John “Jack” Owens ’13

JOB TITLE: Special correspondence group representative
ORGANIZATION: T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc.
LOCATION: Baltimore, Maryland

What was your first position after college? My first position was actually as a featured columnist at the sports website Bleacher Report. I had interned there my junior summer, and I worked there as an NBA columnist from early June until late July right after I graduated. This part-time work served as a good filler in between the many job interviews I went to during that time in search of a permanent position. It also served as a great talking point during these interviews as I could speak more in the present tense rather than constantly referencing past work. Ultimately, I was able to use a previous connection who suggested an entry-level position at her investment company, T. Rowe Price. TRP was interested in me based on some of the Internet and technical skills I had gained through previous and current experience and because I was able to tie in some mild investment knowledge.

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? Of course. What my liberal arts education best prepared me for was the underrated though essential skill of talking. Many of my co-workers in my entry-level training class went to large schools with large classes where their voices were somewhat limited. At Trinity, our smaller classrooms made speaking up in class and participating much easier and more necessary to do well. Despite not having any long-term or legitimate office-style work experience when I started work, I was very comfortable speaking my mind despite how uninformed I may have sounded. It allowed others to be comfortable sharing ideas and speaking with me. Though my liberal arts education may have not have had as much direct training for the work I was about to embark on, there is no doubt it offered me experiences in speaking openly and confidently in an environment of my peers and superiors at the same time. Furthermore, a liberal arts education has been vital in my developing creative ways to teach myself the very difficult material that I work with day in and day out.

What aspects of your Trinity experience have been important to advancing your career or graduate school experience? Three major experiences come to mind for this question. The first is my fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, which was the most vital resource throughout my college career in terms of my personal advancement. No other college arena offered me the challenges and rewards of interacting with opinionated, smart, and adventurous people on a daily basis.

The second would be the 300-level classes I took in American studies. No classes were more engaging, informative, fun, and thought provoking as these. They developed in me a passion for American history. In addition, what I learned about culture is extremely relatable to things I work with on a daily basis, like investment trends and investment futures. Looking at these from a historical and cultural standpoint works for my mind and has helped me build confidence in my ideas.

Finally, my club lacrosse career was something I loved to bring up in interviews as an example of my leadership skills. My time as a co-captain of the team taught me a lot about the difficulties of communicating with a large group of people, as well as listening to the ideas and suggestions of those who looked to me to lead the team along with my other captains.

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? While it is good to take classes that build on an interest you may have in a particular field, I highly recommend taking 200-level classes in majors that you are uncomfortable with or may not know very much about. My senior spring I took financial markets and institutions – a 200-level economics class. I hadn’t taken an economics since my sophomore year, and though the material was very difficult, a good portion of it stayed with me. Ultimately this is what made me open to other career opportunities, as I had difficulty getting interviews in fields I was interested in such as media, communications, and writing. I had much more success getting interviews in other industries, and in the end, it was my willingness to abandon what I thought I wanted in favor of the opportunities that came my way that helped me the most in getting a job.

What is the biggest misconception about your field? That you need to be an economics major or a stock market junkie to succeed. I took three economics classes during college and while that has proved a good base of knowledge for me, training programs at work taught me more about the industry than 12 classes could have. American studies majors can thrive in a number of different industries. The field of investments, mutual funds, and money management is certainly one of them.