Not everyone comes to college with their career mapped out.
Even Joyce Wang ’23, who has served as president of the Student Government Association, vice president of leadership development for Scholars of Finance, president of the Babson Finance Association (BFA), and an assistant at the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance.
Despite her many leadership roles focusing on finance, Wang said, she wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do after graduation in her early days at Babson.
“People always assume that because of my success and involvement in finance, I came in with a strong finance background and started planning my finance journey very early on, but I am telling you now, that was not the case,” Wang said. “Coming into Babson, I actually had no clue what I wanted to do—just business.”
Wang said it was her time at Babson and her experience participating in and later facilitating the Students Prepared Educated and Ready (SPEAR) Investment Banking program that gave her the guidance she needed.
“Through SPEAR, I was able to gain so much. I became more confident in myself as a person, and started to truly believe in my skills and capabilities,” Wang said. “This experience has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done because I was able to impact more than just my personal career success. I had students tell me that SPEAR was their favorite part of the week, and their best experience at Babson. I saw the impacts that it was having on their lives.”
The SPEAR Investment Banking program, started by Tyson Corner ’22 in the spring of 2021, is a 13-week, student-run program specifically designed to improve the chances of a student receiving an internship offer in investment banking. Investment banking is one of the most competitive finance industries, with a less than 1% acceptance rate. Most investment bankers earn a $100,000 base salary in their first year on the job, with bonuses boosting their earnings even higher.
Wang, part of the first cohort of SPEAR Investment Banking, applied for the program in the spring of her second year at Babson.
“I realized that if I wanted to do banking, I better hurry up because there was a lot of work to do,” Wang said. “Within that one spring semester, I was accepted into SPEAR, joined BFA, applied to the Babson College Fund and leveraged all of these achievements in interviews, which ultimately led to getting internship offers.”
She and the other students in the first SPEAR program all were accepted to internships at investment banking institutions. Students involved in SPEAR have since landed internships at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Evercore, Piper Sandler, Jefferies, Stifel, and more. Wang received a full-time return offer from her internship, and will be working at Piper Sandler as an investment banking analyst after Commencement.
Her accomplishments, however, didn’t prevent her from feeling stress, worry, and self-doubt throughout her journey. Wang sought to normalize those feelings during a speech she gave during Babson’s First-Year Senior Retreat in October, an outing where the senior leader delivers a speech meant to help new students consider their goals and paths at Babson.
“While some things look effortless from the outside; it takes hard, smart, and consistent work; which is the part that people do not always see. But, beneath the hard work was also self-doubt and fear,” Wang told first-year students. “This is completely normal. It happens more than you know; it is the truth for me and it is the truth for a lot of people.”
Enrolling in SPEAR helped her with that self-doubt, Wang said.
“This program has by far been my favorite experience at Babson, because it allowed me to actualize my goals personally and professionally,” Wang said. She encourages any student interested in investment banking to apply.
“This program has by far been my favorite experience at Babson, because it allowed me to actualize my goals personally and professionally.”
Joyce Wang ’23 on the Students Prepared Educated and Ready (SPEAR) Investment Banking program
She also became a facilitator after completing SPEAR, which was just as pivotal.
“As I completed the program, I found myself loving the community and wanting to give back and continue the legacy of SPEAR,” Wang said. “It gave me the opportunity to provide that same gift to other motivated students. Watching them achieve their goals has been even more rewarding than achieving my own.”
And, anyone worried about taking on a challenge?
“Step outside of your comfort zone, push yourself to do the impossible, but most importantly, support yourself and be kind to yourself along the way,” Wang said. “Think about it this way: to feel doubt and fear is a privilege. It means that we are constantly being faced with opportunities that challenge us; opportunities that we know will push us to greater heights.”