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“I don’t know how students can really know what they want to do unless they’re able to see it first-hand,” says Jacqueline Bonder ’08 (Collegeville, Pa.). That’s how she sizes up the benefits of an interim-session externship with Angela Guarino ’04, an asset manager at SEI Investments Company in Oaks, Pa.

A government and law and foreign language major and varsity tennis player, Bonder was among more than 275 Lafayette students who served January externships with alumni and other experienced professionals in the business, arts, education, healthcare, law, engineering, science, government, and non-profits. The students shadowed the professionals at their workplaces, learning about careers they may consider entering after college, developing professional networking contacts, and building their resumes.

SEI Investments is a leading global provider of asset management and investment technology solutions. The company works with corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and families to create and manage wealth.

“We are a very diverse company with many different departments,” says Guarino, who double majored in government and law and Spanish, with honors, and was the first student to receive her diploma at commencement as top academic performer in her class. “It was actually difficult to show all we have to offer in just two days.” Bonder saw a lot, though: sitting in on meetings and receiving briefings on selected projects gave her an idea of what employees do on a day-to-day basis.

SEI employees went out of their way to provide good advice, Bonder says. “They sat down and went through resumes and really showed us what to focus on after college. It was really interesting and helpful to know that people are hired based on their attitudes and personalities as much as on their resumes.”

And, she says, though much of the work at SEI is “complicated and intricate,” she was surprised by what she saw as a “creative nature and enjoyable atmosphere.”

“The thing that sticks in my mind is how the employees weren’t stuck in cubicles,” Bonder says. “It was an open atmosphere where everyone worked together, and the department heads seemed to be on the same level as the other employees.”

“There was a lot to take in,” says Guarino, who was impressed by Bonder’s enthusiasm. “I wasn’t surprised by how much she was able to understand and inquire about, but I thought it was pretty phenomenal.”

The externship program is vital for students, Guarino adds, but also is satisfying for the hosts. “It’s nice to be able to help out those who are at Lafayette now, as I was helped out myself when I was a student.”

Categorized in: Academic News