Bowen Wang ’14 knew he wanted to attend a small liberal arts college where students could be involved and professors were approachable. He didn’t mind traveling the 7,000 miles from his native Qingdao, China to Geneva, N.Y. to make it happen.
“From an academic standpoint, a liberal arts education can help you to advance your writing and communication skills,” Wang says. “At Hobart and William Smith, I often worked in small groups and knew all my classmates, and I had regular interaction with my professors who offered feedback.”
At HWS, he took classes ranging from sociology to masculinity studies to environmental studies, but it was mathematics that clicked. His future became clearer once he discovered the wonders of financial derivatives on the trading floor at the Bank of China. The internship inspired him to take more math courses to lean the theory behind derivative models-and laid the foundation for even more ambitions internships. Today, Wang works at J.P. Morgan’s global headquarters in New York City, where he is being trained on the high yield credit market risk management desk.
Inspired by his courses and internship experiences, Wang began to look for more insights into the financial industry, joining the three-day NYC Finance Experience organized by HWS. There he reconnected with Brooke Parish ’84, who he had previously met on campus. The connection turned into an internship at Parish’s hedge fund, Oakum Bay Capital, where Wang conducted research and built models for various investments.
Wang also took advantage of an opportunity to study abroad in Brussels, Belgium for a semester. While in Brussels, Wang didn’t take a single mathematics or economics course. Instead he learned about art history and joined field trips to museums, galleries and churches in Europe. “It is increasingly important now to have a global perspective, and I think this unique experience helped me to see things differently,” he says.
Wang learned to network all over the world, building professional connections on three continents. In Brussels, he tapped into a contact at KPMG Advisory and landed another internship. “HWS Career Services helped me build my networking skills, which are absolutely important from a career standpoint,” he says.
After meeting HWS alums from J.P. Morgan, Wang was inspired to apply for an internship-one of the most competitive and rigorous in the U.S. as a summer analyst. In this position, he worked in the firm’s investment banking division, dealing with everything from high yield bonds to credit derivatives and presenting market and risk updates at senior management meetings.
Wang credits his experiences at HWS in leading him to his current position at J.P. Morgan Chase. “Compared to finance majors at other schools, I think I was better able to see situations from different perspectives and use my critical thinking skills to solve problems. The interdisciplinary and liberal arts approach helped build up not only my career, but also my life. HWS really helped me pursue my goals.”