The Road to Wall Street: A program to help students succeed in their careers.

Despite Rutgers’ proximity to Wall Street, the road to a career in the financial  industry can be long and uncertain. Making connections is critical, and many  fates are sealed in the fall of junior year, when firms select students for highly competitive summer internships. Entering its seventh year and bolstered by private support, the Road to Wall Street program gives exceptional Rutgers students the tools and connections they need to succeed, including targeted coursework, alumni mentors who work on Wall Street, and counseling for navigating the process. Although students of all majors are welcome to apply, the program is competitive: each year, 50 out of about 200 high-achieving sophomores are chosen. Those who get in say it’s well worth the effort.

“All the Rutgers alumni I’ve met who are working on Wall Street are amazingly dedicated and hardworking—and able to get the same results without an Ivy League degree,” says Monica Sung, a participant in the program and a rising senior at Rutgers Business School  in New Brunswick. “It’s given me confidence that I can get there.”

The statistics suggest Sung is right. Of the most recent Road to Wall Street cohort, 86 percent were granted a summer internship, and postgraduation job placement is even better: 96 percent.

Based on the program’s success, Rutgers University Career Services and the Rutgers University Alumni Association are partnering to expand the model to other industries and foster alumni and student networking across the board.

Alumni participating in Road to Wall Street cite the many rewards.

It’s good for business. Michael Canavan LC’90, RBS’90, a managing director at Bank of New York Mellon, says that Ivy League graduates often have an edge getting in the door, but Rutgers graduates have all the right qualities. “You don’t need a Harvard M.B.A.,” Canavan says. “You need someone who is resourceful, talented, and hardworking—the attributes of a lot of students from Rutgers. If I can help those students, I’m doing the industry a favor.”

It strengthens my network. Tim Cuddihy RC’89, RBS’98, a managing director at the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, says his Wall Street contacts include five program cohorts—which is good for his career. “If I’m visiting a client and one of my mentees works for that client, I pick up the phone and ask to get together.”

It keeps my perspective fresh. Mentees view the world, and their industry, with fresh eyes—and they can help you see things differently. Natalie Gall RC’91, who spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs and is the chief compliance officer for Edgestream Partners, says, “I like to be able to help someone, but it’s also about staying connected  to the next generation to lead Wall Street.”

It’s a way to give back. When Ken Miller RC’07, RBS’07 was a student, well- connected Rutgers Business School professors and alumni went out of their way to help students get started and succeed in investment banking. Now executive director at FS Investments, Miller wants “to bring students up behind me, strengthen the  business school, and build a stronger network on the Street that we can all share in and benefit from.”

Students reveal how Road to Wall Street mentors help with nascent careers.

Getting an Internship. “He mock interviewed me the day before my Super Day, which is the second round of interviews at finance firms. It made me feel a lot more confident. This summer, I will be interning at Credit Suisse, doing equity research.”

—Abdallah Al Fahham, rising senior at Rutgers Business School in Newark, on mentor Michael Canavan LC’90, RBS’90

Finding the Right Fit. “One thing he told me that was really helpful was that I could work my hardest and not end up in a position I want to be in. He said, ‘I want you to understand what Wall Street is before you get out there, and try to get a really good position.’”

— Nicole Kalucki RBS’17, working for Goldman Sachs in Prime Services, on mentor Tim Cuddihy RC’89, RBS’98

Understanding My Options. “I wasn’t really interested in investment banking, so she introduced me to compliance and to people who work as quantitative analysts. It was really eye-opening. I did get an internship in compliance after she helped me prepare for interviews.”

— Carolina Reis, rising senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, on mentor Natalie Gall RC’91

Believing in Myself. “Near my interview date, we had dinner and I was freaking out. And she said, Marion, you’ve been prepping for this for nine months. I believe in you; you’re going to do really well. You need to believe in yourself.”

— Marion Miller, rising senior at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick, on mentor Irene Fayn RC’99, RBS’99