University of Richmond
BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private all-boys school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 80 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Finance
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the club soccer team, I’m in a fraternity, I’m in the Investments Club, and I volunteer with Camp Kesem that is a summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
In terms of my social life, the fraternity and my soccer team have had an impact have helped me make close connections and good friends. In terms of feeling like I gave back to the community, Camp Kesem and my fraternity have been helpful in that and is something I hold near and dear to my heart.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
Within the Finance concentration, most of my work deals with Excel or problem sets. Usually, I work within Access which works in financial models. Besides that, I use Excel to compute other financial models. In terms of basic classwork, it’s mostly problems that were given or small quizzes that we have to turn in. The big assignments are mostly exams. A lot of my classes have two or three exams that make up most of the grade.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
Something the business school does really well is you feel as if the professors really want you to come and meet with them. The connection I have with my professors here are even closer than I had in my high school where my graduating class was only 80 students, which is unbelievable. They really work with you if you’re struggling or have any issues. Besides that, they have a really wonderful facility where we have a specific lab for us. You get the sense of what the point of being in the major is and where it can bring you in the future.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
The learning environment is definitely more collaborative than competitive. There are people at the University of Richmond who can be very competitive and try to one-up everyone. But, most of my classes have big group projects where they want you to work with other students and get to know them and realize that the working environment after college is [team-oriented] and you will have to become a member of a team at whatever job you have in the future.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They’re very accessible. Most of them have office hours upwards of six or seven hours a week. But, you also have professors who are not full-time who only have one hour of office hours and have jobs outside of school.
What’s been your favorite class you’ve taken so far for your major?
I’m in a class right now called Investments. We are basically learning how the stock market works and what it means to be a passive investor and a real investor, why you should invest in specific companies, how many companies you should invest in and so forth. It gives me a real idea of what I want to do after college. I was thinking about going into real estate and asset management, and my professor actually assigned me specific classwork because he realized I had an interest in it and that helped me understand whether or not I wanted to do it. Now I know that I want to be in asset management.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I decided my major. I took my dad’s advice and decided to be a Business Administration major with a concentration in Finance because the Business Administration major gives you a large amount of opportunity to work in whatever side of business you want to. Within finance, I know that a lot of finance majors are able to work in marketing, sales, and other jobs besides just finance. I’m definitely happy with the Finance concentration but I’m not necessarily happy that it took me until now to realize that I’m happy with it. The first Finance class I took was the second semester of sophomore year so I had to declare before taking a class and worry about whether I was going to like it.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Wood Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Gray Court with one roommate and two suitemates with a connecting bathroom.
Junior: Off-campus house with three housemates.
How was transitioning from Baltimore, MD to Richmond, VA?
Richmond reminds me of Baltimore in that there are lots of little small town areas. Socially, it reminds me way too much of Baltimore because it’s a very small and close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. When I drive by I see people every day that I’ve seen for the past three years. Even though there are 3,000 people I feel like I know about 75% of them. The transition wasn’t very hard because it didn’t feel like I needed to transition, it felt the same as Baltimore.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
The safety on campus is something I never thought was going to be so amazing. We have the blue light system to make you feel safe at night. Every time an incident occurs campus police are immediately on the scene and they alert the entire campus what is going on. I’ve never felt even slightly in danger here.
Pros and cons of being in Richmond, VA?
1) It’s easy to go to the Fan District and grab a drink with fans.
2) There is a fun food scene. It’s a place you can go walk around and see what life is like in Richmond itself.
1) There are areas of Richmond that are not as safe at night.
2) The Fan District is a good 20 minutes away from campus, so it is a pretty far journey to get there. You can’t just walk down the street and be at one of the local bars.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
On Thursdays, each fraternity rents out their own bar in the Fan District or Shockoe Bottom and people are welcome to come. On Fridays, we have parties at Fraternity Lodges or off-campus houses that are usually themed parties. On Saturdays, people will throw parties at their off-campus houses but I’d say they’re a little bit more exclusive in that because the house is owned by somebody they are more inclined to turn down somebody who they don’t know. Usually, it’s just girls that we know end up going rather than guys that aren’t in the fraternity.
How do you feel about the new Lodge regulations?
