Victor Ficarra, a senior business major at Penn State Brandywine, recently completed a remote internship with J.P. Morgan that reaffirmed his post-undergraduate goals and gave him the professional connections and experience needed to navigate his career path.
According to its website, J.P. Morgan is a global leader in financial services, offering solutions to the world's most important corporations, governments and institutions in more than 100 countries.
“I was in the global finance and business management division,” said Ficarra, who is also earning minors in international studies and civic and community engagement at Brandywine. “Since I’m completing the business degree with an accounting option, this opportunity really fit my accounting background well.”
Throughout the five-week internship program, Ficarra completed two major projects with the company. The first was a case study where he and three other interns worked closely with J.P. Morgan management to plan the opening of a Chase Bank branch location. Ficarra had the opportunity to perform financial forecasting and risk analysis during the case study. The second assignment was called a “social good project” where he helped a nonprofit company form a financial plan and grow its budget to meet organizational goals.
“We had two managers and two project advisers helping us throughout our assignments,” Ficarra said. “They were excellent mentors and it was really nice making connections and building relationships with them throughout the five-week period. They encouraged us to network as much as possible. Through my connections at the company, I got to meet with a lawyer to learn more about corporate law, which is what I’m interested in pursuing.”
Ficarra said he was proud of what his team accomplished during the internship, noting that “my group was always one step ahead. We really managed the projects well,” he said, which showed when his team successfully presented their work to managers, vice presidents and executive directors. Ficarra even got an offer to return to J.P. Morgan and work for two years in the company’s rotational program for recent graduates.
“What surprised me most about this internship was how accessible and helpful everyone was,” he said. “When you think of leaders at a company like J.P. Morgan, you might not think of ‘accessibility,’ but they do everything they can to share their experience with you and give you access to resources.”
With help from Brandywine’s Office of Advising and Career Services, Ficarra found the internship through Penn State’s Nittany Lion Careers — a job search website that brings together students, alumni, and the employers seeking to hire them.
“Through internships, students build skills, their network and the self-awareness needed as professionals,” said Christine Allen, who serves as coordinator of career development and placement at Brandywine. “Real-world experiences give students more confidence during interviews and open new doors of opportunity. Students often learn what to pursue, and at times, what not to pursue as a career path.”
Ficarra is an involved member of the campus community in several other ways. He is captain of the men’s tennis team, member of the men’s basketball team, president of the Lion Ambassadors, a Schreyer Honors Scholar and a peer tutor.
“I chose Brandywine because of the access to faculty and staff on campus,” he said. “From the staff in the athletics department to faculty members across the academic disciplines, everyone is open, honest and available when you need them.”
So, what’s next for Ficarra after completing his degree in May 2021?
“I’m currently applying to law schools and hope to work for a law firm in a major city like Philadelphia, New York or Boston,” he said. “I have an entrepreneurial mindset and would ultimately like to have my own law firm someday.”