Forty SBI students to intern on Wall Street

Forty students from the School of Business and Industry have been chosen to represent Florida A&M this summer to intern on Wall Street at seven of the most prestigious banking firms in the world.

“This is a record number of Wall Street interns for the University,” said Karl Lawrence, Ph.D., a finance professor who is coordinating the project. “This is an especially impressive achievement given current recessionary market conditions.  Our previous record was 30, which occurred during the summer of 2004.”

Students will be interning at JP Morgan Chase, Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Avenue Capital Ventures, Inc., Northern Trust Company and United Bank of Switzerland. Each company selected interns from more than 200 SBI student applicants.

The internship is from mid-May to mid-August. The application process was not easy as students were required to hold a high grade point average and display a strong understanding of the market to their professors and potential employers.

However, Lawrence said he feels the students are up to the challenge.

“They are hungry,” Lawrence said. “They want these positions and they have a strong appetite for the market.”

Ricardo Barragan, JP Morgan executive director, explained that over the past decade, FAMU SBI has produced Wall Street’s best interns.

“The FAMU interns from the past have blazed the trail,” Barragan said. “We have a strong FAMU network within our institution based on our history with the school over the past 10 years…We continually think of ways to enhance and grow our relationship with FAMU.”

Joshua Steen, 22, a business administration graduate student from Los Angeles, is one of the 40 interns and will be interning at JP Morgan. He said it is one of the best companies to work for.

“In a time when most companies are pulling back because of current market conditions, JP Morgan is growing and investing toward the future,” Steen said.

The interns are looking forward to the experience.

Ashley Hanna-Holloway, 23, a fifth-year business administration student from Fort Lauderdale, said this year’s internship would be monumental.

“With the recession lingering, we’d get a unique perspective being that the economy hasn’t seen anything similar to this in about 10 years,” Hanna-Holloway said.

Faculty members have expressed their pride in the accomplishments of the students.

Lydia McKinley-Floyd, SBI dean, said she wished she had this opportunity while she was in college.

“I think it’s an awesome experience,” McKinley-Floyd said. “If I had the experience that they’ve been afforded when I was in the business, surely I could’ve been a CEO by now.”

The students at FAMU competed for their position with not only other students from HBCUs, but from traditional and Ivy League schools, such as Harvard and the University of Chicago.

Ira Bates, accounting and finance department chair at SBI, said FAMU interns have the strongest presence on Wall Street.

“For companies such as JP Morgan and Barclays Capital, we’re one of their preferred schools in the nation,” Bates said. “That says a lot about the caliber of our students.”

Elijah Bowdre, 22, a fourth-year finance student from Long Beach, Calif., is a returning intern. He said believes his past experience and education in SBI prepared him for the job.

“My previous internship, in-depth knowledge and superior communication skills taught in SBI was the reason I was able to secure my internship and beat out the competition from students at Ivy League schools,” Bowdre said.

Faculty members are confident their students will perform well in the field and said the interns are not afraid of the upcoming challenges.

“They’re not intimidated,” Lawrence said. “They know it’s competitive, but they’re ready.”