KOKOMO, Ind. – It’s hard to determine if a career is the right fit from reading about it in a textbook.
Seeing it in person is a different story — and may make a difference for a student trying to decide what to do after college.
About a dozen Indiana University Kokomo students, along with three faculty members, experienced an up-close look at potential jobs in finance and banking, with a tour of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The one-day trip was offered as part of the Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) program. The program’s goal is to provide students chances to connect with people and participate in real-world experiences.
For Adam Mitchell, a senior finance and management major, it provided an idea of what careers might interest him, and a push to seek an internship.
“I could see myself working at the federal reserve. It would be a lot of fun,” he said. “It would be an interesting job handling the nation’s currency. I was hesitant to look for an internship before, but this has me more solidified in what I want to do, to look for those opportunities.”
Expanded career opportunities were just one of the goals for the one-day trip, led by Xiaoqiong Crystal Wang, associate professor of finance; Josephine Dibie, lecturer in business, and Olga Korne, lecturer in accounting.
“It really connects what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world application,” said Dibie. “What they’ve learned isn’t just theory, it’s actually being done. It’s nice when you meet the people who work in these fields, so you know what they do, and you know it’s real, and that it effects our economy.”
During the day, students saw a live trading session at the Chicago Board of Trade, which is a commodity exchange where both agricultural and financial contracts are traded. They also talked to an employee of the federal reserve, which is the country’s central banking system.
That was one of the most informative parts of the day for Dalea Hubenthal.
“It’s good to learn from people who are working in the fields that interest you,” the Logansport resident said. “It was a good chance to get out into the real world and see what people do.”
It also was an opportunity to visit a large city, said Andrew de Bie, because many of them will take jobs in places like Indianapolis and Chicago.
“Getting these kinds of experiences, going to the big city, seeing these big-name employers, I can take away a lot and feel more prepared to take on the real world,” he said. “If you get a job in Chicago and you’ve never been there before, it’s going to be a hard transition.”
The day also allowed them to meet people who could be the connection they need to get a foot in the door for an internship or job, Mitchell added — especially if they made sure to ask questions.
In addition to the board of trade and federal reserve, students ate Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and visited the iconic Cloud Gate public sculpture at Millennium Park.
The cultural aspect is also an important part of the day, Dibie said.
“Just getting out of your own environment is a good thing,” she added. “You see different cultures, which is part of learning. It opens your eyes when you see new places and new things.”
The KEY program offers authentic learning experiences for students, starting with a supportive freshman learning community, and including travel, internships, connecting with people who work in their field, researching with faculty, and more.
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.