Cody Rivera ’17 has joined the ranks of Merrill Lynch’s competitive Practice Management Development Program, a salaried curriculum designed to train young professionals in the highest industry standards in wealth management. For Rivera, who was an architectural studies major with an anthropology minor, pursuing a career in finance is an opportunity to combine several passions.
“This is the job where I get to network, pitch ideas and come up with creative solutions to financial problems. I also can apply my skills and receive mentorship,” says Rivera, who will complete the program at Merrill Lynch’s office in Victor, N.Y.
In a competitive application process, Rivera underwent several interviews and developed a business proposal detailing how he would build a client base and generate revenue. In his proposal, Rivera cited connections he’s developed in leading the effort to implement the New York Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, a state-wide agricultural and sustainability initiative, at HWS— a project he hopes to continue working on in the future.
After completing the program, Rivera will assume a full-time wealth management position with the firm. While developing his professional goals, Rivera connected with several alums through the HWS community and the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education.
In addition to his professional interests, Rivera plans to use his knowledge to advise foster youth in careers in finance, a continuation of the community development work with foster youth that Rivera has conducted since high school.
“In my foster care experience, independent living programs all focused on clichéd jobs and clichéd career paths,” says Rivera, who grew up in foster care. “You don’t learn about starting your own business. You don’t learn how to think creatively or how to be an entrepreneur. That’s what I want to teach foster youth. I want to teach them they can create their own programs and businesses and that they can become their own leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Rivera’s multi-faceted goals reflect the new frontier of entrepreneurship, one that combines community consciousness with development, Rivera says.
“Architecture, foster youth advocacy and financial advising don’t seem like they connect, but I can find connecting ground to all. All of these areas have given me knowledge and skills that I can use to create more opportunity for people,” he says.