From Front Line to C-Suite: It All Started at UE
“I got the phone call that literally took my career and professional life in a different direction.”
Class of 2017
Major: Finance and Economics
Career Fair Success
With a major in finance and a minor in economics, Ghaith Safi was doing his best to land an internship or temporary job in the investment world. “It wasn’t until a career fair held by the University of Evansville that I was able to talk to a bank representative and schedule an interview,” Safi said. After the fair, Safi had two interviews with Fifth Third Bank and landed a summer job as a float teller and customer service representative. His career escalated quickly from there.
Moving on Up
Beginning in June 2015, Safi covered short-staffed branches and assisted with daily banking needs. “Since I commuted back and forth to different branches every few days, I was able to make many connections and get referrals from several managers and coworkers,” he recalled.
He quickly gained the experience, connections, and confidence to apply for a co-op internship with Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters. “I visited Cincinnati with a friend and was very impressed by the many businesses and opportunities it had,” Safi said. “I went online that night and applied for the co-op internship in the Investment Advisors Group.”
After a very successful phone interview and even better face-to-face interview, Safi learned that he had landed the position. “I got the phone call that literally took my career and professional life in a different direction.”
Energy and Enthusiasm
After settling down in Cincinnati and renting an apartment, Safi began his role as an intern. “Everything at the headquarters was fascinating!” Safi recalled fondly. “The employees, the customers, the building, the level of professionalism, and the entire atmosphere were very motivational and full of energy and enthusiasm!”
Celebrities, Executives, and Business Owners
Safi’s role as a private banking intern was to help senior bankers and their associates on a daily basis. The private bank only dealt with high net worth individuals that have more than $1 million in assets in the bank. “Our customers were celebrities, executive, business owners, and other influential people in the community,” said Safi.
Safi says the most interesting aspect of the internship were the amazing opportunities for networking and exposure. “My biggest project as an intern was to prepare a four hour presentation for the CEO, CFO, market president, head of all internal affairs, and other bank executives.”
More Open Doors
From day one, Safi was encouraged to schedule as many coffee and lunch dates with other employees as possible. “I was having three to four cups of coffee with different people from different departments every single day!” he said. “You can only image the amount of coffee I was having on a daily basis!”
Through one of his coffee dates, Safi was able to secure an interview for an internship in the commercial world. After a very rigorous process, which included three interview presentations and a dinner interview, Safi landed the competitive summer internship.
“My job as a commercial lending intern will be helping with the underwriting of hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and deals,” Safi said. “I am very excited for the role, as commercial lending is considered the backbone for all banks, and the most profit-generating sector of business.”