Planting a new Panther footprint for high-impact career advancement experiences, 20 undergraduate and graduate students recently set off for the inaugural launch of Panthers in Charlotte, a program of Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business supported by Truist, to meet with global fintech leaders and some of the hottest companies in the dynamic sector.
Students selected for the Panthers Immersion Programs (PIP) Charlotte cohort completed a series of training sessions and briefings designed to help them make the strongest impression during the immersive business meetings, networking events, and engagement opportunities with representatives from Ally Bank, AvidXchange, Bank of America, RevTech Labs, and Truist. Students also attended an alumni reception organized by the Georgia State Alumni Association.
“Panthers in Charlotte allowed me to access tremendous network opportunities in a brief amount of time,” said MS-QRAM student Hoto Kohoue, who is already a 2021 alumnus of the MS-DSA program. “I learned more about Charlotte's booming fintech industry through the Q&A sessions our cohort had with company representatives. Ranging from recent alumni to executives, we had great discussions with professionals, usually challenging to reach out to casually on LinkedIn.”
Selected from among 80 applicants who participated in a three-stage application and selection process, students in the first Panthers in Charlotte cohort are a talented and diverse group from undergraduate and graduate programs seeking career opportunities in finance, fintech, risk analysis, computer information systems, cybersecurity, data science and consulting.
Offered in partnership with the Georgia Fintech Academy, Panthers in Charlotte proactively market students for internships and full-time opportunities. The newest PIP cohort joins Panthers in the District, Panthers on Wall Street and Panthers in the Valley, which take students to Washington, D.C., New York City and Silicon Valley to build professional network connections and scout career opportunities.
“These valuable programs provide Georgia State students with immersive and experiential opportunities that accelerate their professional development, and have the potential to transform their careers,” said Jason Aldrich Ed.D., assistant dean for strategic partnerships and career advancement. “Importantly these experiences build the career strengths of our students, providing area employers access to top talent from one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States. Panthers Immersion Programs also connect students with Georgia State’ alumni in these cities, which often are ripe with opportunity.”
Fintech careers have become some of the most sought after as the burgeoning industry expands its workforce and seeks top talent.
“Connections and partnerships with the Robinson College of Business and the Georgia Fintech Academy help fintech companies not only fill their workforce needs, but gain access to the best, most highly trained, and best-prepared diverse talent for the industry,” said Tommy Marshall, executive director of the Georgia Fintech Academy.
GSU Georgia State offers a competitive fintech program with advanced courses that provide applied experience.
“The “Foundations of Fintech” course was unique from other classes because we solved real-world business problems working on the Toyota Financial Services - KINTO project. The program was the first time I could use the skills and knowledge I gained from my studies towards a company and a portion of my coursework,” said student Jaffer Saeed, an undergraduate with double majors in computer information systems and finance. “Blockchain is such a disruptive technology it could be incorporated in every industry and instantly improve its security and efficiency, and lower costs. This program has helped me gain a sense of direction on where I need to implement my efforts in fintech.”
Students participating in Panthers in Charlotte enjoyed a two-day tour, highlighted by a visit to the new Truist Innovation and Technology Center, where students engaged with Truist CEO and Robinson alumnus William H. “Bill” Rogers, Jr. (MBA ’86), and other senior leaders and staff members.
"As a Robinson alumna I am really excited to help students who, just like I did, are leveraging real-time experiences to grow their career prospects," said Mia Dantas (MS-DSA ’16), who secured a full-time position at Truist during her studies. "It's a thrill to give back, and also to see the amazing talent coming out of Georgia State. Five MS-DSA students who participated in Panthers in Charlotte interviewed for our data science accelerator internship, and as of now at least one will join us this summer. In addition to that, we have five more Robinson College students joining us from different majors."
Students shared that the program experience broadened their thinking not only about fintech careers, but also sharpened their understanding of today’s workplace and the mindset of leadership.
“I would like to give a big thank you to Tommy Marshall, Jason Aldrich, Lauren McDow, and Clare Morton - the four pillars of Panthers in Charlotte, and the entire team of Georgia Fintech Academy for initiating Panthers in Charlotte,” said MS-DSA student Megha Chovatiya.
“I am overwhelmed by the efforts, interest, and enthusiasm of the entire team in letting students know about the fast-growing fintech industry and growing career opportunities in Charlotte. The kind and warm hospitality we received from the companies, clearly indicated the strong relations Georgia Fintech Academy has maintained with them for many years,” said Chovatiya. “The thoughts and teachings of the C-suite members and leaders taught me one of the very important things – doing the right things at right time and loving the work you do. One common thing I found in the leaders was that they read some really good books.”
Next, the PIP program plans to visit a range of companies in Atlanta during the 2022-23 academic year, including fintech companies, to accelerate the exposure to industry for our diverse, talented students.