Hampden-Sydney offers students unique pathways to pursue their passions beyond the Hill. Students have the extraordinary opportunity to broaden their horizons, gain invaluable experiences, explore diverse cultures, and become the Hampden-Sydney man they aspire to be. The first step in this journey is taken as students enter the gates and find their place within the brotherhood.
The brotherhood bond is one of the defining features of the College, benefiting both current students and alumni in their present and future endeavors. A significant way students foster this bond is by getting involved on campus. First-year students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones, and many upper-classmen serve as mentors, helping new students find their passions. This was the case in 2022 for economics and business major Elliot Williams ’25 when he met Jack Hilbert ’22, who currently works on the corporate client banking team at J.P. Morgan in New York City.
“Jack went above and beyond to support me in my interests,” Elliot said. “Thanks to his encouragement, I became involved in TigerFund and Phi Beta Lambda, ultimately serving as the analyst for TigerFund and the president of Phi Beta Lambda.”
Over the years, Elliot established a friendship with Hilbert, which led Elliot to reach out in the spring of 2023 seeking a referral for a 2024 internship. Hilbert, who wanted the best for Elliot, informed him about the Advancing Hispanic & Latinos Fellowship Program internship at J.P. Morgan in New York City and encouraged him to apply. Excited about this opportunity being available only to sophomores, Elliot wasted no time in submitting his application. After a series of rigorous interviews, he received an offer to become a Corporate Client Banking Fellow.
Like many students on campus, Elliot utilized the resources of the Ferguson Career Center throughout this opportunity. Upon being offered the internship, the Director of the Ferguson Career Center Stephanie Joynes informed Elliot about the Compass Program. The program offers students the chance to participate in a companion course that deepens their internship experience by providing opportunity for critical self-reflection as well as offering additional financial assistance to increase internship accessibility to all students. This summer alone, Compass provided $75,000 in funding to students participating in both an internship and the companion course.
“The Compass Program greatly enhanced my experience,” Elliot said. “It allowed me to reflect on my actions and consider how the experience aligned with my desired career path.”
Arriving in Queens near the end of June, Elliot dove into the world of banking, engaging in professional development activities and participating in bank training for the first three weeks. Elliot said that one of his most notable experiences involved collaborating with five other interns on a J.P. Morgan initiative to present business recommendations to Sunstate Bank, a Minority Depository Institution located in Miami.
“As a sophomore, it felt surreal to present business ideas to Sunstate’s executives,” Elliot exclaimed. “It was an important initiative for J.P. Morgan, and I really enjoyed working with the group.”
The following three weeks consisted of personal projects. Elliot worked on financial spreads and business overviews and presented his projects to several vice presidents, as well as his mentors — an analyst and an associate.
“One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was the knowledge I gained,” Elliot said. “I was able to pinpoint areas I enjoyed and discover my passions within the banking world.” Elliot mentioned that although stressful, he was thrilled to participate in high-level presentations and receive professional feedback from top executives at J.P. Morgan.
Along with discovering professional interests, Elliot also explored the big city. He enjoyed the lively atmosphere, art exhibits, food options, and opportunities to learn about and experience many cultures, including taking in Van Gogh's Cypress exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and indulging in Thai and Japanese cuisine.
“Much of this experience was made possible thanks to our incredible alumni network and the Compass Program,” Elliot said. “Our alumni network is one of the many special traits that sets us apart from other colleges and universities because our alumni are really invested in meeting you, knowing you, and helping you in any way they can.”
Elliot is determined to make the most of his opportunities to connect with alumni. While in New York, Elliot was able to meet and connect with several alumni like so many other students who venture beyond the gates. Elliot noted that he plans to return to New York City during the fall semester with Phi Beta Lambda and is thankful to the alumni who welcomed him to the city.
“As a student, I realized that it would be incredible to embark on this kind of adventure,” Elliot said. “And because of the Hampden-Sydney connections, I was able to experience my internship and enjoy it even more by making several new connections. Students should always make an effort to get to know each other and the alumni — that is where the true value of the Hampden-Sydney brotherhood lies.”