Careers in Banking

The Careers in Banking discussion panel included alumni and banking professionals who shared their career paths and gave advice about pursuing a banking career.

By Sabrina Black

When you were four years old, did you dream of being a banker? Most likely not. Banking has been called the “accidental career” by some who have found career success in banking. Robin Burk, a regional president for US Bank and a panelist at the Careers in Banking event, is a great example of this with her degree in speech therapy and 38 years in banking.

The Careers in Banking event on March 7, 2013, presented a discussion panel and career expo to introduce business and economics students to the world of banking careers in all of its unexpected forms and paths. Five panelists kicked off the event by describing their career paths, what surprised them about the industry, why they recommend starting as a teller, and more. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Bankers aren’t just looking for bright people, they’re also asking, “Who will be the next leaders?”
  • Don’t underestimate the need for professionalism. Even if everyone around you is goofing off, think about the position you want and act appropriately – even if your supervisor is the one acting up.
  • You must be able to communicate in writing and verbally. If you have the right answer but can’t get the word out, it won’t matter.
  • Don’t be afraid to take different paths. Be open to changing your geographical location, changing your role, etc.
  • Sales skills are important regardless of what career you go into. Somewhere along the line, the ability to sell something – a presentation, an investment to a high net worth individual, checking accounts to a customer – is important in a commercial banking environment.
  • Be the best at what you do – “I think I want to try banking” doesn’t cut it when there are hundreds of people dying to get into the field.
  • Your first job is not your last job. If you want to be a leader, you’ll be in a better position to appreciate (and lead) the people under you if you’ve walked in their shoes.
Ten banks attended the career expo, bringing with them job and internship opportunities for students.

After an hour of professional insight into the world of careers in banking, more than a hundred students and bankers gathered in the Lillis atrium for the career expo where students networked with representatives from ten banks. During the expo, discussions about career paths ensued – along with information about current job and internship opportunities, encouraging students to consider the “accidental career.”

Special thanks to Jon Moulton, Michele Henney, Bill Sherman, Oregon Bankers Association, and participating banks for partnering with us to make this event a great success!