There are thousands of millennials working in the heart of New York City’s financial district and dozens at the J.P. Morgan Chase headquarters.
However, there are very few who’ve spent countless hours at Atherton, love a certain bulldog named “Trip,” or can burst forth with The Butler War Song. Butler graduate Michael Bennett ’09 is hopeful that changes soon.
Last year Bennett was instrumental in spearheading a program that brought eight Butler business students to his Manhattan workplace where he serves as an investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
“They were able to spend the whole day at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, sitting through rotating panels that focused on our four lines of business,” he described. “They networked and talked with human resource staff, as well as spending time with other bank and hedge fund personnel. It exposed them to different elements of financial services and provided tangible take-aways that will hopefully help them choose a career.”
In Bennett’s mind, this closely follows suit with the Lacy School’s real business experience mantra. “There’s a ‘real-world’ business mentality at Butler where students are not sheltered so much in the classroom. That immediate introduction to the business community gives you a leg up. The sooner you can participate in that world, the better.”
Bennett, a native of Elmhurst, Illinois, started his academic career at Butler on the Liberal Arts path where he played football. Having enjoyed writing for his high school newspaper, he was pursuing a major in English when he found himself in business classes that were both enjoyable and fulfilling. “I really liked the professors I worked with and enjoyed the curriculum. I was fortunate that I was able to find a way to express myself creatively in a business environment,” he said.
A portfolio management class and internships in wealth management services provided a gateway to a job offer with J.P. Morgan Private Bank shortly after graduation. “Was it ever a dream to live in Manhattan and work on Wall Street? No,” he said. “I moved pretty much sight-unseen into a tiny apartment that was about six times what I was paying in Indianapolis. I feel very fortunate to be working at the company headquarters and exposed to a wide variety of work that’s at a very high level. It has been a great experience so far.”
While he spends long hours at the office, he does make time for some fun and games like an adult flag football league. In addition, he’s a repeat participant (and a member of the competitor board) for the Wall Street Decathalon/Wall Street’s Best Athlete competition which, since its 2009 launch has raised more than $6 million for Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigator’s Consortium (POETIC).
In retrospect, what’s the advice Bennett would give to future Butler graduates? “I wish I had known more about the entirety of the financial services world and the numerous opportunities it holds. I’m an advocate for more knowledge; knowledge equals power and better decisions. It’s unfortunate if doors are shut when a student doesn’t know what is out there . . . doesn’t realize how banks work, the different elements of the financial sector; when they don’t realize the skill sets they should hone or who they should be networking with to give themselves the best chance to succeed.”