Moderated by Edith L. Bartley, (JD, vice president of government affairs, Thurgood Marshall College Fund) the panel was comprised of Johnny Ducking, Ph.D., assistant professor at North Carolina A&T State University; Julian Johnson, executive vice president, SEO, Sponsors for Educational Opportunities; Sabrina Lamb, founding CEO of WorldofMoney.org; and John S. Wilson Jr., Ph.D., president of Morehouse College.
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The panel was asked, ‘What do historically black colleges need to do to create and sustain meaningful collaboration with Wall Street?’
Lamb responded by telling the story of a young man who was mentored by a high-level corporate executive he did not personally knowâ€”because heâ€™d written him a letter that included the question, ‘How can I help you meet your needs?’ He didnâ€™t ask the executive to help him, Lamb stressed, and related how the young man’s bold, service-focused request resulted in the enviable mentorship.
Johnson emphasized the need to pursue internships or other practical work experience. â€œCorporations are now hiring first-year analysts from their interns. Theyâ€™re doing the 10-week interview,â€ he said, stressing consistent excellence and fluency in Excel and Power Point. â€œWhen you get a 98% grade in college, thatâ€™s great,â€ Johnson said. â€œBut in the workplace, you canâ€™t hand in a spreadsheet thatâ€™s 2% incorrect. You wonâ€™t get a second chance to get it right.â€
He advised arriving before your boss and leaving afterward, doing exceptional work consistentlyâ€”â€œShock people with how good you are,â€ he said. He also advised paying attention to detail and doing more than whatâ€™s expected of you.
Wilson spoke of how Morehouse is transitioning to requiring coding of all majors and acknowledged how essential computer science is to all business knowledge, and also of how Silicon Valley is drawing away studentsâ€™ interest that they previously had in the financial sector.
Ducking urged students to embrace math, and by extension, to push back against their assumptions or the hang-ups of others. â€œMath isnâ€™t hard. If someone told you it is, donâ€™t believe them.â€ He basically seemed to advise embracing the unknown and the seemingly complex.
Lamb stressed the need to have your own personal financial house in order. â€œIf youâ€™ve got bad credit,â€ she warned, â€œyou will not get hired on Wall Street.â€ She also urged students to think beyond our borders and to go global. Although EQ (emotional intelligence, or soft skills) wasnâ€™t discussed, certainly the discipline of personal financial management suggests a maturity and self-control thatâ€™s needed in the workplace.
For more about the 19th annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, go to www.RainbowPushWallStreetProject.org, andÂ follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WSPES2016.