November is National Career Development Month, a time for students to focus on their future career choices. To learn about some of the career development opportunities at Case Western Reserve University, hear from fourth-year finance and economics student, Kenya Narvaez.
When Kenya Narvaez graduates in May 2023 from Case Western Reserve University, she will move directly to New York City to start her full-time position as an analyst in investment banking in the public finance group at Wells Fargo. The offer came this August after she finished a summer internship with the company.
Narvaez’s passion in the investment banking sector is one she said dates back to her first year at Case Western Reserve, where her career development journey began.
Narvaez entered the university as a political science major. In the spring of her first year, she opted into a finance course to increase her financial literacy.
“I found that finance is really everywhere and understanding it and the different careers you could pursue in it would really help me to achieve other goals,” she said. “One of my biggest goals as a political science major was working in government. Now going into public finance will really help me to understand government-funding sources and how it actually works in getting those funds allocated.”
Once realizing her strong interest in finance, Narvaez decided to switch her focus in her second year to major in finance and economics with a minor in public policy.
Throughout her time at Case Western Reserve, Narvaez points to the many career development opportunities she’s experienced––one of them attending the Wall Street Trek in her third year. During the trek, alumni who are working in companies on Wall Street shared their career journeys with a select group of undergraduates.
“One of the biggest things I took away from the whole experience is just how important networking is,” Narvaez said. “It really reinforced how much of an impact it could make throughout your career and professional development.”
Narvaez is also involved in student organizations on campus that have provided her experience in the finance field, such as the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC), where she is the current president.
“The Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative promotes diversity and inclusion, which is something that I really value,” she said. “I'm really happy to be working with everybody on campus, as well as my executive team to promote those values.”
Narvaez previously held other positions on the executive board, including vice president of finance, where she helped allocate funds to its 46 organizations on campus.
Another organization is the Weatherhead Fund, which is an undergraduate finance organization that manages a portion of the university's endowment and provides students with a strong understanding of how capital markets function in the real world.
“It helped me understand the financial career opportunities out there,” said Narvaez, who holds the vertical head position for the organization’s healthcare vertical.
One of the greatest career development resources on campus for undergraduates, Narvaez said, is the Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education Office (PGPEE). Narvaez began working in the office this semester with a focus on communications efforts and as a career consulting intern.
As an intern, she meets with students in the Career Lab to review resumes, assist with job and internship searches and more.
In her communications duties, Narvaez works on social media and content creation that’s shared through different platforms. These include posts on the @cwrucareers Instagram page, her “Tips from the Career Lab” article series on the PGPEE website, and through a bi-weekly newsletter in the exploratory career interest area, which serves students who are working on either narrowing down their career options or discovering new career paths. In the newsletter, Narvaez covers a variety of career and major areas with relation to events, internships and jobs, other employer engagement opportunities, and general career advice.
“Kenya is an incredibly thoughtful and reliable student worker,” said Justin Beckman, communications and events manager of Student Success, who works closely with Narvaez. “She’s been able to bring in her experiences from the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative and Weatherhead Fund to elevate our work, keep us informed, and ultimately share timely and helpful resources to advance students’ career development.”
A piece of advice Narvaez shares with undergraduates searching for career development opportunities is to reach out to the PGPEE Office.
“Before working there I didn’t realize how useful the office really is for guiding students from being a student to going into the workforce,” Narvaez said. “A lot of students should look further into the opportunities offered here.”