How Wabash Students Kept Busy Over Break
by Allie Kirkman
February 10, 2021
This winter break has proven, once again, that no one outworks a Wabash man.
Nearly 200 students served in a meaningful and constructive professional experience over the recess, including externships, engaging prospective students and earning course credits and certifications.
In early November, the Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE) invited all students to apply to earn a certificate or training in various topics that would help their career prospects no matter what field of study they were in. These virtual program opportunities – ranging in duration and topic, from coding to data analytics – were free to students and completely funded by the CIBE.
“Having the intensives and experiential learning opportunities being funded has been a game-changer,” said Roland Morin, Associate Dean of Professional Development. “The fact that we are taking students with a great liberal arts education from Wabash, adding a certification, or work experience in a field has allowed our students to be at top of hiring lists.”
Meet some of the Little Giants who took advantage of opportunities and kept busy over break.
Ali Hakim ’22
Hakim, a financial economics major from La Porte, completed an internship with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Coulter Tran Agency, an externship with Driehaus Capital Management LLC and earned a certificate in data analytics from the University of Michigan over the winter recess.
“I came to the College as part of the Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program (WLAIP) group, and right out of the gate, freshman year, Career Services told us, ‘Come early, come often,’” Hakim said. “We’re encouraged to take advantage of any work opportunity we can and to make the most out of it, and that’s what I am doing.”
With Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, Hakim spent seven weeks working in the office, learning the “front and back-ends of insurance,” with a focus on marketing and sales. He had the opportunity to create informational flyers and managed the social media accounts for the new independently owned branch, among other duties.
Driehaus Capital Management LLC is a privately-held investment management firm that manages global, emerging markets, U.S. growth equity and alternative investment strategies.
During his virtual, three-day externship with the company, Hakim studied markets, earnings reports, trading philosophies, and investment strategies. He also learned about portfolio management from Wabash alumni Chad Cleaver ’00, Sam Borrelli ’07 and Shengxuan Shao ’19.
“There's a very different aspect to the real-world application of investment versus the economic,” Hakim said. “Getting to read through earning reports, learn about emerging markets, and watch them work was very eye-opening for me.”
Andrew Gonczarow ’22 and Kai Warren ’24
Gonczarow and Warren were among a group of students who worked for Admissions and led multiple campus tours over break.
“In high school, I wasn’t entirely sure about coming to this college, which is funny now because I’m Mr. Wabash,” said Gonczarow, an economics major and new student orientation manager from Crawfordsville. “The first day of orientation, when I met the student leader, I remember he was someone I could look up to as a role model, who really cared, and was there to help. I want to be the same for incoming students, and I get to do that during tours.”
Warren, a history major and enrollment ambassador, said he led more than a dozen tours.
“Working as a tour guide gives me a chance to talk about the place I love,” he said. “My dad (Mike Warren, senior associate director of Alumni and Parent Relations) graduated from Wabash, coached, and works here currently. I’ve been around Wabash all my life and I’ve seen what it does to people and all the great things that can happen.”
Benjamin Bullock ’23
Bullock, an international student from Dudley, England, who’s studying history and music, completed two online intellectual property law courses with the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in five weeks.
“I mentioned to Roland before the break that I want to go to law school and he asked about my areas of interest. I told him I had been talking to some alumni and am interested in IP,” Bullock said. “Shortly after that, he got me all set up and ready to take the courses.”
Bullock said he was thankful that the CIBE covered the costs of the classes.
“There is no way I would have been able to do something like this if I didn’t have that support,” he said. “It provided good insight and if I do end up going to law school, it’s nice to have that head start and introduction to something I am genuinely interested in.”
Thomas Hansen ’23
Hansen, a rhetoric and composition major from Indianapolis, received a certification from the University of Maryland in Agile Project Management.
Over the four weeks, he learned about time management, meeting deadlines, defining and achieving goals, and leading teams effectively.
“I enjoyed learning about something not often taught in a traditional college course,” Hansen said. “I felt connected to ‘real life’ experiences. It exposed me to skills that I will use in my everyday job.
“I quickly saw that project management is used in nearly all successful companies. Once I saw the opportunity in project management, I took advantage of the opportunity to get better by sharpening my business skills,” he said. “My long-term goal is to get into consulting once I graduate. Earning this certification felt like a step closer to achieving my goals.”
The hard work now leads to great outcomes down the road.
“Being able to help a student earn a certification in Data Analytics or Project Management means that when they are applying for an internship or full-time job that they are going to stand out above applicants from other schools,” Morin said. “That leads to great outcomes for the student and the College.”
For example, the Class of 2020 had 73% of students securing their first destination – employment, graduate school, or service – before graduation, and six months after graduation that grew to 97.6%.
The national average at six-months for college graduates is 64%.
“It never ceases to amaze me,” Morin said, “what Wabash guys are willing to do to get ahead.”