More than a dozen St. Francis College students recently wrapped up an innovative online boot camp that aims to prepare young people from underrepresented populations for careers on Wall Street.
With IHS Markit as the sponsor, SFC partnered with Wall Street Bound, Inc., a non-profit that delivered a three-week curriculum of workshops and guest speakers focused on building students' professional skills and providing them mentorship.
"Our students are extraordinarily talented, but many do not have the exposure to Wall Street that makes it easy to imagine a career for themselves there," said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, St. Francis College President. "Wall Street Bound introduces students of color to successful women and men -- including many who are Black and Brown – and equips them with knowledge that can set the stage for lucrative and fulfilling lives in investing fields."
Wall Street Bound is the brainchild of former Wall Street institutional equity trader and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Troy Prince, who founded the organization in 2019 after a successful career as one of a small number of Black professionals working globally in the capital markets. The organization aims to open Wall Street's doors to college students of color, by teaching them necessary technical skills and connecting them with internships.
"From the time I was first approached by St. Francis College at the behest of President Miguel Martinez-Saenz, it was highly apparent that the President and the College were giving serious and creative thought around how best to leverage their history and proximity to the wealth engine that is Wall Street on behalf of their largely minority and commuter student body," said Prince. "The President, the College and the student population they serve are exactly the type of forward-thinking partners Wall Street Bound was created to partner with."
Wall Street Bound guest speakers at SFC this summer included two investing legends that Forbes magazine identified as among the wealthiest people alive today: billionaires Leon Cooperman, founder and CEO of Omega Advisors, Inc. and Mario Gabelli, founder and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors.
"There are not that many billionaires in the world and the fact that our students had the opportunity to meet and be in the presence of two is amazing at their age," said Monique Moore Pryor, St. Francis College Chief of Staff.
To provide a strong breadth of financial services expertise to the boot camp, IHS Markit also contributed expert lecturers across its key business areas, including equity, fixed income, law, issuer services, private markets, customer care and technology. IHS Markit Guest speakers included Noha Baltagi, Early Careers and Human Resources and Robert Lewis, Lead Generation, Sales Associate.
"IHS Markit is proud and honored to partner with Wall Street Bound and St. Francis College to deliver a world-class learning
experience that will have a profound impact on students and their future career decisions," said Eric Maldonado, SVP and Global Head of Sales for Financial Services at IHS Markit. "Our team of experts are delighted to engage with motivated students in the New York area, sharing insights about their professional journeys and offering guidance on career path opportunities across the financial services industry."
Participating students say they felt inspired to potentially pursue previously unconsidered career paths.
"It really opened my mind...it increased my interest [in finance] so much so that I'm thinking of changing my major... I'm very grateful for that," said SFC communications major Martha Lakhan '23 on her experience in the boot camp.
Other students felt similarly motivated.
"My major is accounting, but after this whole boot camp, I developed an interest in finance as well," said Minna Zedie '21. "I learned a lot more than I had in my economics classes."
President Martinez-Saenz read about Wall Street Bound in January and soon thereafter invited Prince to campus. Dale Favors, Managing Partner at Adaptive Growth Leadership who serves as advisor to the President's Office, secured the partnership with IHS Markit and he and Monique Moore Pryor are working to grow the partnership to allow more students to participate.
"The Wall Street Bound Boot Camp was an amazing experience for the students at St. Francis College," said Favors. "The depth of information that was provided by the speakers and instructors was instrumental in assisting students with grasping the tools to succeed as a financial professional."
President Martinez-Saenz sees a primary benefit of Wall Street Bound as sparking curiosity and passion for lifelong learning, two key ingredients for success in any field.
"I know the curriculum [for Wall Street Bound] gets you information. That's part of it," said Martinez-Saenz when addressing the students during the boot camp's final session. "The other part is creating the dispositional tendency so you can become agents. And what I mean by being an agent is that you become thinkers for yourselves. You have to recognize gaps in your knowledge and be open to filling them."
Wall Street Bound ran from July 21st to August 6, 2020, fully online. SFC students were invited to take part in the free workshop if they self-identified as students of color and demonstrated exemplary academic achievement.
The boot camp is one part of the rich programming SFC makes available for free over the summer to all its students, to expose them to people and ideas that ready them for academic and career success.
Pictured above, L-R: Troy Prince and Eric Maldanado