Roughly 120 students participated in a financial industry boot camp sponsored by the Office of Career Services last weekend, where a professional training organization lectured on corporate valuation and finance modeling in an effort to prepare students for internships and jobs on Wall Street.
“The purpose is to provide the same level of instruction that students would get in a corporate finance class at an undergraduate business school, or from training at a bank,” said Elizabeth C. Likovich ’07, a business tutor in Dunster and one of the organizers of the event.
“Given that Harvard doesn’t have as many corporate finance classes as some other undergraduate universities, the workshop is certainly helpful,” said Jason J. Sunderson ’01 from William Blair & Company, which accepts no more than five or six Harvard students for internships and jobs out of approximately 100 students that apply annually.
The sessions from 9 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday were organized by OCS and Harvard Pre-Professional Development, a new student group which provides job training in the finance, non-profit, entrepreneurship and consulting sectors. The boot camp featured lectures by a professional training company, Training the Street, as well as networking sessions with investment firms and sponsors William Blair & Company, Jefferies, and Lazard.
“The speakers are very engaging and it was a good pace,” said Jane J. Choi ’12, who is interested in finance and is currently in the recruiting process. “A lot of the information is actually online, but the presenters made things clear by pointing out what’s important.”
Participants unfamiliar with the financial industry may have found the workshops challenging, but this is the way companies train interns during the summer, according to Ashtynn B. Baltimore ’13, one of the event organizers who founded the Pre-Professional Development group.
“It was very fast-paced and gave a lot of information, but people who have a background in finance were participating and asking questions,” said Christine Y. H. Cho ’12, who is considering a career in finance but has no previous experience.
The Pre-Professional Development student group was founded by Baltimore, who interned at Morgan Stanley last summer as a freshman and whose brother is an investment banker at Credit Suisse. Baltimore said the group was inspired by her and her brother’s work experiences, which allowed her to see the difficulties of being a first year analyst.
“There are certain things that are lacking at the undergraduate level that could better prepare [students] to go [into finance],” Baltimore said. “You are usually evaluated in the mid-weeks [of the internship], but if you are only using those first weeks to get acquainted with the materials, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. We want to get rid of that disadvantage.”
—Staff writer Heng Shao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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