The Catholic University of America

Molly Thompson

Senior Maps Out a Career

Senior Molly Thompson knows exactly where she will be after commencement in May. The economics and finance major was hired last month for full-time employment following graduation with the international financial services provider, J.P. Morgan.

Her path to a full-time job began with a decision in her sophomore year, she said, to attend one of the CUA on Wall Street events, sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences. At the events, students network with alumni who have made careers in the world of finance.

One of the alumni contacts she made led to an internship this past summer with the operations branch of J.P. Morgan’s corporate development program. She was assigned to the treasury services department of an office in New York City.

“The internship is also called the 10-week interview,” Thompson said. “You’re being interviewed throughout your 10-week working process, but you’re also interviewing them, so you can decide if you want to work for them.”

The internship feeds into J.P. Morgan’s two-year operations analyst training program, where Thompson will begin after Commencement in May.

Thompson attributed her success as an intern to her ability to build relationships with her co-workers.

“What I loved about my job is I had to get to know 200 people,” she said. “My job was to make things run more smoothly in the [department], but at the same time to make sure everyone who’s working there was happy. I got to talk to people, find out about their lives.”

During her 10 weeks, she developed and implemented a recognition program for the employees of her particular department.

Her recognition program met with success partly because Thompson made a point requesting the input of those she worked with. She would go in to work at night, early in the morning, and on the weekends to make sure employees working every shift had a say in how the program worked.

“I never minded going in early or going in on the weekends. That’s how you know you love your job,” she said. “By the end of the internship people were very comfortable with me. They would come up to me and say, ‘Molly you haven’t talked to us today.’ That made me feel like I was making a little difference. People were feeling like I actually cared, which I did.”

She also developed a program for iPad that would provide visitors and potential clients with a virtual tour of the department. Through her contacts in other departments, including information technology, Thompson was able to obtain an iPad and develop the program. The process culminated in a presentation given with the other interns in her program during an international conference call that included executives from departments in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and elsewhere.

Thompson has never been one to shy away from a challenge. During her junior year, she spent two semesters studying abroad, the first at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and the second at Fudan University in Shanghai.

In addition to taking classes in Chinese culture, religion, and language in Shanghai, she worked for a non-governmental organization (NGO) that focused on promoting corporate responsibility and economic development.

The two semesters brought her different challenges. At Oxford, the graduate-level pace of academic work with individual tutors was difficult, but exhilarating, Thompson said. In China, the cultural and language differences were a big adjustment, particularly because Thompson had no previous experience with Chinese.

“As an international business major, everything I do and hear about is involved with China … I wanted to get a first-hand knowledge of what’s going on,” she said. “I thought of it like an adventure. ‘Let’s go over there. Let’s try something.’”

Thompson found her niche in the economics and finance major during her freshman year.

“Economics is all about these problems. There are all these different variables. You look at the big picture, and I’m very much a big-picture person,” she said. “How do you make the world work together? It’s amazing to think that our economy works, when people have different needs and wants and governments have different regulations. I think it’s just fascinating that everything comes together and that we all work out somehow.”  

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Molly Thompson

Hometown: Antioch, Ill.

Major: International Economics and Finance

Favorite CUA professor: Maria Sophia Aguirre, professor of economics.
“I just love how she challenges you. She pushes you to realize that you can achieve more than you ever thought you could. At the same time, she’s concerned about your whole development as a person. She notices if her students aren’t balanced. If you’re focusing too much on academics and not having enough fun, or if you’re not sleeping enough, she’ll be the first one to tell you.”

Favorite class: Principles of Economics I, University Honors Program.

Fun fact: This year, Thompson serves as a member of the President’s Society.