After meeting Goldman Sachs (GS) investment bankers, Hennel was determined to obtain
a marquee internship with GS. He spent two months preparing for the interviews – brushing
up on GS history, reviewing the company’s financial statements, and staying abreast
of the financial markets;
With the GS internship essentially an eight-week-long job interview, Hennel worked
hard to excel in the role, which paid off in an offer to join the firm’s New York
office fulltime as an investment management analyst.
“Hard work is required to achieve what we want in life,” said Hennel. “I set my objectives
to be accepted into the Pembroke program and to be chosen for the internship at Goldman
Sachs, and I made sure I worked hard to attain these objectives. In the end, all the
work paid off.”
Even with a long-held interest in the financial markets, Hennel believes it’s just
as important to be a well-rounded student and individual. In fact, the opportunity
to deepen his worldview through personal interactions made Illinois Wesleyan appealing
when he was considering colleges.
“I went to a small high school and benefited from being able to engage my teachers
on a personal level,” said the Elmhurst, Ill. native. “What really drew me to IWU
was the small class size. After visiting campus, I knew this was the college for me.”
Hennel took full advantage of the personal relationships between faculty and students.
“My years at IWU have been characterized by building relationships with my professors
and talking about current issues,” said Hennel. He said he demonstrated critical thinking
and effective communication skills — hallmarks of a liberal arts education — in his
day-to-day tasks at Goldman Sachs. “For me, critical thinking skills translated into
knowing what questions to ask your manager and being able to work most productively,”
he said. “The one-on-one interactions between professors and students at IWU also
enable students to learn how to effectively engage with colleagues.”
He said changing his major from accounting to financial services, along with spending
a year abroad studying at Oxford, led to a bit of a juggling act to ensure he completed
his coursework on time along with taking classes in which he was most interested.
“The amount of support I received from the faculty speaks volumes as to how willing
IWU professors are to help, both from an academic as well as a personal perspective.”
Those personal relationships extend to others associated with IWU. While he was studying
in England, Hennel and the other IWU students in his Pembroke cohort were invited
to a concert by the Earl of Buckinghamshire, an honorary IWU Trustee. During the evening,
the Earl learned that Hennel had been offered the GS internship for the following
summer, and arranged for Hennel to visit the Goldman Sachs office in London and to
attend a luncheon with investors discussing market outlooks and investment opportunities.
“I met GS employees who were former interns, which allowed me to get a feel for the
company as well as day-to-day responsibilities,” Hennel recalled. “The fact that he
went through so much to help me get acclimated to Goldman Sachs speaks volumes.”
This willingness from all corners of the IWU community to help students has had a
profound impact on Hennel. “I’d say what has inspired me the most here is how willing
the faculty are to help students,” he said. He marvels at the depth and breadth of
opportunities at IWU, as well as the financial support available for endeavors he
wanted to pursue. “If you are willing to put in the work, there’s nothing you can’t
do here,” said Hennel, who co-founded the IWU Investment Club, served as its president,
and graduated summa cum laude.
His advice to other students? Be ambitious. “It’s so easy to be complacent either
when you are entering or leaving college, and that’s what holds a lot of people back.
When I started here, I never thought I would attend Oxford University or be working
on Wall Street. But, I worked consistently and it paid off.”