Cassandra Clark Theirl '02, executive director of J.P. Morgan Asset Management-Global Real Assets' Debt Capital Markets Group, helped Gareth Purdy '14 secure an internship this summer.
Holy Cross’ Summer Internship Program (SIP) is highly competitive and provides exceptional Holy Cross sophomores and juniors with real-world work experience. The internships are developed through a dedicated network of Holy Cross alumni, parents, and friends, whose resourcefulness was recently put to a test.
At the end of the school year, Gareth Purdy ’14, an economics and history double major from Kansas City, Mo., began the process of relocating from Missouri to New York City for his planned internship. Two days prior to his departure, the offer was rescinded as a result of an unexpected corporate merger. With his plans suddenly placed on hold, Purdy turned to SIP director, Pam Ahearn.
Upon receiving Purdy’s call, Pam immediately issued an SOS email to the alumni network. Within minutes, two alumni offered to meet with Purdy to assess his interests and abilities. Within a matter of three business days — a Herculean feat — he had two interviews and two offers for the summer. “This is a perfect example of the dedication and commitment our alumni have toward Holy Cross,” said Ahearn.
One of the offers came from Cassandra Clark Theirl ’02, executive director of J.P. Morgan Asset Management-Global Real Assets’ Debt Capital Markets Group. A former SIP participant herself, Theirl understood the importance of this experience to an undergraduate. The internship was her first exposure to the corporate world, where she learned the value of not waiting for opportunities to present themselves but to take the initiative and ask for work. “The internship was a very important step for me in getting to my full time job after graduation,” she said.
Theirl was able to secure Purdy a spot at Global Real Assets. The position has provided him with experience in and exposure to a non-traditional side of the financial industry, one dealing with tangible assets such as real estate and infrastructure. He has been amazed by the willingness of staff to bring interns onboard with their projects.
“Rather than being seen as a liability, interns are seen as and treated like team members,” said Purdy. The loyalty and generosity exhibited by alumni like Theirl has also taught Purdy the importance of networking. “Having people who truly want you to succeed makes the internship easier,” he said. “Access to readily available guidance gives you the confidence to try anything new that comes your way.”