by Meiling Arounnarath
ATLANTA – On June 4, Derrick Waters will begin his summer internship, but it’s not just any internship – it’s the coveted J.P. Morgan summer internship.
Waters, a senior at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business, said he is both excited and relieved to have landed the position at one of the top financial firms known around the world.
And he credits GSU’s Career Management Center for playing such a major role in both his career and personal growth – from helping him perfect his résumé to teaching him proper etiquette at career fairs and giving him mock interviews.
“I can honestly say I wouldn’t have gotten all of these different opportunities without the help of the Career Management Center,” Waters said.
Making waves on Wall Street
He says he applied to the internship at J.P. Morgan because he felt it would be a great opportunity to work in the financial capital of the country and because of the firm’s prestige. He also thought it would look impressive on his résumé and would give him a lot of experience in the field.
Waters, who expects to graduate this December, marks the upcoming summer experience as a big stepping stone from one chapter of his life to the next.
“It is great to make the first step in the transition from student to professional,” Waters said. “I’m excited to be a part of such a large company and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”
As Waters will be representing the distinguished firm, he also wants to use this privilege as a chance to help others.
“My fellow students now look to me more as a person to give advice, which is also great,” he added. “I can’t wait to help people on a much larger scale in a whole new way.”
Pillars to live by
Working hard, grabbing opportunities and using every chance to learn something new are his pillars.
Waters said he hopes that he will perform well enough this summer to be accepted into J.P. Morgan’s Mortgage Banking Training Program. But if he doesn’t get accepted, then he will work hard to get a full-time offer at another financial firm.
He sees every moment as an opportunity. Even turning down his dream university was a decision well-made, he said.
“I felt having a degree from the well-known Robinson College of Business would be the best thing for my future. It is consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the country,” Waters said. “I turned down a couple of track and field scholarship offers from Clayton State and North Carolina University-Asheville.”
“I was also accepted into my dream school, North Carolina State University, and still decided to attend GSU,” he added. “I felt that the location of the college couldn’t be beat, and if I wanted to get a job in the field, then GSU was definitely the way to go.”
He says that the university’s staff has been “extremely helpful and have a genuine desire to see the students succeed,” from the professors to the career center and advisors.
But he’s also learned a lot from his peers. Waters said his time on the Portfolio Management Team was a very important experience because he learned so much from them.
Waters says he hasn’t just been handed these rare chances – he’s had to work hard for them.
“The news of me accepting the position has spread through to my colleagues fairly quickly and a lot of the students are treating me differently – almost like they look up to me,” he said. “Basically, I just want people to know that I’m a normal student and that anyone with a GSU education can receive an opportunity like mine if they work hard and go a little bit out of the way to get more opportunities for themselves.”
Meiling Arounnarath is a student in Robinson’s Flexible MBA program. She is pursuing a concentration in human resource management.