Makenley Jean ’20 is pretty modest, and it is hard to get him to talk about himself.
So we will have to let the people who know him do it for him:
“He is a leader.” “A self-starter.” “Driven. Focused. Eager to learn.”
“He is going places.” “A great role model.”
One of the places that Jean is going to this summer is a prestigious JPMorgan Chase & Company internship in Wilmington, Delaware. Jean, an accounting and finance major, was one of only 20 undergraduate students nationwide selected for that company’s 2019 Launching Leaders program.
For select students who self-identify as Black, Hispanic or Native American with an interest in global finance, the program provides an overview of career paths at JPMorgan Chase across its businesses and corporate functions. The program began with a conference in Columbus, Ohio, and, for high performers, paid internships in a JPMorgan Chase company and the possibility of a job offer.
Jean, whose family immigrated from Haiti to Philadelphia in 2012, is in the process of selecting his internship focus, which will allow him to work with a team of finance professionals to expand his knowledge and sharpen his skills through exposure to their global business network.
For Jean, the program is a stepping stone to an MBA in finance and a career in emerging markets. His advisor, Professor David Daniel, says Jean has everything it takes to make it on Wall Street.
“I am interested in emerging markets,” he says. “I want to give back to communities, making investments in more risk markets and initiatives in low-income areas, in American cities like Detroit and in other countries like South Africa, South America and Haiti.”
He is passionate in his belief that “equal opportunity can be created for anyone, wherever they are.” For example, he says, “If you give a nonprofit organization a $10 donation to help people, they ask for more donations to continue helping. If you give me $10 and I invest it in an entrepreneur, instead of giving to them, we help them provide for themselves. It is a win-win for everybody.”
Dr. Sylvester Williams, dean of the College of Business and Management, says that internships are a very important part of student development, allowing them to “hit the ground running.” In fact, he says, they are so important that ESU’s College of Business is moving toward requiring internships. Of the JPMorgan program, he says it is “a very good, vigorous program that is very competitive. You have to be an exceptional student to make it.”
Although only a junior, Jean’s acceptance into the JPMorgan Chase program was no surprise to anyone who knows him. The program looked for candidates with excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to manage and collaborate, along with being intelligent, hard working and interested in global finance.
Curtis Dugar, director of residence life and dining services, says Jean has all of those qualities and then some. Jean is a resident advisor, spending about five hours a day in that role. “I have to be visible,” he says. In his second year as finance chair for the Student Government Association, he also sits on the board of the Student Activities Association. He is also taking six courses this semester and is on the Dean’s List. “I mastered time management in my freshman year,” Jean says with a laugh.
“He is an amazing asset to our community,” Dugar says. “He has the ability to position things so they are digestible, so people understand the bigger picture,” noting that “his residents love him. He is a great role model.”
Of the opportunity at JPMorgan, Jean says modestly, “I am grateful to start with them. It will be quite an experience as a place to get started.” And, he says emphatically, “No matter which school you’ve attended or your background, with equal opportunity anything is possible if someone is determined enough. And I’m very grateful to ESU, especially Debbie Smith at Career Development Services for her guidance throughout the process.”
Jan Dalton, director of business services for ESU’s Student Activity Association, works closely with Jean. “There isn’t anything he can’t do,” she agrees. “He is driven, focused and eager to learn. He wants to go to big places, and I think he will get there.”