Opening Doors to Careers in Chicago

Eller PDC Coach's Corner

By Pete Corrigan, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Coaching

Your Professional Development Center team is constantly working to expand the diversity of the employment options available to Eller students. Last week I visited Chicago, Illinois to strengthen relationships with existing Eller employers and to reach out to potential new employers. It was a jammed packed three days.

BMOHB_T2RBI started my employer visits at Belvedere Trading. Belvedere is a proprietary trading company that has become very active on top campuses as they look for  students with excellent math skills to immerse them in a sixteenth month trading training program. New hires will work in teams that are focused on different markets i.e. agriculture futures, equities, interest rates, etc. Entry level traders are paid a competitive salary along with six month bonuses. My second stop was BMO Harris Bank. Harris Bank was founded in 1882 and is a full service bank with a wide range of opportunities. I met with them two years ago and Eller students have been applying to their very competitive financial analyst internship position. We haven’t broken through as yet and I was excited to learn how we can better prepare our students. The recruiter told me that top candidates had to be able to articulate why they wanted to work specifically for the Harris Bank in Chicago. Third stop of the day was Factset. We have two alum working for Factset in Chicago and my meeting was facilitated by a third alum who works in their San Francisco office. Their office is on the 65th floor and has a great view of the city and Lake Michigan. Factset makes financial software and the two Eller students are involved with sales of the software to professionals in the financial industry. They also have MIS positions available. My first three stops were within walking distance of each other in Chicago’s financial district. The fourth stop was a 40 minute ride to Riverwoods which is a northwest suburb. Riverwoods is home to Discover Card Services and its three thousand plus employees. Discover hires students of all majors and this meeting was facilitated by an Eller alum that in just over a year has risen to a leadership role on their campus recruiting team.

Day two started with a visit to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The MDA is a non-profit that raises money to fight neurological diseases. Formerly headquartered in Tucson they have sold most of their Tucson headquarters and moved into a smaller space. Their new offices in downtown Chicago will soon be the home of many transplanted Tucson employees. They are looking for students with social media marketing skills and offer internship and some full time opportunities in Tucson and Chicago. I spent the afternoon at an alumni career fair at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus. There were alumni from about seven Chicago colleges present and the U of A as well. Candidates interacted with about 100 employers. This imagesevent was coordinated by the Windy City Wildcats alumni organization. My third stop was at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The “Merc” is the world’s largest futures exchange and over the last ten years has bought the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange. The new corporation is called CME Group. I met with the Director of the Board of Governors. He is a colleague from my days on the trading floor. The industry has changed completely as the majority of trading is done electronically. He introduced me to the Director of HR and we are looking forward to introducing Eller students to internship and full time opportunities at the CME. That night I went to dinner with the new president of the Windy City Wildcats alumni organization. She helps organize events and fun activities for Wildcats living in the Chicago area.

My last day I met an Eller alum who works for Ernst & Young in their auditing department. Her clientele are mostly financial services companies.  She met Ernst & Young at “Meet the Firms” at Eller and the Phoenix office facilitated her finding a job back home in Chicago. Her father was our original connection at the Harris Bank and he joined us for lunch. A great trip, hopefully several doors opened for Eller students. If anything I talked about interests you please visit a career coach for more details.