For Spencer Hughes, GABELLI ’19, Fordham’s internship program and New York City location helped him secure a full-time job at Santander right after he graduated.
“I personally think that getting involved with internships as early as possible was the largest factor that allowed me to get to my current position,” he said. “I began interning at Santander after sophomore year, and I never really stopped there once I got my foot in the door. It put me in a much better spot than other candidates once a full-time offer was available.”
As a student at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business, Hughes majored in finance with a minor in economics. He was a member of the Student Managed Investment Fund group, about two dozen junior and senior finance majors who work together to invest $1 million of the University’s endowment. He also participated in the Fordham Finance Society, the Investment Banking Society, and played intramural sports. After interning with Santander Bank’s corporate and investment banking team the summer after his sophomore year, Hughes moved to the debt capital management team for an internship during his senior year, which led to a full-time position.
What are some of the reasons why you decided to attend Fordham
Apart from the great campus, the location of Fordham is what really drew me to the school. Being in New York City is a really great aspect of Fordham. While it offers all the positives of having [that traditional]campus [feel], it also offers all the benefits of a city school. This opens a ton of doors from a career perspective and adds a benefit to Fordham that almost no other school can offer.
What do you think you got at Fordham that you couldn’t have gotten elsewhere?
The two greatest aspects of Fordham that I’ve seen thus far are, once again, its location but also the Fordham network. Fordham gives students the opportunity to intern in New York City during the school year, which is something that very few schools are able to offer. Additionally, students can easily benefit from a Fordham network that is very willing to help out current students. For other schools, this just isn’t possible, but Fordham’s location and the school’s commitment to getting students involved with the alumni network as early as possible are two great strengths of Fordham.
Did you take any courses or have any experiences that helped put you on your current path?
Going into Fordham, I knew I was likely going to pursue a career in finance. While the coursework early on didn’t cater to my major, I found that some of the clubs I joined provided some really valuable insight into what a career in finance looked like, which I personally found more helpful than the early coursework when trying to decide what path to pursue. Clubs like the Finance Society and the Investment Banking Society were really helpful for me, especially as an undergraduate, since they offered both a view into what that career path looks like, as well as what is required to succeed.
In addition to Fordham’s clubs and coursework, getting involved with internships as early as possible was the largest factor that allowed me to get to my current position. To the extent possible, I think that is something that all students should seek out, especially in the finance area, because it is a really great way to get an advantage over students from other schools.
Who is the Fordham professor or person you admire the most, and why?
One of the most important classes I took at Fordham was my first finance class, Financial Management, with Professor [Kevin] Mirabile. Anyone who has taken [a course with]Professor Mirabile knows how knowledgeable he is, so having him for an introductory finance class was super helpful, since he was able to clearly explain the basic building blocks of finance, while also showing us what the real-world application of those lessons are. He’s also been extremely successful himself in the finance world, and has great insight on the different opportunities that are available to finance students. I took a few other classes with him, and no matter what class I took with him, I always found that he was able to clearly relate the lessons in class to what really goes on in the finance world, which made his classes much more valuable.
Can you paint us a picture of your current responsibilities? What do you hope to accomplish, personally or professionally?
I currently worked for Santander Investment Securities as an analyst for the U.S. debt capital markets team. In short, we’re responsible for bringing our clients to the capital markets to issue debt whenever there is a need or opportunity for them to do so. This includes both pitching ideas to our clients to try to identify those opportunities that match the client’s interests, as well as executing the deals when they decide to come forward with a bond offering.
In terms of what I hope to accomplish, I am still figuring much of that out, but I’ve definitely enjoyed my time at Santander with the DCM team and hope to continue working my way up there.
What are you optimistic about?
From a career perspective, two important aspects that I’ve focused on during my short time working postgrad are that my role gives me valuable work and that I have a good team around me to work with. In my current position, I’ve been lucky enough where both of those boxes are checked, and I think that’s something that all students should seek out. It’s obviously very difficult and probably unrealistic to plan out your career at a young age, but if the role offers valuable work to you and you’re surrounded by a team that provides a good work environment, then I only see reasons to be optimistic about your role, whatever field that may be in.
Anything else we should know about you, your plans, or your Fordham connection?
I’m always happy to chat with students whatever their interests may be. The Fordham network is a strong one and is a tool that can really help current Fordham students compete with students from other schools, particularly in finance.