Archive for March, 2012

Houston, city of dreams

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I used to be a real snob about Houston. When you live in New Orleans, it’s easy to be a snob about other cities. We have a lot going for us in terms of quality of life and culture. But I don’t have to tell you Tulanians that! Anyway, I’ve visited Houston so many times over the last three years to call on employers, and this repeated exposure to the people, places and potential jobs in Houston has engendered a genuine affection and appreciation for the city that I never thought I could have. I’d like to share some of that love with you now.

The job market in Houston is hands-down competitive. You can make good money there, and when compared with the reasonable cost of living, it makes good sense financially. If you are involved in our Energy programs, there are few other places you’d rather be to start out or continue your career than the undisputable hub of the Energy business. Another great place for you is Chicago–but more on that after my trip there next week! There are a great many other young people starting out their careers in the Houston area, and as a result, there is a fun social atmosphere. The city is not short on leisure and cultural activities. The entertainment, nightlife, outdoor activities and sports offerings are prime. It also boasts widely varying character and appeal in its many residential areas throughout the metro area. Highrise downtown? Got ‘em. Funky hipster neighborhoods? Check. Historic, diverse, family-oriented, tree-lined streets… check, check, check and yep!

And then, there are the people. The folks I meet with in Houston are not like the folks I meet anywhere else in the professional world. When building out my Houston itineraries, I schedule at least one hour for each discussion. That’s because people in Houston are friendly, and they like to take the time to talk and get to know you. Perhaps it is our shared affiliation with New Orleans and Tulane in some cases, but in any case, folks in Houston don’t seem too crunched by the pressures of their executive-level jobs in major banks, financial institutions or oil companies to take the time for a courteous, enjoyable professional dialogue. Work/life balance seems to be the general mantra. If they never wanted to leave the desk for fun or family time, they would have chosen New York.

Houston is sprawling, and its major highways are congested throughout the day. Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a daily commute, it’s going to be a long one. But many people simply avoid it by identifying a cozy residential area near their place of business.  

Here is a short list of companies with whom I met on recent visits and who have committed to posting great Houston-area jobs on Freeman Link https://freeman-tulane-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php 

Noble Energy

DGD Suez

Tudor Pickering Holt

JP Morgan Chase Sales & Trading

Citi Sales & Trading

Citi Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and Risk Groups (Global Energy)

Shell

BVA Group (Valuation firm)

ION Energy (Commodities brokerage)

Hewlett Packard


The banking capital of the south

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Charlotte, North Carolina — February 2012

Known as “the Queen City,” Charlotte is the 17th largest city in the United States and the second largest banking capital in the United States, after New York. It is home to Bank of America, the second largest financial institution in the country based on assets, as well as Wells Fargo–which purchased the Charlotte-based banking jugernaut Wachovia in 2008 and made Charlotte its East Coast headquarters.

Needless to say, in addition to loads of Southern charm, Charlotte boasts a number of opportunities in banking. Wells Fargo Secruities — the investment banking arm of Wells Fargo — is housed in the sprawling, Wells Fargo Plaza, which occupies three major buildings in “Uptown,” as Charlotteans insist on calling their downtown area (very confusing!).

The home of the Nascar Hall of Fame, Charlotte also boasts both an NFL (Panthers) team and an NBA team (Bobcats).

All of the folks I met with who work for Bank of America seem to be perpetually afraid for their jobs, given all the turmoil in the European economy and the overall state of the financial business in America these last few years. The bank, nonetheless, is hiring–particularly for experienced-hire positions in the Charlotte office.

Wells Fargo Securities assured me they would post their summer and full-time investment banking analysts rolls with us in the fall — both for investment banking and sales & trading. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, do a little research on Charlotte. It really is an energetic, lovely city with everything a young professional could ask for in a place to live and begin your career.

I even had an opportunity to stop by a local joint featured on my favorite Food Network program, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” It most certainly falls in the “Dive” category, although technically, it is a drive-in. B-B-Q King is its name, and sloppy delicious and not-so-nutricious Carolina bar-b-que is its game. I ordered the chicken I had seen Guy Fieri tear into with such delight on the show. An order of fried chicken–perfectly fried, tender, crispy and juicy, fried to perfection and THEN, dunked into a vat of spicy, vinegary Carolina bar-b-que sauce. Although I recommend it highly, I would specify trying it on your way OUT of town, rather than on your way to an interview! It is conveniently located very near the airport, so you can make it your last stop before taking off. Warning: You will be covered from finger tips to elbows in juicy, saucy goodness! As the very friendly car-hop informed me, there is a nice, clean restroom on site for hand washing after the carnage. But the tasty aroma lingers for hours no matter how hard you scrub.

We have several alumni in the mentor network on Freeman Link whom you can access for further assistance in investigating banking careers in Charlotte.



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