Professional Prospects: Reese Anderson, Class of 2020

Reese Anderson

Employer: Edward Jones

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Networking doesn’t require a suit, a tie, or a career fair. Sometimes, it only requires a friendship. I was recommended to Edward Jones by a family friend and long-time associate at the firm last Fall.

We chatted over bratwursts at a get-together over Labor Day weekend, and I asked him what he did. He told me Edward Jones is a financial services firm headquartered in St. Louis that employs nearly 50,000 nationwide. He told me they do financial advising.

As a freshman and sophomore, I did not envision myself working anywhere other than a PR, marketing, or advertising agency. Those were the clearest pathways, and I knew plenty of older students who took that route. It seemed like the simple choice.

But my friend explained the need for public relations in financial services and especially at a firm the size of Edward Jones. I enjoyed the business classes I’d taken and had recently begun following the markets, so it peaked my interest. But truthfully, I figured I’d be unqualified for any job they were offering.

Still, I went through the process and received an internship in their marketing department. This included their public relations, advertising, and corporate social responsibility teams.

This included helping plan and execute their trimester PR campaigns, create a social media strategy for their figureheads, and see the integration of paid and earned media at a large financial services company. I got to see the teams wrestle with how to maintain relationships with older generations while seeking to attract younger audiences. I used Cision to track their engagement metrics and even worked with people at Cision to create a comparative metric incorporating both the quantity and the quality of engagement. The role also provided a glance into how large companies work with agencies for their PR and advertising work.

Although my experience in the internship was limited to marketing, I met and built friendships with people across the firm. Nearing the end of the internship, I considered whether I wanted to return for their year-long Rotational Development Program. I interviewed for three different positions in the program, none of which were in marketing. The last day of the internship, I received the offer to join the program in their service division. Excited to branch out and to stay at the company I’d grown to appreciate, I took it.

For the first three months of the RDP, I’ll study full-time in order to pass the Series 7 and Series 66 certification exams, which qualify financial advisors. After that, I’ll rotate around three different business units, two of which will be in my assigned division. Following the program, I’ll be placed in the group I’ve shown the most interest and competence in.

Overall, I’m not sure what to expect, but I know the experience of leading projects, working with teams in different business units, and learning the financial services industry will mature and stretch me. Ultimately, I believe in meeting a need of a company that meets a need of people.

Coming into college, I thought I’d be a sports writer. Then, I thought I’d do public relations for a sports team. Then, I thought I’d work for an agency in Chicago. Now, I’m going into a role unrelated to my major. I’m excited.

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