Wall Street Exchange Prepares Next Generation for the Job Market

Woman Smiling Behind PodiumBy Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)

It’s springtime – and that means many college students are hard at work, seeking internships and finding how they can make the most of their undergraduate training. But there’s a lot more to getting a job than landing an internship.

That’s why the Financial Women’s Association of New York is, once again, hosting its Wall Street Exchange program. It’s a nine-week program that runs from late June to early August to help students, women and men, learn to navigate Wall Street as they begin their careers.

“The Wall Street Exchange program was started for students between their junior and senior years of college, to prepare them for life after graduation,” Anne Izzillo, President of the FWA explained. “We’re trying to give them the tools they need to find a job and be successful in that job.”

Students learn how to write a resume, work on presentation skills, do mock interviews, and more. And, Izzillo said, the program is just as rewarding to women in the FWA who participate. That’s why the networking group has been successfully operating the program for over two decades.

Preparing for the Next Phase

To apply, students must have a paid internship with a financial services company or a financial capacity within a corporation. The corporate sponsors of the program host workshops and dinners that provide information that will augment a Wall Street internship.

“Last year we had almost fifty students, the largest Wall Street Exchange class we’ve ever had,” Izzillo pointed out. This year’s applications will be accepted until May 11. She acknowledged that many students are still finalizing their summer internship plans, and encouraged them to apply even if they haven’t received final confirmation on their internships. “The program itself is not an internship, but it goes alongside an internship.”

She added, the program has recruitment benefits. “I know that our President’s Circle sponsors use this as a recruiting opportunity as well. It’s a great way for them to see the students, and for the students themselves to actually demonstrate to a potential employer what they can do.”

Full Circle

FWA members also benefit from participating in the program as volunteers.

“I think our members are inspired by the success of the people within the program, the feedback about how the program has helped students,” she said.

“As president last year, I gave a closing address to the students. And afterward, students approached me and praised the program, talking about how it helped prepare them for the world. To me, that was very rewarding.”

She continued, “And it comes full circle, really. I heard from one of the women who was a participant of the Wall Street Exchange program and had been in our mentoring program at Murry Bergtraum High School and then graduated. Then she had gone to Baruch and participated in our mentoring program there, before participating in the Wall Street Exchange.”

“She came up and introduced herself to me, and said ‘I want to become an FWA member, and mentor a Murry Bergtraum High School student too. I know who she is. I know what she’s going through. And I know what she needs and I could be beneficial to her,’” Izzillo recalled. “To me, that’s the FWA in action.”

And taking on this leadership role helps women see themselves as leaders in their own careers as well. “I think it builds self-confidence,” she said.

She encouraged FWA members to be a part of the summer network, recommend speakers, and volunteer to be part of the program’s leadership committee. Committee chairs Gerri Facchine and Laura Smith Dunaief noted:

“Whether as an FWA member you are able to attend all nine events or only one, you will have an impact. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back by volunteering to help students develop the tools they need to launch their careers and pursue a path to success. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to visit leading Wall Street firms and meet other established industry professionals.”