By Alexander Gonzalez, SEO Career, Class of 2016/UF/IB/BAML
My personal SEO experience started at the beginning of my sophomore year. I was a Finance major from a non target school, coming from a hometown where I had never heard the words Investment Banking used in the same sentence. Fast forward two years and I am blessed with the opportunity to be a summer investment banking analyst at a top firm on Wall Street. As much as I would like to think this was something I could have done on my own, this could not be further from the truth.
SEO attracts the best and brightest students from across the nation who are passionate to learn more about the world of Finance but simply have not had the opportunity due to their diverse backgrounds. The structure enables students to learn more about the industry through a vast network of over ten thousand alumni in all walks of life from the 35+ years of SEO’s existence. Aside from exposure, the support network that starts with your SEO recruiter, coaches, and mentors provides the necessary motivation and feedback system to keep you honest to your work.
I vividly remember Gabriel Gonzalez (SEO ’15), my older brother, and his experience with SEO Career. I remember the excited calls pouring on about all of the fascinating alumni he had been able to meet, of the financial courses that were provided free of charge to him, of all the incredible SEO interns who had grown to become some of his best friends. I knew I was hooked.
After meeting Susan Manks at an on campus recruiting event, I was mesmerized by her poise and demeanor. It was in the meeting nearly two years ago that she introduced me to SEO training which was the pipeline feeder to SEO Career for sophomores. I was to be extended the SEO support network, the coaches, the courses, the exposure and connections that are so invaluable.
Through SEO training I heard of a program partner, Artemis Real Estate Partners, which is a Private Equity Real Estate firm out of Chevy Chase, MD, with whom I was able to intern with over the summer. It was during this internship that I found my passion for real estate finance, which led me to apply to a combined Masters in Real Estate program, and to secure an internship in a real estate group of an investment bank.
In short, SEO provides the soft and hard skills necessary for securing the top finance jobs available, a vast network of coaches and mentors, but what truly makes SEO special is the people. Instilled in all of us is a burning need to give back as the past 35+ years of alumni have. The motto “It’s not about you” is embodied through everyone from the SEO Board all the way down to the newest interns. I have been able to build relationships with the other SEO interns which will last a lifetime.
It is not often that you can pinpoint any one life changing moment, but I can honestly say that I have been given the most unique blessing to have become a part of the SEO family and that my life will forever be changed by the work that has been done by those before me. I hope to continue to learn and grow both professionally and personally and to one day pass on the baton to those who come after me, leaving SEO a little better than when my class inherited it.