Last week, Severn juniors and seniors boarded the early Northeast Regional Amtrak train to New York City to pound the pavement of the Big Apple and take a deep dive into the professional world of finance. In a mentoring adventure organized through a collaboration between Math Department Chair Julien Meyer and Director of Alumni Relations Carrie MacVean Grimes ‘91, students from Severn’s Investment Club and classes in financial algebra and economics spent the day traversing Manhattan, to gain insights from professionals working in the fast-paced field of finance.
Real Context, Meaningful Connections
Meyer was inspired to provide his students with a first-person peek into the true context and corporate culture of the broad range of careers which exist in the world of finance. “I believe students need to experience this first hand. Just talking about it or watching a film doesn’t do it justice.” After a successful inaugural trip last winter, Grimes was excited about the opportunity to engage Severn’s New York area alumni mentors in finance again. “Getting current students and alumni to meaningfully connect is the ideal within alumni relations—those mentoring moments are some of our most rewarding alumni engagements,” said Grimes.
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great mentor.” ~Japanese proverb
Paul Hastings LLP and JP Morgan Chase
The day’s itinerary allowed students to visit the headquarters of global financial services firm JP Morgan Chase as well as the offices of Paul Hastings LLP, a corporate law firm specializing in finance. Five law partners at Hastings offered a broad glimpse into the legal world of finance, shedding light on the students’ inquiries about how to chart one’s course in the industry. Hastings’ Partner Brian Moran shared the story of his unconventional professional path, which led him from an early career as a professional musician to work as an advocate in the foster care system to law school and now a successful career in litigation. Another partner, Adam Rose, discussed how his first career as a writer and English teacher equipped him with the ability to hone in on his passion for the puzzle-solving, which he uses every day in his work at Hastings in transactional law. “In determining what you want to do, try different things out, and figure out what you like, and why you like it. Taking time to reflect will help you to find your path.”
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At JP Morgan Chase Global Headquarters, students were hosted by Severn alumni Jason Scott
’95, Keith Pettus
’95, Avery Burns
’10 and Stevie Kirkup
‘09. Scott, head of investor relations for the firm, was eager to hear from students about their interests and questions regarding careers in finance, and kicked off the board room conversation by sharing an overview of the many services a firm like JP Morgan Chase provides its clients. He also lightheartedly joked about his lacrosse memories with classmate, colleague, and fellow panelist Pettus. Pettus shared fond reflections of his Severn mentor, Bob Gray, and encouraged the students to “learn how to learn…remain continuously curious and learn how to communicate in person with others--don’t be too narrowly focused on what you want to be when you grow up—figure out what is interesting to you, and explore!”
Eager to Learn from Experience
Students actively peppered the alumni with questions, and were excited to learn more about what the day-to-day work of a financial services professional looks like. Students also asked alumni how to best discern what areas of specialization to choose for a future career in finance. Burns, who participates in recruitment for JP Morgan Chase, offered this, “There are so many things you can do at a company like JP Morgan—the best thing I ever did was get my foot in the door. When you start your first job and take stock about what you like and want to learn more about, you can move internally and create those opportunities.”
Kirkup also provided words of encouragement to the students: ”I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated from Severn. You have a lot of time to figure it out. Keep an open mind, and pay close attention to what interests you along the way.”
The visit to JP Morgan Chase concluded with a private tour led by Scott, of the equities trading floor, which was abuzz with commotion. Students’ eyes and minds were lit up by the opportunity to witness the inner workings of such a large financial services operation. Senior Aarushi Negi
remarked, “The most exciting part about meeting with Severn alumni at JP Morgan was hearing an alumna speak about her career, which was at the crossroads of health care and economics, two academic interests that I would like to pursue…our trip really opened my eyes to the universe of finance—and has inspired me to study economics in college over the next four years.”
This annual trip is just one of many opportunities for Severn alumni to pay the Admiral energy forward and connect with current students. We encourage any interested alum to share their time and talent through the Admiral Alumni Mentoring Network. Please contact Director of Alumni Relations Carrie MacVean Grimes ‘91
to learn more.
In Case You Missed It...
Did you know that we've moved our annual alumni celebrations from May to October? Please join us on Reunion Homecoming Weekend to celebrate your lasting connection to Severn on Saturday, October 5, 2019! Bring the family for all-ages events and cheer on our Admiral athletes. Classes ending in 4s and 9s will be celebrating a reunion year!