It depends on who you’re talking to on campus. Some people think it makes it more exclusive, but, as somebody who’s in the fraternity, I like having a better idea of who’s coming into our lodges. People who are not in Greek life are annoyed because they now have to get on this list and make sure they’re on the list in order to get in. It mostly affects guys in general because they end up at the bottom of the hierarchy of who ends up on the list.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
My friends and I have been going to a couple of concerts in Richmond that have been really fun. It’s really relaxing going to go see live music.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
The only thing I would change is I wish there were bars or clubs near campus that were accessible to all people so that fraternities didn’t have to rent out their own bars all the time. That way people could all end up at the same bar instead of fraternities renting out bars and having to hope that the girls they’re friends with go to your bar instead of another fraternity’s bar. Fraternities usually end up vying for the same girls to go to their bar.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through my hall freshman year. My whole hall was pretty close at first. Once we started rushing fraternities, me and three other guys ended up rushing the same fraternity where I ended up meeting my closest friends now. Through rush, I got to meet my entire pledge class and meet some of the coolest people I’ve ever met.
How would you describe the social scene at Richmond?
There are nicer ways to put it, but it reminds me a lot of high school. A lot of the U or R social scene is a lot of guys trying to one-up each other and make themselves look cooler so that the girls will decide to go hang out with them. I think it’s way too close-knit of a community where everyone knows everything about each other and there are a lot of petty issues that occur weekly through the social scene.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
In the scene that I’m in is unfortunately mostly White people. There are some African-American and Asian people who end up in my social life, but like 80%-90% of people are White. [9% of undergraduates are international students, 29% are students of color, and 20% of students come from Virginia.]
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
It depends on how far people in Greek life want to get out of their comfort zone. From joining Camp Kesem I ended up meeting some really cool people who are so much fun to talk to and hang out with outside of school. But, I think most people in Greek life tend to hang out with people in Greek life and that goes for the people not in of Greek life because they tend to hang out with people not in Greek life. [About 54% of females are in sororities and there are eight fraternities on campus.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I think the alumni network is really helpful but for me personally, I ended up finding my internship this summer through connections from home. I have used the network for networking purposes and have gotten a couple of interviews from them, but not any internships specifically.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful were they?
The University of Richmond makes it mandatory for you to have a resume and cover letter submitted and reviewed by career services. I think that’s really helpful because whether you want to get an internship or not your sophomore year, you always have your basic cover letter and resume. I think they can be pushy at times for you to do minuscule tasks, but they are always there when you need advice.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’ve learned both Excel and Access which will be really helpful for any finance internship I’ll end up having.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Richmond before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how close the community was. From a social aspect, I thought it was really weird that I knew everyone way too well again. Going in, I thought I would walk to class every day and maybe see one or two people I might now whereas I see upwards of 50 people.
What is something a prospective student interested in Greek life may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
They should know that the school is very strict on Greek life. It does a good job of making sure everyone does well and has a good time but is kept safe. However, I think the Greek offices seem to force a certain opinion upon fraternities and sororities and if you don’t follow those opinions then you get penalties and consequences.
What is something a prospective business student may want to know that maybe we haven’t touched on?
If you don’t know what concentration to declare, the best part about the business school is that you can take a plethora of classes that only satisfy the requirements of being in the business school. Once you take those classes you can then decide what you want to declare. I thought that after three classes I had to know what I wanted to do with my life, which is so wrong. I was able to take eight or nine business classes before realizing that I want to go into finance.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They would miss the social aspect of Richmond. Unless you know someone at Richmond, it’s hard to understand what the social life is like here until you go to a Lodge or go hang out with students on campus.
Reasons to attend University of Richmond:
1) The success rate in students getting job opportunities. It’s nice knowing that you will most likely succeed as long as you take the time to do your work. [For the Class of 2017, the six-month employment rate was 97%.]
2) The amount of extracurricular activities available to you. From sports to service learning to Greek life, you can find something that fits you and find a group of people that have the same interests as you.
3) The general openness of the community is to all different types of people. I’ve met just about every type of person you can think of whether it be gender, race, political view, or whatever it might be. People are really open to hearing what your thoughts are and what type of person you are.
Reasons to not attend University of Richmond:
1) The community can feel too close at times. It’s just something you have to deal with and there’s no way of changing it.