TIP board

Alumni Help Neeley Finance Students Land Top-Tier Investment Assignments

“It’s nearly impossible to land a prime investment banking internship or full-time position without talking to and working with someone who has done it before,” said Robert Strong BBA ’10, senior associate at Captra Capital. 

June 05,  2014

By Elaine Cole

Wall Street is about more than bulls and bears. It’s also about who you know.

Take it from Neeley finance graduates who have become successful in top finance careers: Even the smartest, most hard-working, most competitive students can’t get a job on Wall Street if they can’t get their résumés in front of the right person. So they joined together to help.

Last spring, LKCM analyst Brett Scarbrough, with the support of the Alcon Career Center and the backing of J. Luther King Jr. BBA ’62 MBA ’66, called on young Neeley finance alumni to help top TCU finance students land positions in top-tier firms.

By fall 2013, 18 Neeley finance alumni answered the call and formed the Transaction and Investment Professionals Board (TIP Board). They worked tirelessly with students throughout the recruiting season. They spent countless hours editing students’ résumés. They devoted more time helping students prepare for interviews, offering advice, instruction and guidance.

Campbell Robinson, junior finance major, said that the high point in his recruiting process was driving to Dallas to go through a mock interview with Robert Strong BBA ’10, senior associate at Captra Capital.

“He took an hour-and-a-half out of his busy schedule to grill me on every possible question that I could be asked,” Robinson recalled. “I attribute much of my success in my banking interviews to the lessons that he taught me.”

Robinson secured an investment banking summer analyst position at Goldman Sachs in New York City.

“From the beginning of recruiting season in October, members of the TIP board were reaching out to me, asking what my plans were, checking on my stage in the recruitment process, and encouraging me to stay proactive in networking,” Robinson said. “Rob Strong, Erik Yohe, Jodi Settle, Rick Settle, Murphey Henk and Logan Luzzo set me up with informational interviews, both over the phone and in person, with their colleagues at investment banks. During these conversations I was able to get my foot in the door with Bulge Bracket Investment Banks in New York, which is difficult to do coming from a non-target school.”

To date, 21 TCU students have landed plumb internships in New York City, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas, with companies including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Citi, RBC Capital, Deutsche Bank and Grosvenor Capital Management.

“These are good, very talented kids going up against hundreds of top students from all the Ivy League schools. We help them through tons of interview prep and résumé prep, as much as they want and need. After they prove to us that they have the right stuff, we do our best to make sure they have the opportunity to prove themselves to as many top firms as possible,” Erik Yohe BBA ’09, senior vice president with Hilltop Holdings, said.

Yohe and Strong are founding members of the TIP Board, along with Jodi Settle BBA ’10, analyst with Surveyor Capital; Ryan McCrory BBA ’10, associate with Brazos Private Equity Partners; Trey Schorgl BBA ’09, analyst at Balyasny Asset Management; and Will Bonano BBA ’10, analyst at Prudential Capital. Their goal is to use the experiences and connections they and other members have to add to what the Neeley School is doing successfully, to give TCU finance students a formalized path to internships and jobs.

Corbett Ekonomou, junior finance major, said that landing his internship at RBC in New York City was a direct result of his interaction with the TIP Board. Ekonomou went to New York in December and, through Yohe and Strong, set up 10 meetings over three days.

“I would have zero stock without their guidance and resources,” Ekonomou said. “I was able to talk to a lot of people I never would have known without them. And no matter how qualified I was on paper, I was not prepared enough to do well in those interviews without their help.”

It’s all about hard work on everyone’s part – students, board members and the staff of the Alcon Career Center – plus a willingness to give back.

 “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Dr. Block, Dr. Lockwood, TCU alumni in finance and accounting who looked over my résumé and gave me mock interviews, and my internship with Luther King,” Strong said. “That combination helped me get a job in New York, and now I’m back in DFW, so it’s my turn to do the same.”

The TIP Board’s next step is to work with students who have landed internships, to help them better position themselves for a fulltime offer.

Yohe, Strong and Settle all spoke about their excitement over the results the TIP Board is having with students.

“I believe the success of the TIP Board is directly attributable to the support we have received from TCU and LKCM, the time committed by the TIP Board members, and the engagement and hard work of the TCU students,” Settle said.

Jessica Cates, associate director of the Alcon Career Center, added, “This has been a wonderful partnership and has extended our office and the Neeley School’s reach in a critical area.”

All this support for hard-working Horned Frogs expands the TCU brand among top financial firms and creates a pipeline that will filter the best TCU students to peak opportunities, year after year.

“I want to make TCU a prominent name on Wall Street,” Strong said.

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Read more about how Neeley School alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends open doors, share advice, leverage resources and help students identify new platforms for success, in the Spring 2014 issue of Neeley Magazine. Available online here