As a Junior Finance major at SMU, I have recently been in the throws of formal summer internship recruitment. Daily, sometimes twice daily, Banks held information sessions and formal recruitment fairs. “Thank-you-notes” became routine, phone interviews were second nature, and the employees at the local dry-cleaners even knew me by name.

I don’t mean to overwhelm anyone reading this. College, especially at Southern Methodist University, will be four – hopefully only four – of the most fun years of your life. There will come a time, however, when you have to put on your Sunday best, pack a fancy folder full of resumes, and awkwardly introduce yourself to well-versed professionals who don’t have the slightest idea who you are. This can be a daunting process when you sit back and take it in for the first time. I know when I came to SMU as a freshman from Greenville, South Carolina, thoughts of future internships and permanent job offers never crossed my mind. All I could focus on was how to make my dorm room better than everyone else on my floor! Times have changed and as first semester Junior year rolled around, I was deep in the throws of formal preparation.

As embarrassing as this is to write, I honestly did not know how to tie my own tie coming in to SMU. I didn’t own my own suit. I didn’t even have a formal, presentable resume to hand to potential employers. I knew I had to make a full-fledged effort to get my act together, so naturally I visited out university Career Center. We prepped for interviews – phone, in person, and via Skype. We monotonously scanned every letter of every line in my resume until I began to refer to it as a piece of art. I bought two suits and began to frequent the local barbershop. Replacing the flowing, red locks with a short, professional dew was slightly devastating at first, but I’ve grown to appreciate the business look.

It would take multiple pages to summarize all the Career Center has done to hold my hand throughout the process. Now, as a second semester Junior, I am proud to say I have signed as a Summer Investment Banking Analyst with Citi Group in Houston, TX. Never in a million years would I have envisioned so much success. That is, until I immersed myself in the driven, passionate culture found in SMU’s students, faculty, and alumni who all played such an integral part in my personal and career development. It’s truly amazing what can happen when you find yourself in the right environment around like-minded, success-oriented individuals. SMU has given me the tools to succeed going forward, and I can’t wait to see where they take me.

By Whit Rasmussen