Photo by Bruce Gilbert
At the end of his freshman year at Purdue University, Josh Wannarka reached a turning point. He decided that if he were serious about a career on Wall Street, then he should find a school nearby that would get him there. He considered Ivy League schools and then visited Fordham.
“I fell in love with the campus and the people,” said the San Antonio, Texas, native. “Add to that the reputation of the economics department and the proximity to the Manhattan business world, and it all fell into place.”
Wannarka discovered other resources at Fordham that would strengthen his portfolio, including community service, student clubs, and the Office of Career Planning and Placement. He participated in the Fordham Emerging Leaders Program; joined Omicron Delta Epsilon, an honorary economics society; and was named a junior fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.
“The opportunities that Fordham provides, not only academically but for service, helped me begin to develop the kinds of qualities that are attractive to employers,” said Wannarka, an economics major at Fordham College at Rose Hill. “What I like about the University is that it is a community that offers many different ways to get involved.”
Fordham’s Jesuit tradition calls for its students to be “men and women for others,” offering their gifts and talents in service to the world. In this spirit, Wannarka became a volunteer at the Momentum Soup Kitchen in Manhattan and served as president of the Economics Society, while keeping his professional goals in focus. Thanks in part to Fordham’s “Careers on Wall Street” symposium, Wannarka served as a summer intern with Merrill Lynch. Following his junior year, he secured another internship through Career Planning and Placement’s online resume program, this time with UBS .
“I did direct sales of securities and got hands on experience,” he said. “I must have made 350 calls a day.”
Angelo Yorio, director of the Career Planning and Placement Office, considers Wannarka a classic example of the entrepreneurial student who combines personal networking with the programs sponsored by her office.
“Our surveys over the last two years show that 70 percent of the students who have gone through our office have secured employment within a month after graduating,” she said.
Yorio and her staff offer an impressive range of programs. In addition to online resume-posting services and on-campus recruiting, they conduct resume and cover-letter workshops, videotaped mock interviews, job fairs and alumni networking events.
Taking full advantage of these services, Wannarka participated in on-campus recruiting programs. He interviewed with Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch before accepting a job offer from JPMorgan Chase. He will start in August as a middle market banking analyst.
“Top companies like to see the kind of holistic person that Fordham produces,” Wannarka said. “Having that Jesuit background of service and ethics is something that employers see as a bonus.”