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Scoring a good internship can give college students a significant boost in their future careers, particularly in the competitive finance and technology fields.

 

But getting the attention of corporations for that all-important foot in the door is harder for students of lower-income and diverse backgrounds who might have to work in addition to attending school. Scholarships and critical connections often make all the difference, just as Anthony Banuelos, a CME Group intern and current CME Foundation Scholar, recently found. 

“I was a barista at a small coffee shop… it's hard to get a tech internship with just a barista job on your resume,” he said.

Banuelos, who is studying for a master’s degree in cyber forensics and security at Illinois Institute of Technology with a planned graduation date in 2023, said the CME Group Foundation Scholars Program not only gave him a scholarship to offset the cost of college, but also introduced him to the futures industry through its Market Education Day program. There he learned about internship opportunities through the CME Group Foundation.

“Because of CME, I really got that push that I needed to proceed with my career,” he said.

The CME Group Foundation Scholars Program assists Black and Latinx college students who are current or rising sophomores, juniors or seniors enrolled in certain math or science fields or in a master of finance degree program at one of 11 partner colleges or universities. Each scholarship recipient has the opportunity to be in the program for up to three years, with some students remaining in it for the finance master’s program for an additional year.

The program is administered by Scholarship America, which designs and manages education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals. Students will receive up to $20,000 per year, which may be renewed annually for up to three years, based on being in school full time with good grades. The program has served 69 unique students since 2019, providing a total of $2.5 million. Another 18 students were chosen for the program in 2022, bringing the total number of students currently in the program to 35.

Influencing Career Paths

The Market Education Day helped to influence his career path, Banuelos said. As an undergraduate, he started studying computer science, a field he became interested in because of an uncle who worked for Microsoft for many years. However, after meeting the CME Group chief information security officer and learning more about cybersecurity, he switched majors.

“He gave a background on cybersecurity and what it’s all about, and the next day I went over to my counselor and I said I want to switch over to cybersecurity as my major,” he said.

That decision helped Banuelos to land an internship on the CME Group cyber defense response team as a detection analyst. As part of the role, he monitors cybersecurity threats against CME Group, and helps in decision-making on the threat level.

“I'm really enjoying this work and I'm hoping that I get hired on full time,” he said.

“Because of CME, I really got that push that I needed to proceed with my career.”

— Anthony Banuelos, Former CME Group Foundation Scholar

Scholarships, Support are Critical

Daniel Velarde, an analyst on the interest rate and OTC products team at CME Group, and Jada Aduda, who just joined CME Group as a full-time corporate development analyst, knew they wanted to study business, influences they credit to their parents. Both have mothers who are accountants, while Aduda’s father is a data scientist and Velarde’s father is an engineer. Each was a part of the CME Group Foundation Scholars Program for three years prior to graduating in May 2022.

Yet the path to business school wasn’t easy for either of them. Velarde grew up in rural southern Illinois with little exposure to business. Attending a college like Loyola University Chicago, far from his hometown, was unusual in his area, he said. The scholarship was critical for Velarde, as it was a question of whether his parents could afford four years of college.

“Staying at Loyola wasn’t something that was guaranteed for me. We were a little worried about the cost. Once I was accepted to the [CME Group Foundation Scholarship] Program, that was a game changer for me in helping me afford college and graduate,” he said.

For Aduda, as a first-generation immigrant, navigating the United States college system was a challenge both financially and logistically. Her family came to the U.S. from Nairobi, Kenya, on a lottery visa, but her parents had to redo both of their college educations, leaving little opportunity for her parents to save for Aduda’s future studies.

She said she knew when she applied to Loyola that she would need scholarships, but she also needed social support to find her way during freshman year.

“I had a rocky start, but I was able to lean on some faculty members who helped me stay in my field. It was very overwhelming,” Aduda explained.

Faculty members directed her to the CME Foundation Scholarship, and the money allowed her to stay in college by removing the pressure of needing to both work and study. The two faculty members, Ashley Williams and Noni Gaylord-Harden (now at Texas A&M University), empathized with the struggle Aduda faced as a Black woman seeking to enter finance, a field where Black women are underrepresented.

“They showed me the strength and the grit that I need to get through my four-year process and beyond,” she said.

“From the business perspective, it's a great way to help build more diverse pipelines and offer roles to college students who may not always apply, or know how to apply, or have the network to get into a job in financial services. It's leveling the playing field.”

— Eva Giglio, Executive Director, CME Group Foundation

Creating a Diversity Pipeline

Black and Latinx workers represent only 7.2% and 7.9%, respectively, of the total securities, investment and commodities workforce in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More opportunities and awareness can be opened up by programs like the CME Foundation Scholarship.

Eva Giglio, executive director of the CME Group Foundation, said not only does the Scholars Program support students financially, but it also alerts them to internship and job opportunities. She works closely with CME Group human resources to flag applications to make sure these students receive interviews. There are also support services such as reviewing resumes or giving interview tips.

It’s a win-win for the company and the students as it creates a pipeline between CME Group and the schools.

“From the business perspective, it's a great way to help build more diverse pipelines and offer roles to college students who may not always apply, or know how to apply, or have the network to get into a job in financial services. It's leveling the playing field,” Giglio said.

Because it can be intimidating as a Black or Latinx student in STEM, the three scholars advise other students to research fields of interest, ask everyone they know questions about the industry, and not be afraid to ask for help.

“Make sure to develop your networking skills,” said Velarde. “It’s good to connect with people in an industry who do what you want to do.”

Additionally, the Market Education Day helped introduce them to the idea of working in the futures industry, as none of them had heard of futures before applying for the scholarship. Aduda had completed two internships at Loop Capital Markets, a Black-owned investment bank, brokerage and advisory firm. That gave her industry experience in stocks and bonds, but her new job allows her to learn a different marketplace. She’s looking forward to researching new business opportunities for CME Group as part of her role.

“It's very important, especially to underrepresented groups like women and people of color, to expose them to industries that they might not know and take off some of that pressure of paying for school,” she said.


 

 

OpenMarkets is an online magazine and blog focused on global markets and economic trends. It combines feature articles, news briefs and videos with contributions from leaders in business, finance and economics in an interactive forum designed to foster conversation around the issues and ideas shaping our industry.

All examples are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views expressed in OpenMarkets articles reflect solely those of their respective authors and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. OpenMarkets and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience. Neither futures trading nor swaps trading are suitable for all investors, and each involves the risk of loss. Swaps trading should only be undertaken by investors who are Eligible Contract Participants (ECPs) within the meaning of Section 1a(18) of the Commodity Exchange Act. Futures and swaps each are leveraged investments and, because only a percentage of a contract’s value is required to trade, it is possible to lose more than the amount of money deposited for either a futures or swaps position. Therefore, traders should only use funds that they can afford to lose without affecting their lifestyles and only a portion of those funds should be devoted to any one trade because traders cannot expect to profit on every trade. BrokerTec Americas LLC (“BAL”) is a registered broker-dealer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (www.FINRA.org), and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (www.SIPC.org). BAL does not provide services to private or retail customers.. In the United Kingdom, BrokerTec Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. CME Amsterdam B.V. is regulated in the Netherlands by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) (www.AFM.nl). CME Investment Firm B.V. is also incorporated in the Netherlands and regulated by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), as well as the Central Bank of the Netherlands (DNB).

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