Drew U Student Profile: Joseph Obonyo C’22

The eager sophomore on his three keys to success.

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Sophomore Joseph Obonyo, an economics major, had been looking forward to the Wall Street Semester ever since he found out about Drew.
“Now that I’ve done the Wall Street Semester and made connections, I can pursue internships that can help me land a position I dream about.”

I was used to waking up and being in class 10 minutes later. For the Wall Street Semester, I was waking up at 5:30 a.m. and taking the train to New York City from Madison, spending the day in the city, and then taking the train back and doing my homework and reading up on relevant news to be prepared for the next day.

The Wall Street Semester is really a class about financial markets. In the afternoons we’d hear from industry professionals and alumni who had jobs related to that day’s material. We got to hear not just about their jobs but how they got there. We heard from companies I never even dreamed of being near. Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange—these are huge names to be around. It was eye opening and inspiring. Just learning how these places operate—these companies have the best resources you could find anywhere, and we’re getting to pick their brains.

My dream is to work at a place like that. From the feedback I’ve received, those are clearly the best places for me to maximize my potential, and now that I’ve done the Wall Street Semester early in my academic career and made these connections, I can pursue internships that can help me land a position I dream about.

I learned three key things about what it will take to succeed. One, ambition, because a lot of these people came from Drew and made it really big through their attitude and hard work. Two, aptitude for learning by myself, making sure that I’m always up on current news every day. Three, knowledge gained by real-life experiences, because it’s hard to know how things are done in the industry when you just read things on the internet.

I’m looking forward to some of the new majors in the business departmentIt’s awesome to see they’re actively following up on feedback from students about what we want more of in the classroom.

There are several professors here that I’m really close to. We all work to set my path and move forward based on what I want to ultimately do in my career. There’ve been times when I was trying to plan my future courses and there have been courses maybe I wasn’t feeling optimistic about, but the professors reassured me it’d be a good way to improve my overall skills. Sometimes you need that, just someone to tell you, “Even though you can’t see it now, this is going to help you.” And they haven’t steered me wrong.

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