“Super days” : Economics students in New York City


Economics department bulletin board. *Photo by Will Milch ’19.*

Economics department bulletin board. *Photo by Will Milch ’19.*
Economics department bulletin board. Photo by Will Milch ’19.

It’s six a.m. on a chilly October morning but instead of being in bed, a group of dedicated Macalester Economics students are en route to New York City.

Each year, a group of junior Economics students flies out to NYC for interviews with the largest banking firms in the nation. Dubbed “super days,” these interview circuits represent some of the final hurdles in a process that for many with aspirations of banking and finance careers began in their sophomore year.

Haroon Bokhary ’16 explained that for many of his peers, the first step in this process begins with “getting your foot through the door.”

“Alumni are extremely important,” Bokhary said. “You talk to alumni and network with them and express interest in the firm, and if they like you then the alumni forward your resume. If [Human Resources] likes you, then you get a first round.”
Because Macalester Economics students do not enjoy the same benefits of recruiters coming to their campuses, as do Ivy League or large public universities, networking with alumni and securing this first round is a critical step.

Macalester students frequently find themselves toe-to-toe with Ivy League and large public university students throughout the process. However, if students clear the first rounds, which usually consist of interviews assessing behavioral ‘fit tests’ of candidates, then “it doesn’t matter what school you go to…You’re pretty much on equal footing [with other candidates],” Bokhary said.

As many as 100 to 200 prospective interns congregate for these super days, with back-to-back interviews beginning early in the morning straight through to the afternoon. Successful candidates usually hear back relatively soon after super days conclude.

For some students reflecting on the process, however, super days arrive near the conclusion of this journey and mostly serve to emphasize the high level of dedication and effort they have already put in to arrive at this point in their journey.

For Economics student Sunakshi Wadhwa ’17, “a good attitude and to have hunger” are main takeaways in a process that is “a marathon, not a sprint.”

Reaching out to alumni, completing multiple mock interviews and continually studying the detailed technical knowledge base necessary for these highly-coveted internships are all necessary to succeed in the process.

In a journey that depends on a team effort between students, professors and alumni, the student must be “a very motivated person who takes a lot of initiative to really make it happen,” Professor Joyce Minor said, an adjunct professor in the Economics department involved in connecting students to alumni.

Bokhary said, “You want a job, but life is so much more important than a job,” noting that there were moments of success throughout.

For students like Wadhwa, a career in investment banking would be something to “never get bored of.”

“No day would be the same, it’s challenging and interesting forever,” Wadhwa said.