The New Krannert Currency

Student and alumni networks bring Wall Street to West Lafayette

One March night in 2014 at Del Frisco’s in Manhattan, a group of Wall Street and finance professionals who once called Purdue home, along with another Krannert student and I, met to discuss our shared commitment to increasing Purdue’s brand on Wall Street. After six months of hard work, the newly minted “Purdue Finance Academy” was in the process of being launched.

As a rising sophomore interested in an investment banking career, I had reached out to several Krannert grads for a few informational interviews. Unfortunately I continued to hear a common refrain, “Krannert produces great analytical professionals sought the world over, but Wall Street is looking elsewhere.”

Lack of bank interest at our career fairs and a disjointed alumni apparatus for those who had broken into the rarified halls of Wall Street and high finance made my dream a long shot.

Youthful hope springs eternal, though, and I decided to try to beat the odds.

In my conversations with alumni, a program called “Training the Street” kept getting mentioned. I learned that it was a premier training program for incoming analysts at banks and Fortune 500 companies and for university students preparing for internships. I researched the possibility of bringing the program to campus by the start of my sophomore year.

Carrying this initially underdeveloped idea, I reached out to one of the young alumni with whom I had forged a strong connection, Blake Saunders, an associate at a boutique investment firm in Manhattan. He agreed with the need for more institutional support, and sought to help me convince key decision makers within Krannert of the idea’s merit.

Suddenly, the idea had evolved into an intensive, three-day workshop: one day of interactive sessions facilitated by four Krannert-educated finance professionals followed by two days of the Training the Street workshop.

After a process that saw over 120 applicants, 40 of Purdue’s top students participated in the opportunity in fall 2013 to hear about various paths from Krannert to Wall Street, as well as stories and advice from those who are there. Training the Street provided an excellent grounding in valuation techniques and Excel modeling, including two workbooks that allowed students to take detailed notes for future practice. The program was a great success, but I knew that without continued commitment, it could become a one-time event.

That’s when I met Sam McCartney.

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