On his game

Jason Morrall ’15 landed one of two coveted internship positions at Citigroup in Chicago this summer. He will spend 10 weeks in the Citigroup Global Market division, rotating among the equities, municipal bonds, and fixed income desks.

Morrall’s initiative, résumé, and interview skills gave him an edge on his competitors—including candidates from Northwestern University and Stanford University—but without access to a Forester network of professors, alumni, and staff, he might never have had a stab at the opportunity in the first place.

The story starts with Lecturer in Economics and Business Michelle Galanter Applebaum, who came to Lake Forest College from Wall Street, where she was a partner at the investment bank Salomon Brothers. Upon learning about alumnus Randy Lauer’s job as a managing director at Citigroup, she decided to call the Class of 1981 graduate and former Salomon Brothers colleague to see if, together, they could get a Forester interning for the finance giant at its Chicago location.

The results were positive. Even though Citigroup generally focuses its recruiting efforts on the Ivy Leagues and larger business-oriented universities in the Midwest, Lauer agreed to visit campus and worked with the Career Advancement Center (CAC) to schedule interviews with a group of interested students.

“Michelle convinced me to give the Lake Forest students a shot,” Lauer said. “She told me, ‘We have a good product here. You might not think of Lake Forest for finance, but we have some sharp students. Stop at Lake Forest.’” 

When Morrall heard about Lauer’s impending trip to the College, he talked to Applebaum before class one day to make sure his name got on the list of candidates. Later, the economics and politics double major was one of three Foresters Lauer invited to Citigroup for an all-day visit that included interviews with the heads of the trading desks.

“Six interviews in two hours. I really had to be on my game the whole time,” said Morrall, a former Forester basketball player.

Morrall always seems to be on his game; it’s one of his most impressive traits. The gig at Citigroup will be his third internship in finance. He worked for Morgan Stanley in his hometown of Grand Ledge, Michigan, after his first year at the College, and he interned with bank examiners at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago last summer.

In fact, his experience at the Fed and the story surrounding how he secured that internship are reasons why Lauer and Citigroup ultimately hired him. It’s a story about taking initiative:

First, Morrall followed the advice of the CAC and began networking with alumnus Jaron Eanes ’10, a financial reports analyst at the Fed. Then, Morrall sought endorsements from athletic director Jackie Slaats and football coach Jim Catanzaro; both know Eanes from his time playing football for the College. Finally, during the CAC’s annual Get Hired event, Eanes introduced Morrall to a human resources representative, and a month later, Morrall accepted an internship with the Fed.

“Jason was our number one pick,” said Lauer, who majored in politics and played hockey for the College. “He interviewed very well, and we liked his energy and his experience. He is a well-rounded young man. I was very impressed and it was impressive that Foresters were right there competing with some of the top schools.”

If the internship goes well, Morrall likely will end up with an offer for a full-time position in Citigroup’s analyst program after he graduates. Citigroup generally hires summer associates with a long-term relationship in mind, Lauer said.

Applebaum intends for other Lake Forest College students to experience similar results in their internship and job searches. She believes a big part of her job is to be an ambassador for the College and to help bridge the gap between her “enormously qualified” students and recruiters. In addition to making phone calls to the likes of Lauer, she preps students for interviews and collaborates with the CAC to provide workshops for students in the College’s Investment Club.

Her advice to students: apply for internships as early as your first year, even the ones you do not believe you are qualified for on paper.

Meanwhile, Morrall is preparing to spend another summer working in the city. The accessibility to Chicago is one reason why he chose Lake Forest College.

“It’s easy to get to and there are opportunities in the financial industry,” he said. “Many alums live and work there, too. It’s nice to have people at big firms who are willing to pass your résumé along.”


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