While he was studying Finance at St. Edward’s, Christoph Hoermann ’21 interned at four different organizations: University Federal Credit Union, the Alhambra-U.S. Chamber (which supports international education and business), Ferrari of Austin and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
His internship at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., an intense 10-week summer experience, led to a job offer. Hoermann is now working as a private bank analyst in the company’s Palm Beach office.
How did you choose your major and career field?
I started at St. Edward’s as an International Business major, and then I briefly switched to Accounting because my Accounting professor had a big impact on me. Then I took my first Finance class and realized that was the best fit. Finance is all about analyzing investment decisions and figuring out the best option among alternatives. I chose finance for a career because, as I networked and got experience in the professional world, I always found very hard working, intelligent and bright people within finance. Those qualities aren’t unique to the industry, but it seemed like every time I was meeting people who worked in finance, I enjoyed talking with them and felt like we had a lot in common and similar long-term goals.
How would you encourage freshmen to find the right major?
First, I would say don’t have your mind set on one major. Your interests might change, even though you think you know what you want to study. Or even though your parents want you to study a particular subject. I would encourage people to explore. At St. Edward’s, you can come in as undecided and choose your major as you take classes and figure out what you like. Try to meet people who are studying different things and ask them why they like their major.
You say your internship at Ferrari of Austin was successful, even though your takeaway was that you didn’t want to work at a car dealership. Can you explain that?
There were aspects of my Ferrari internship that I loved. My supervisor was one of the top salespeople in the world for the company that year, and he was very kind and humble. I got to help set up a test-drive event in Midland, Texas, which was fun. And the finance director of the Austin dealership would give me roles that were more relevant to my major, like presenting annual sales figures to the owner of the dealership. But I realized that I liked those tasks more than the more traditional parts of the job. Even though I love cars, my takeaway was that I didn’t want to work at a car dealership. I still consider that a success, because ruling it out got me closer to figuring out what I actually want to do.
What’s an aspect of your St. Edward’s experience — besides academics — that stands out?
One of the main reasons I love St. Edward’s is its diversity. There are so many different nationalities and ethnicities represented on campus, and I was looking for that in a college. My grandfather is originally from Cuba, and I grew up partly in Germany, but my neighborhood in the U.S. was pretty homogenous, and I felt a little out of place. When I came to St. Edward’s, I was excited that there were people from Hispanic backgrounds and other backgrounds as well. One of my closest friends is originally from Singapore, and another is from Mexico.
What’s your best advice to future college students?
Take initiative. What I mean by that is to always actively keep in mind, “OK, if I’m graduating in four (or fewer) years, what do I need to be doing now?” To some people, it seems like a lot of time. For me, I felt like my days were numbered. I kept reminding myself, “I’m on a scholarship here, and I’m taking out loans, so I’ll need to find a job.” I figured that the more initiative I took in college, the more options and opportunities I would have afterward. What I liked about St. Edward’s was that, yes, there were people there to help you with internships and job applications, but you could do even more if you were proactive. And I felt better about myself when I was taking more initiative on my own. I would just say to always keep in mind where you think you might want to go in a few years, and what you could be doing to get there.
Interview by Robyn Ross
Photography & Video by Chelsea Purgahn