Oct. 18, 2010
Renee DeGross Valdes, 404-413-1353
ATLANTA – Working on Wall Street seemed like a dream for a group of GSU business students, many whom had never been there before.
But working with a highly competitive New York-based internship pairing organization – Sponsors for Educational Opportunity – made it a reality. Rising seniors Chris Cameron, Anwer Gheddai, Terrence Adams and Fred Mbari left Atlanta for summer internships on Wall Street. Taneesha Peoples, who landed in a Boston internship, became the first woman from GSU to be accepted into the SEO program.
It was the most intense 10 weeks of my life,” said Gheddai, a finance and economics major and native of Nigeria.
SEO recruits minority students for paid summer positions on Wall Street. The organization first began recruiting from GSU just in the last several years. Last summer, it recruited its biggest group yet with the five students who were accepted into the program.
SEO first came to GSU as a result of Terrance Rogers, who graduated last May but spent several summers with the program. Rogers worked to get his fellow finance and other business students from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business prepared to land slots with SEO.
Not every student makes it into the program and not every student gets an internship through SEO.
"I came to value my education a lot more because you get to Wall Street and 90 percent of the interns at these financial institutions come from Ivy League schools,” Gheddai said.
He added, “I met the CEO of J.P. Morgan, one of the most influential people in the world as a result of this program. By him making himself available shows you how that level of management values this program and helps minorities break into this industry.”
Gheddai and the others spent countless Saturdays being mentored and prepped for SEO by program mentors Rogers and Mbari, who conducted resume critique workshops and interview practice sessions with the participants to prep them for SEO and Wall Street.
Cameron, a native of Decatur, Ga., and entrepreneur since the age of 8, was up to the challenge. He got his start selling candy door-to-door and later launched his own custom shoe business (www.tsunamicustom.com). Cameron landed in a summer internship with Swiss banking giant UBS in sales and trading.
“It was intense,” said Cameron, a managerial sciences major. “The program exposed me to a lot of different people and networking opportunities.”
For the students, they hoped the program would lead to job possibilities. Nearly all have already received post graduation job offers in one of the most challenging economies in decades.
“SEO was the greatest experience,” said Peoples, a finance major who landed a job at EMC in Boston upon graduation this May. “Now I have a Plan A and it’s an exciting feeling. Had I not done SEO, I never would have broadened my horizons.”