Rutgers' Road to Wall Street Paves Way for Job Opportunities
The program is a stepping-stone into
the competitive world of finance.
Four years ago, Rutgers student Jose Baez never thought he would be a step closer to fulfilling his dream of working on Wall Street. Although he grew up just across the Hudson River in West New York — watching commuters travel in and out of the city every day — the opportunity felt miles away.
He put the idea in the back of his mind and focused on athletics with the hope of going professional. But that changed after a happenchance meeting with a former athlete who now works in finance. He recognized the dedication Baez had for learning and recommended he attend Rutgers. As a native Spanish speaker and with his first microeconomics class in tow, Baez began to see finance as a universal language that he wanted to further understand.
The only complication, he thought, was "How?"
Baez, a first-generation college student, credits the Rutgers Road to Wall Street program for preparing and providing him with the resources to intern with J.P. Morgan's Commercial Real Estate division this summer.
"Even though I lived 20 minutes from New York City, I was not exposed to opportunities in finance until I got to Rutgers," Baez, class of 2020, explained. "My father works the graveyard shift at a nearby factory. His work ethic and motivation in his own career inspired me to think differently about my future. The program helped set a plan of action in motion."
Since its inception in 2011, Road to Wall Street has helped hundreds of Rutgers students sharpen their skills for the highly competitive world of finance. Through alumni mentorship, networking and a technical class, the program has set undergraduates on a path toward the intense recruiting process for internships, full-time return offers and competitive career positions.
Experience has become the new norm for entry-level requirements across all fields. According to National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2017 survey, nearly 91 percent of employers prefer candidates have work experience and 65 percent of the total group prefer candidates have relevant work experience.
In the last four years, Road to Wall Street, now a part of Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick, has helped at least 95 percent of sophomores in the program secure junior year internships. In addition, the program's seniors receive strong return offers for full-time positions.
Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick
In 2018, over half of the cohort received job placements from their junior year internships at companies such as Accenture, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and other Wall Street banks and firms.
Simmi Sharma is a graduating senior who went through the program in 2016–2017. She now mentors students weekly. In 2017, she landed an internship with a leading private-equity firm in terms of Assets under Management (AUM), the Blackstone Group, and then a full-time position as a real estate acquisitions analyst. She says it is “exactly how she wants to start off her career.”
“Coming into Rutgers as a freshman, I was determined to navigate the industry and all of its unknowns. In high school, no one I knew was really pursuing any position on Wall Street, but I found like-minded classmates and mentors through the finance network at Rutgers. It helped me realize what I wanted to do, and how to do it.”
Front-office roles are high-intensity but extremely sought-after, high-paying positions. According to Pension and Investments, Blackstone received 15,000 applications for 86 analyst positions in 2018, one of which Sharma earned. The program helped her compete with students from other top universities across the nation.
The Rutgers Road to Wall Street program links undergraduates with alumni that are working on Wall Street in order to help them prepare for internships and careers...The power of this program has helped Rutgers kids get in the process earlier and get those valued summer internships that ultimately lead to full-time offers.
The Rutgers alumni network on Wall Street has also grown over the last eight years, providing more opportunity for more students to gain direct access to those working in the financial services industry.
Sierra Denesevich, class of 2018, is a sales and trading analyst at BNP Paribas. Denesevich said, “Road to Wall Street opened up a strong network of alumni on Wall Street for me. Hopping on the train to New York City from New Brunswick made relationship-building a lot easier. I was able to speak with and meet alumni who ended up playing a critical role in the recruiting process for my current position. Having Wall Street at my fingertips was a game-changer.”
Baez, who hopes to work on Wall Street when he graduates, said, “I grew up in New York City's backyard in an area that has seen a huge transformation. I saw the tremendous development happening there and how it has affected my town in a positive way. Through my involvement with the program, I realized commercial real estate was something I wanted to pursue. I now have that opportunity.”
“I’m motivated by success, especially of others, and I want to pay it forward for other Rutgers graduates. I wouldn’t be here if not for the mentors and the people who have helped me out with their time, energy and invaluable advice. When I’m in the position, I want to be a mentor and have the same impact on others as that my mentors have had on me. It’s all about reaching back and pushing our fellow Scarlet Knights forward."