Yale SOM is almost 50% international students. My friends are from India, from South America, and a lot of Americans and Europeans, too. I think the fact that it’s a smaller community, about 300 students in each class, is really important. You get to know people. They get to know you. You don’t get lost in the crowd. There’s always something that you can connect over, whether it’s soccer or a hobby or just the fact that you’re on the same learning team. It just happens gradually over the first year, and the next thing you know, you’re part of a community.
A lot of the clubs at SOM are flexible in a way that lets students leave an impact. I’m a member of the Africa Business and Society Club. We recently led a trek to Africa. It was the first time the club had ever done anything like this. We were expecting maybe 10 students to sign up. We sent an email, saying, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing Ghana, Nigeria, and maybe one or two other East African countries.” More than 30 students signed up. It was a lot to manage, but it was great. We’ve passed on our notes to the Class of 2019 in hopes that they’ll make the trek an annual event.
I knew I wanted to go into investment banking. People were giving me career advice even before I came on campus and linking me up with alumni working in the field. When I got on campus, the Finance Club was very helpful right from day one. They drill you in the interviewing techniques you need. They help with both the technical prep and with the networking prep—which is actually very important in investment banking recruiting. Employers use networking events as a way to determine how you’ll fit into their culture and interact with clients.
I spent my summer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Financial Institutions group. It was a terrific internship. The people were great. I learned a lot, and I’ll be going back full-time.
My long-term career path includes going back to Africa. I’m taking two courses outside SOM to help prepare. One is a French language class at Yale College, since some countries in Africa are Anglophone and some are Francophone. I’m also taking a course called Renewable Energy Project Finance at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. It teaches you the entire lifecycle of raising capital and modeling a renewable energy power project. Power supply deficits across much of sub-Saharan Africa are an issue I would like to be able to address one day, so the course really resonates.