Hi and welcome (back) to campus. My name is Stephanie Hockman. I am the Program Director for the Traub Careers in Business and Finance (CIBF) at the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning (say that 3 times really fast!). I wanted to write this “quick” note of introduction. The goal is to give you a little information about me and about the CIBF program. You will find that I love to write and am thinking of starting some Tik Tok videos so look out for some WTFs and SWOTs (more on that later).
A little about me.
I joined Amherst College in 2015 after 23 years in the financial services industry. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (Go Longhorns!)with a Bachelors of Business and Masters in Business and Accounting and then started at Arthur Andersen (AA) helping complete tax restructuring for hedge funds and investment vehicles. I helped these firms structure their portfolios and companies in a way that helped shield their wealth and revenue from US taxation – legally. I left AA at the end of 2000 and became a recovering accountant as I transitioned to investment banking. I spent 15 years as an investment banker specializing in equities and global markets at Bank of America and BNP Paribas.
My career in finance was full of everything you might imagine from watching movies like Wall Street, Barbarians at the Gate, Wolf of Wall Street, and The Big Short. It was fun! It was stressful. It was competitive. It was exhilarating. It taught me a lot. I remember sitting on the 28th floor of what was the Sears Tower in Chicago on September 11, 2001 and witnessing the destruction of the twin towers on TV and immediately calling friends who worked at Deutsche Bank and Cantor Fitzgerald; big banks in the towers at that time. I remember the markets and their reactions to the terror attacks. Just when I thought things might stabilize, I had a front-row seat to the housing bubble and the crash. Just as the Great Recession was in full swing (September/October 2009), I was leading a team to transition my division from Bank of America to BNP Paribas. It was in these challenging times when the global economy was adjusting (crashing) that the markets reacted. A perfect example of how the finance industry is not only a teacher of many things but also constantly changing. During my time in banking, I married my husband, Chris, and had two kids (Matt & Maddie). I was one of the first to work from home and became an example for many women to follow in the finance industry; which at the time was predominately white males (with some pretty large egos). I was thrilled to blaze a trail for so many other women I hired at BofA and BNP Paribas as they have gone on to have very successful careers.
The finance industry has changed over the last 30 years. Not only has it become more gender and racially diverse, it has responded to the 2008 financial crisis with more regulations and innovative solutions for ways for institutions to make money. In January 2015, BNP Paribas had a restructuring to meet some of the new regulatory requirements that led to me being fired. Now, I wouldn’t have said it at the time, but do now. Everyone should be fired at least once. It allows you to reflect, reset, and re-emerge in a way that nothing else can. I took a few months off and then decided to pivot careers. That’s how I ended up at Amherst College. I am the inaugural director of the CIBF Program and am excited by the constant growth in not only the programming but also the employers who actively seek Mammoths to join their firms. In addition to my work at Amherst College, I have a consulting firm that has worked with investment banks, private equity firms, law firms, higher education institutions, EdTech startups and many other startups. I’m also an angel investor and advisor to startups. You could say that’s my third passion behind my family and working with students at Amherst College. I love to apply my decades of finance experience, my work as a consultant, and my love of finding new ventures to help students find what makes them ‘tick’.
The CIBF Program
The CIBF Program has two main tracks: Finance & Consulting. However, I love talking to students and helping you explore the finance industry, consulting, general business opportunities and entrepreneurship (as a founder or someone who wants to be part of the startup community). I strongly believe in exploring opportunities and then taking time to experience different things to determine what is the best fit for you. There are Introduction to Finance and Introduction to consulting workshop series in the spring semester, finance and consulting treks (where we travel to NYC and Boston to visit employers and gain a better understanding of the day-to-day), preparation workshops and vendor programs so that you can supplement your liberal arts education to perform well in interviews, and so much more. One of my favorite things we do is Wall Street Journal Wednesday. You can come to Valentine Dining, get lunch, and head down to the Terrace Room A (bottom of the stairs by the salad bar in the lower level of Val). Students and I discuss current events, things going on around campus, or anything you want. It’s 60-80 minutes where we can just be informal and talk about whatever you want.
If you are interested in learning more, send an email to me and ask to be added to one of my weekly newsletters (Careers in Finance and/or Careers in Consulting). These newsletters are a glimpse into my WTFs (Weekly Thoughts on Finance) and SWOTs (Stephanie’s Weekly Outstanding Thoughts on trends in business and consulting) as well as information on CIBF programs, employer opportunities, and so much more.
I enjoy meeting one-on-one but also happy to schedule group advising if you want to come with friends and talk about career paths, preparation tips, etc. If you want to create a group session, send me an email with a date/time and we’ll make it happen. I have two amazing interns this year. Lucas Romualdo ’24 is my finance intern and Erxi Lu ’24 is my consulting intern. They hold office hours on Tuesdays from 4-6pm in Frost Library and are also available for mock interviews or just to learn more about their career paths and experience.
I look forward to meeting you all.