was assigned an individual project based on their interviews and personalities – Mark researched marketing for retirement plans. In addition, they collaborated with each other on three projects related to their TAP class.

In a typical day, Mark would arrive at the office at 7:30am, attend meetings for about two hours, work on his individual project, have lunch with someone who works in an area of interest, work on the group project for three to four hours, return to work on his project, and leave the office by 5pm or 6pm each day. Mark’s favorite aspect of the TAP program was working alongside such intelligent people. He reflects, “It’s very humbling to know that there are people in the room who are so much brighter than you, figuring out how you can learn from them and take their ideas and maybe add your own ‘biology major’ twist to it.”

Mark feels that his Davidson education greatly benefitted his performance. “Davidson teaches you to question, teaches you to poke holes, and teaches you to think outside of the box…I think that overall made the group project and my final presentation the best that it could be.” He adds that, “The interdisciplinary nature of the education at Davidson helps you to understand the downstream effects of something within the business world.”

During the final week of the internship, TAP employers interviewed each intern for a global rotational program that lasts two – three years after graduation. They do six rotations across various segments of the company (investment research, HR, marketing, etc.).  Although he ultimately chose to start his career with another company, Mark was excited to receive an offer from Capital Group for this program.


Highlighted Resource: Investopedia

Investopedia is one of the most comprehensive resources for investing education.  Some of the helpful sections include:
– Numerous Articles on investing
– Tutorials to help you gain a deeper understanding of investing
– Videos on financial theory, stocks, debt, return on equity and other categories.
– Dictionary of financial terms organized by category
– Stock Simulator – invest without the risk in a simulated environment

Use it as a resource to learn about the world of investing and to prepare for upcoming interviews!