A decision that adds up

Julie Schwark stands outside with graduation cords draped over shouldersChoosing to study finance with a minor in business analytics is a decision that has added up nicely for Julie Schwark. As a Business Bronco, she has found experiences that not only appeal to her interests, but have given her the skills to jump right into a career in finance. As she enters her last semester at the Haworth College of Business, Julie reflects on all the things that have made her time at WMU impactful. 

What drew you to WMU?  

I can still recall my first visit to WMU and taking a private tour of the business college with a chance to sit in on a class and meet all the major faculty and advisors. This is something that is not offered at every college, and it truly sets WMU apart from the rest. The friendly and caring atmosphere made my college decision easy. 

What influenced you to join the finance program? What appeals to you the most about this area?

Since a young age, math was always my favorite and strongest subject. After taking AP statistics and advanced math courses, I knew I wanted to pursue a math-related major. I am a very outgoing person. Going into a field that allows for relationship building and problem solving was important for me. Every day, we face personal financial problems that affect our short and long-term goals; therefore, I wanted to gain skills, knowledge and experience that would reduce my financial stress, and provide guidance to others. Finance is the perfect major that offers the opportunity to engage fully with my interests. 

What is the best experience you have encountered in your program thus far? Has there been a club, internship, job, student event, etc. that has been influential to your college career? 

The best and most rewarding experience I have had during my time at WMU is being part of the Greenleaf Trust scholarship program. I have been a scholarship recipient since my freshman year. In addition to financial support, the company provides numerous professional opportunities. Some examples are resume critiques, interview preparation, professional speaker events and academic support. They have equipped me well to succeed in the financial industry. The network of scholars and professionals is very valuable and something that one can carry throughout their life. Above all this, the company offers an internship that is exclusive to their scholars. I am currently an intern there, and I love every moment of it. You gain so much exposure to industry professionals, plus financial skills and knowledge through hands-on experience. I highly recommend all students interested in this field to apply for this scholarship program.  

What advice would you give to current Business Broncos?

Some advice I would give to current Business Broncos is to go to career fairs early to network with recruiters, keep their contact information and send them thank you emails as a follow-up. After attending those events, stay in touch with employers so they keep you in mind for future jobs and internship opportunities. I also advise students to get involved in business-specific organizations and take on leadership roles. This is a great way to stay connected with your peers whether it’s for academic reasons, or your personal and professional life. Lastly, I highly recommend students who are new to WMU Haworth seek out the Zhang Career Center or advising office to find ways to get involved and find a peer mentor within the college. This makes the experience so much easier, as they will have already gone through exactly what you’re going through.   

Is there anything else you would like to add?

One last comment I want to add is that college is what you make of it. There will always be those who complain and those who make the best out of it. The type of environment and people you surround yourself with makes a big difference in your future success. Surround yourself with positive, ambitious and supportive people you can look up to. Time is valuable, and this allows you to learn from the best and most experienced individuals quickly.