Nick Palmer ’17 guides peers towards success in the financial industry

Mamta Badlani, Staff Writer

In a story not totally out of the ordinary for University students, Nick Palmer ’17 spent the last two summers interning for a prestigious financial firm and has since secured a job with the company. His story is unique in that he is using his experiences to help students who want to accomplish similar goals. This semester, Palmer started a program called “Practical Economics & Finance” as a compilation of weekly sessions meant to provide students with a background for job interviews in the finance industry.

Palmer’s motivation in preparing other students for the financial industry’s competitive recruiting process is derived from his own reflection of how much he has gained from going through the process.

“If during my sophomore year when I was going through the finance recruiting process I had known even half of what I know now, the process would have been so much easier,” Palmer said.

Palmer’s interest in economics initiated in Professor of Economics Marcellus Andrews’ class, ECON 103: Economic Principles and Problems.

“What fascinated me about the discipline was the way that economic theory can help explain the nuances of interactions, decision making, and policy. As my passion for economics continued to grow, I found myself particularly interested in how economic theory manifests itself in financial markets, which nudged me toward working in the industry,” Palmer said.

Sessions are composed of two parts: an overview of the day’s news in the financial markets and a planned lecture topic.

“I work hard to make sure that my lectures flow nicely and that it’s not too basic or advanced of material for the students. Other times I invite some of my peers who have had internship experiences in different parts of financial services to contribute to our discussions and provide their perspective,” Palmer said.

In a recent session, Palmer had an all-female panel discuss their internship experiences in various fields of finance, ranging from investment banking to wealth management.

“Nick has really gone the extra mile in helping undergrads prepare for professional experiences in the finance industry. His course is unique because it’s totally voluntary–everyone is there because they want to be,” Monica Driscoll ’18 said.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot of practical knowledge from Nick’s course and his help, and I’m sure it’s had an impact on many students,” Driscoll said.

The sessions serve to provide students with a greater appreciation for economics and the relevance of economic theory, while improving students’ methods of studying and preparing for careers in finance. From these sessions, students draw skills and a foundation for market analysis that may be applied towards successful internship and employment opportunities.

“I was interested in attending because I hope to get an internship on Wall Street in sales and trading. These internships are potential pipelines to a post-graduate career, so the interviews are very competitive, and are taken very seriously,” Kerri Harner ’18 said.

“As an economics major, I haven’t had as much experience with financial technicals, and Nick’s class presented the perfect opportunity to supplement my own studying and learn from someone who has been through the process,” Harner said.

As a student himself, Palmer acknowledges that many of his attendees have other commitments and obligations; he expresses that students who attend can stay for 20 minutes or the full session, depending on what works with their schedules. Attendance for the group has surpassed Palmer’s original expectations.

“I first envisioned the group as 10-15 extremely dedicated students, but the interest has far exceeded my expectations. We routinely have a group of 40-50, all of whom are motivated, engaged, and excited to learn more. Every week we have a few new students who join as word continues to get out. I’m thrilled to be able to reach this many students,” Palmer said.

“I am constantly energized and motivated by the enthusiasm of the students who come to the sessions. It’s encouraging to me to see so many students who really want to learn and be successful. I also have an even deeper appreciation for professors now that I know what it’s like to struggle through a lesson plan, field questions, and maintain a productive class environment!”

“He really knows his stuff, and he’s a great teacher. He is genuinely invested in the class’s learning, and our success with interviews in the coming months. I really appreciate what he’s doing for other Bucknellians. I hope that next year I’ll be able to carry on the legacy,” Harner said.

The group meets at 9 p.m on Tuesday nights and is open to all students regardless of major or class year.

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