Abby Kirkman is a senior finance major with complementary majors in Spanish and businesss information systems. She is from Martinsvile, Indiana.
You recently were named the FSB Student of the Year. Tell me a little bit about your time in the FSB and some of the things you’re most proud of.
It’s obviously been a great experience. I really enjoyed my time there. A lot of my story with the FSB has really just been taking advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to me and trusting and my professors. Brock Vaughters is my advisor so I’ve been just doing what he says. I know it’s really easy for students to kind of discount what they’re saying and to say professors don’t get it because they’re not in our shoes, but they do get it. They made it through all of this, so I really just try to do everything they tell me to do, whether that be taking classes that are recommended or being a part of Enactus for a couple of years. You put in your time so then you can focus on your studies and other things that interest you a little bit more later on.
You have a job lined up in Chicago once you graduate. Tell me a little bit about how you got started there and what your role will be within that company.
I’m going to be working at a company called Performance Trust. I got connected with it because I told Dr. Vaughters that I needed an internship. I had an internship the summer after my sophomore year, but it was not somewhere I wanted to work, so I knew I just needed another internship. I was thinking that a lot of times they can lead to jobs after your senior year, and I was fortunate enough to have that happen to me. It all started because Dr. Vaughters knew someone who knew someone who was in this company and then I told him I wanted an internship. He was already interested in learning more about this company, so he was more than willing to set this up for me. A lot happened there and I went to the interviews and made it through, and then they offer positions for three or four of the eight interns to come back. Then I found out at the end of August that I’d been offered a job. So that’s awesome.
What will your role look like once you’re there full-time?
I will be a financial analyst on a sales team. It’s not your typical sales job. I’m not cold calling people, because our clients are banks, so we manage the bond portfolios for banks. It’s more of the analysis side of sales and calling our clients and explaining to them how the portfolio is doing or where they can improve and things like that. I’ll be in an analyst development program for the first six months so that’ll be nice to get reacclimated to everything I learned last summer. I’ll be getting my Series-7 and Series-63 licenses as well.
Tell me a little bit more about how Dr. Vaughters has played a role in your four years here.
I’m not someone who will ever admit they can’t do something. He really likes to challenge all of his students, but I’m not someone to just walk away from that. When he asked me how I felt about going to Chicago I was up for the challenge. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do accounting or finance back in my sophomore year, and he’s a big part of the reason I chose finance He seems to love what he does and he’s really knowledgeable, so I went that route. Now any minor decisions I have to make he’s just a really good person to talk to about it. For example, I’m with this company now, but I was offered to interview for another position within the same company. I went and talked to him about it and he just gave me great advice about it. It’s really nice to have someone like that to talk to not only as an advisor but also as a friend.
What did it mean to you to be recognized by the FSB at IndyMix?
It was awesome. I did not know coming in that I was going to be recognized, I was just asked to give a speech. It was really cool and really reaffirming because you kind of just work through everything and try your hardest while you know that your work will probably go unrecognized. Normally I do my work and think it’s not that big of a deal and I’m not doing it to be recognized but it’s really cool to see that people actually noticed.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That’s a really tough question. I’m going into the private sector now, but there has to be some good that comes out of it. I’m really excited about the company and it’s a wonderful company, but I think I will work for more mission-focused company later on, whether that’s a nonprofit or not I’m not really sure. It’s weird, but I’ve had a couple professors who talk to me and ask me ‘Hey, have you ever thought about coming back and teaching?’ I was just so surprised by that. Obviously, it’d be super cool to come back and teach here one day. It’s cool to see God placing those ideas in my life and possibly opening those doors down the road. Now, I don’t know if that’ll happen or if it’ll be a similar role somewhere else. I don’t think I’ll still be in Chicago in 10 years, but I think it’s definitely a great first step.
I just feel like I’ve been blessed in so many ways in my life. I’ve had such an easy life and I don’t deserve it. It’s the least I could do to give some of that back. Going around and trying to make a bunch of money and giving that back is great, but I think there needs to be a greater purpose than all of that. I’m just wanting to make sure that I’m going to work every day to make the world a better place.