When the COVID-19 shutdown hit last spring, many students were left wondering if a summer internship was still a viable option. The LMU Department of Finance took matters into their own hands by launching a Remote Job Shadowing Program for finance majors who suddenly found themselves without a summer internship.
Spearheaded by Associate Professor of Finance David Offenberg, the program paired finance students with industry volunteers (a mix of alumni and employer contacts) to provide a unique professional experience over the summer. The goal was for students to complete the program with a new industry contact, a better sense of how work is done in the real world, and some new corporate lingo.
“It was really important to me that our students didn’t let the summer slip by without a meaningful professional experience,” said Offenberg. “They are learning a ton, and they will be able to add this experience to their resumes.”
The whole program – from inception to kickoff – came together in just a few weeks. The response from students and industry volunteers was overwhelming, with a final tally of over 80 students and 80 professionals paired one-on-one.
“It’s a real testament to the value of our alumni network that so many of them volunteered their time to help in this moment,” said Susan Elkinawy, chair of the Department of Finance. “In fact, we had more alumni want to participate than we had students sign up!”
Both students and volunteers found the program to be tremendously beneficial. Through a series of six modules, students learned about the business model of firms in the industry, the financial tools and challenges in their partner’s job, and the keys to their career success. With each volunteer deciding precisely what to talk about in each module, every single student got a unique and customized experience.
“Meetings with my student have gone well – he has a lot of interest in the topics and a great work ethic that he brings each week,” said Seamus McMorrow ’19, an analyst with Goldman Sachs. “The modules have been a great framework and made prepping for our meetings far more manageable.”
“I have gained a lot of clarity in terms of career paths and it’s super interesting to learn about the finance side of hospitals, especially during the pandemic,” added senior finance major Amanda Gordon, whose partner works in the healthcare industry.
This program was a major success because the mission and culture of the CBA is built around being agile and collaborative. Alumni are already signing up to be involved next summer.
“A CBA education is about much more than just what you learn in the classroom,” said Dayle Smith, dean of LMU College of Business Administration. “Our finance professors are well-connected and provide ample opportunities for our students to grow in the direction that they want to grow. And we have a solid base of alumni and employers to support that growth.”