Most kids start their career aspirations imaginatively: They dream of being an astronaut, or of starring in a blockbuster movie when they grow up. Jake Lotreck ’25, however, had a different dream from the start. Exposed to finance from an early age, he always wanted to be an actuary.
It’s fair to say that this is atypical for most — and yet, by the time we graduate from Dartmouth, no small percentage of the would-be actors and astronauts turn into consultants and investment bankers. In the Class of 2021 Cap and gown poll, the most common career path was trekked by the 27% of graduates heading on to careers in business and management consulting, with another 16% venturing into the world of finance.
So what happened?
“Dartmouth has definitely brought me towards finance, given the amount of kids that are looking down that road,” Lotreck said. “Most people think about jobs early, which does bring a little stress but also gets me in a good mindset to not fall behind in professional development.”
At Dartmouth, you’re never more than a mutual friend away from a white-collar hopeful.
Lotreck cited the influence of the Dartmouth Investment and Philanthropy Program, or DIPP, in directing him towards finance. Not only does DIPP “teach the technical skills to get a better grasp of the financial world,” as Lotreck said, but it also provides mentors for younger students through upperclassmen also in the program.
Hailey Mullen ’24, also a member of DIPP, said that the program’s resources were instrumental in helping her down the path of investment banking.
“Once I started the actual recruiting process, I relied very heavily on the upperclassmen in DIPP,” she said. “I also got closer with a Dartmouth alum who was a second-year analyst at CitiBank and [they] became a really big mentor for me.”
While many students shoot for jobs in well-known fields like investment banking or management consulting, that’s not the case for everyone: Ilana Deykin ’23 described instead how she “stumbled upon healthcare consulting.”
A biology major and pre-med student, Deykin sees healthcare consulting as an opportunity to focus on “business problems of startups and pharmaceutical companies,” while still “engaging with the science of it.”
It’s easy to submit to the allure of finance at Dartmouth, but the process of actually securing the job is no easy task. As early as their second year, students are already working on finding internships for their junior summer.
Lotreck said he is bracing for recruiting to feel like “a fourth class,” but he said that “hopefully by the end of the spring I’ll have one or two internships lined up and be able to relax a little more.”
Currently on an off term and working at a private equity firm, Mullen is a bit deeper into the process and already has a plan laid out for the rest of her time at Dartmouth. After applying to programs as early as sophomore fall, she “ended up getting three or four interviews at banks [she] was interested in.”
While Mullen had an internship offer from Morgan Stanley by March, the preparation for it — including interviews and studying technical information — was a lot of work.
“Honestly, sophomore winter was miserable,” Mullen said. “For two or three months, that’s all I did, and I didn’t have that good of a social life, but I was willing to make that sacrifice because I knew [that] once I had that internship I was set.”
As a senior, Deykin can look back at her complete process. Luckily, because of her niche interest in healthcare consulting, she “was looking at a lot of firms that others weren’t” — a privilege she acknowledged and said made the process “honestly pretty painless.”
While Mullen and Lotreck see their first investment banking jobs as stepping stones to “gain a lot of valuable experience,” Deykin is still unsure whether finance or even medical school is her endgame. Unanimously, however, all the students I interviewed seemed undaunted by the years ahead.
“I’m happy to work hard the first few years out of college if it’ll set me up for a good position later,” Mullen said.
Lotreck added that the grueling entry-level analyst positions are also short-lived.
“They only last for two to three years maximum, and they pay back later when you get a job with more flexibility when it really matters,” she said.
While the future for those entering finance is uncertain, Mullen is relieved that the bulk of the work, for now, is out of the way. “You’re already going to end up in finance, so now I can explore other passions and interests because I have more time,” she said. “My path is already paved.”