Connections help senior secure competitive financial advisor internship

JaMarcus OBanner smilingJaMarcus O’Banner ’23 has big dreams and an even bigger heart. While many students begin their college days eager to experience new adventures, JaMarcus stepped foot on campus focused on one goal. He was going to work hard on the football field and in the classroom to pursue a career as a financial advisor to make a positive impact in people’s lives. 

The Chicagoland native witnessed the financial struggles of his community. His parents practiced smart money habits because they wanted JaMarcus to have access to all the opportunities they didn’t have. JaMarcus learned from them and wants to pass down his knowledge to those who struggle with financial illiteracy. 

“Financial literacy provides freedom. I want everyone to smile and know their house and food are secure,” he said. 

JaMarcus is double majoring in economics and business administration. His summer has been booked with a college financial representative internship at Northwestern Mutual in Cedar Rapids. The interview process was a demanding and competitive multi-step process. With each interview, JaMarcus received a new task, and in total, he led a market survey and earned two licenses to work with life, health and disabilities insurances. 

“It’s no joke. They are one of the top in the country after all,” he laughed. 

The process of being named an intern at Northwestern Mutual all started last spring. JaMarcus shared his career goals with one of his mentors on campus, Instructor Kathy Welsh. She introduced him to C3: Creativity, Careers, Community Director of Careers Nanci Young. 

C3 cultivates and manages Coe’s robust network of alumni, employers and community partners eager to provide Kohawks with civic engagement, volunteer, internship and job opportunities. This work is nationally recognized by The Princeton Review — Coe ranks 10th in the Best Schools for Internships category and 20th for Best Alumni network among private schools. 

Soon after meeting with JaMarcus, Nanci coordinated a meeting to connect him with employees at Northwestern Mutual which resulted in the opportunity to pursue this internship.

“It’s a technical position and they talked about getting hands-on to get a feeling on what it would be like to work as a financial advisor. They talked about their values and those values aligned with me,” he said. 

In his role, JaMarcus meets with prospective clients to discuss their financial goals. And with the help of his colleagues, JaMarcus leads the process of creating a financial plan for each individual client. 

He does all this while staying true to the lesson he learned from his favorite management class at Coe. 

“Ultimately, to be successful is to care about others. Listen with your heart instead of your ears,” he said. 

Are you ready to make your career goals happen? With 100% of Kohawks completing an internship, research or off-campus study program, come see us to learn how you can get a headstart. Schedule an in-person or virtual visit at

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