Scoping out nation’s capital, Big Apple

Recent career exploration trips gave students the chance to connect with alumni, learn about different industries and consider what life could look like after W&L

Danika Brockman

The recent Reading Days break was, for many, a chance to simply catch up on homework, make a quick trip home or just relax and appreciate the fall weather. But for about 80 students, these few extra days away from the classroom provided a unique opportunity to explore future careers and professions.

Each year, the Williams School of Commerce offers several trips through which students can meet and hear from alumni in different fields. Two particular trips this fall were the accounting trip and the economics trip.

The Accounting Trip took students to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 12. Students were able to visit and observe several different accounting firms throughout D.C. While at EY, students spoke with accountants, including alumni, to get an overview of the industry and learn what the profession entails. Students also sat in on a number of sessions, covering subjects such as audits, taxes and consulting.

The Economics Trip was a longer trip to Washington, D.C.—leaving campus on Oct. 11 and returning on Oct. 13. Students meet with consulting firms, non-profit organizations and think tanks throughout the nation’s capital. They also visited a number of economics-related entities, including Economists, Inc., Berkeley Research Group, The Brookings Institution, No Kid Hungry, The Heritage Foundation, The Federal Reserve, National Economic Council and Uber. Similar to the Accounting Trip, a number of the visits were organized through alumni and provided students a wider, more comprehensive view of the field.

Zainab Abiza, ‘19, went on the Economics Trip and was impressed by the alumni network available to students. Abiza said the “highlight” of the trip for her was meeting Jerome H. Powell, a former investment banker who is currently a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Tanner Williams, ‘19, was also present on the economics trip. Like Abiza, Williams praised the alumni network.

“[It was] an awesome opportunity for me to make connections through the W&L alumni [who were] more than willing to help in any way they could,” Williams said.

The Williams School also offers career trips on other breaks throughout the school year.

During February’s Washington Break, the Williams School takes 20 students to New York City for three days. This AdMarComm Trip provides interested students a chance to visit advertising, marketing and public relations firms. It is open to all undergraduate students, and applications will be available beginning in January 2018.

The annual New York Investments Trip follows each spring. The excursion is led by Dean of Career and Professional Development John Jensen, who brings 20 sophomores to New York City to gain a better understanding of careers in finance, accounting and consulting. Past firm visits include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Deloitte and Bloomberg News.

Many of the students who journeyed to Washington on this October’s accounting and economic trips expressed interest in these further opportunities to travel with the Williams School, citing desires to both  connect with alumni in their fields and broaden their career horizons in new and uncommon ways.