Childhood friends, Multicultural Business Scholars prepare for Wall Street internships
Tae-Vheon and Sae-Vheon Alcorn, Malik Bauer and Jaylyn Hunt were friends long before they stepped foot in Capitol Federal Hall.
Hunt attended the same kindergarten as the Alcorn twins and stayed in touch through the years, later befriending Bauer in middle school and connecting him with his old classmates. Bauer and the Alcorns also competed against each other in track. Then, all four decided to attend the University of Kansas, where they are now rising seniors studying finance.
“We’ve just only gotten closer over the years, especially while being here,” Hunt said.
The quartet is now embarking on a new journey together: Interning on Wall Street.
Diversity in finance
This summer, Tae-Vheon is moving to New York City to intern for Wells Fargo’s investment banking as part of the real estate, gaming, lodging, and leisure group. He’ll be joined in the city by Bauer, who is completing an internship at Deutsche Bank’s investment banking division in the real estate, gaming, lodging, and leisure group, and Hunt, who is interning at UBS’ global wealth management department. Meanwhile, Sae-Vheon is heading to Houston to do investment banking for Bank of America’s energy division.
The impressive internships are even more notable because of the financial industry’s lack of diversity. Black men make up less than 3 percent of the professional workforce in the finance and insurance industry, according to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data.
“Black men, and minorities overall, have a very low percentage of being inside financial services,” Sae-Vheon said. “That’s why I’ve always been very passionate about finance. I think that if we’re able to get somewhere, we have an opportunity to really increase that number.”
Bauer said the lack of representation in the financial sector seems to be changing, but it still presents challenges.
“I think something that we’ve all taken note of and talked about is we’re going to have to check all the boxes to get the same opportunity as some of our counterparts,” he said. “We also don’t have the leeway to get in trouble or other things like that. We’ve got to carry ourselves a certain way to make sure that there’s not somebody who can deny us an opportunity, and I think we’ve done that. Now that we’re here, it helps other people coming up.”
School of Business support
The Alcorns, Bauer and Hunt are all part of the Multicultural Business Scholars Program, a scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to create opportunities for underrepresented and first-generation college students to excel academically, professionally and personally. All four are quick to emphasize the importance of the program and the guidance of Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Steven Johnson Jr., who oversees MBSP.
“I will never, ever forget sitting down in his office and breaking down all my goals with him as a freshman,” Tae-Vheon said. “And he was like, ‘Well, let’s make it happen. Check the boxes off.’ And we did it.”
Tae-Vheon, Sae-Vheon and Bauer are also in the Jennett Finance Scholars Program. Led by Dieter Schrader, it provides participants with a broad overview of careers in finance and institutions and helps them prepare for competitive financial careers.
“Dieter is the guy I’m calling 20 minutes before an interview saying, ‘Hey, give me a rap. What do I need to know? What do you think they’re going to be asking me? What other resources or students or past interns should I be talking to?’” Bauer said. “I think Dieter just does everything he can do to give you the keys to be successful.”
All four Business Jayhawks said their internships ultimately just aren’t about their individual career advancement but helping future Jayhawks in finance as well as students of color.
“We’re doing it, and so can you,” Tae-Vheon said. “I think that speaks volumes. Just knowing that we’re four minorities who have been able to acquire these big-time jobs, someone else can definitely do it, and we’re obviously all going to be resources to make sure that Jayhawks in the future can get that job as well.”