On April 4th, fifteen CWIB members headed to New York City to join Pamplin alumni for the annual Hokies on Wall Street event. Hokies on Wall Street is a networking event for Virginia Tech alumni and current students of all majors to come together and interact with each other about everything from their careers to their favorite memories in Blacksburg.
This year’s event was hosted by CitiGroup in their Midtown office. The event kicked off with a panel including Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO at One Madison Group, Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG. Dean Sumichrast moderated the panel and asked them questions about their career journey. When asked what one piece of advice she can give to people who want to grow their career, Tracy Castle-Newman emphasized the importance of commitment. She admitted, “Every time I got a promotion, I would stay at the office until 11 PM for a couple of weeks in order to learn the job and become good at it. I made that choice.” Omar Asali’s piece of advice was: be passionate about what you do. He explained that “if you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” The panel ended with the question: why is giving back important? Lynne Doughtie shared that she has been contributing money to Pamplin since she graduated. She went on to say, “When I got my first paycheck, I donated $15 to Pamplin. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Virginia Tech gave me so much and I have always believed that it was right to donate what I could.” The panelists did a great job inspiring the audience to work hard in their career to reach their goals and remember that Pamplin helped get them to where they are today, so there is value in giving back. After the panel, there was a networking reception where attendees chatted while munching on the delicious catered food. CWIB members thoroughly enjoyed interacting with many successful Hokie alumni.
CWIB members also had the chance to visit a couple of the world’s most iconic companies. On Friday morning, trekees visited IBM. CWIB members sat down with three women in marketing who explained their paths to IBM and offered advice on reaching one’s full potential and becoming successful in business. Allison Wood, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management, shared that the IBM visit was one of her favorite parts of the trek because of the inspirational women she got to meet. “They are each so successful but are only a few years older than us. It really showed me what I can accomplish in just a few years if I put my mind to it,” she shared. In the afternoon, the CWIB members traveled to the New York Stock Exchange. The group was treated to a personal tour of the company from Laura Seamon, a Manager in Enforcement Counsel. Heather Sangalang, a senior majoring in BIT, shared that her favorite part of this visit was being on the trading floor. She admitted that “It was a surreal experience being on the famous trading floor that you see in movies. I found it really interesting to hear that the number of traders decreased from 5000 to 500 over the years due to the adoption of advanced computer programs and algorithms. It proved the significance of technology in business.” The visit ended with a panel featuring women who work in regulation. CWIB members asked them questions about their job roles, how they handle work in a male-dominated field, and why they think internships are important. After this visit, the group was free to roam New York City with each other, which allowed them to bond with new and old faces!
Emma Roby is a freshman studying Finance who participated in the trek to expand her network and connect with professionals from companies she’s interested in working for. When asked about her most memorable moment from the trek, she shared, “My most memorable part of the weekend was touring the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, getting to experience what goes on down on the floor in person was incredible.” Roby encourages other CWIB members to participate in treks because they offer the opportunity to meet professionals in different fields, which can be helpful in deciding which career path you want to pursue.
Lauren Carey, a senior studying Finance and Management, has attended Hokies on Wall Street for the past three years, explaining that it is her favorite event of the year. She enjoyed visiting the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity to tour the trading floor and speak with a panel of women in the regulation sector. Lauren admits that her favorite part of the trek was bonding with other CWIB members. “I have made some of my best friends from CWIB and I cannot picture my college experience without it,” she says.
Kinsey Donovan, a senior studying BIT and Management Consulting, also considers Hokies on Wall Street her favorite event of the year and describes the trek as engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. It was her third and last year participating in the trek and explains that the Hokies on Wall Street networking event is what makes the NYC excursion worthwhile. “Being on the top floor of a New York skyscraper under the city lights talking to amazing people who love Virginia Tech and want to invest in the students makes the quick trip so worth it,” she explains. Her biggest takeaway from the trek was a piece of advice she received from an alum she talked to. He explained that the start of your career is a time to spend observing – observing managers, coworkers, and leaders in your company, so when you get to their level you’ll know how you want to interact with everyone.
Abby Perkins, a sophomore studying Marketing, explains that she was pleasantly surprised by the trips to IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. Representatives at IBM focused on product marketing, while CWIB members got to learn more about the legal side of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Abby appreciated that the company visits consisted of more than just finance and BIT-related topics. “This trek taught me that there are so many opportunities for all majors at companies you wouldn’t normally expect, so you just have to keep looking for the job you want in places you might not be expecting,” she explains. The IBM visit was the most memorable part of the trek for Abby and she enjoyed how relatable the women were. “The women we talked to were very down to earth and you could tell that they wanted us to succeed in our endeavors. We had a great discussion not just about business but life as well and how transitioning from college into a job was for them,” she shared.
CWIB treks are a great opportunity to make connections with professionals, discover new companies, and get a feel for a city you may see yourself working in. They are also a chance to bond with your fellow CWIB members and grow a network of supportive friends who share similar aspirations to you. Freshmen and seniors alike take away something valuable from treks, whether that be learning about different career paths or making new connections at a fun, annual event!
By: Allison DeSantis