Alvarez_WPVenezuelan native José Alvarez is determined to become an international investment banker. That decision led him to USF even though, he admits, he knew that it would not be an easy journey.

Alvarez understood the difficulty of becoming an investment banker, so he actively pursued internships each summer. In 2012, he interned with Linio.com.ve, a start-up retailer. In 2013, he participated in a rotational program at Banco Venezolano de Credito. And in 2014, he served as a campus ambassador for Bloomberg LP, introducing the Bloomberg Aptitude Test to USF.

Alvarez appreciated these internships but wanted to land a coveted spot at a Wall Street firm. He took a flight to New York City to meet with the only person he knew in the city, seeking advice and asking to build a mentoring relationship. Two months later, he was back in the Big Apple for a freshman project at Barclays investment bank, one of just 30 students selected from more than 300 applicants nationwide.

He knew the experience with Barclays could help him land another internship later on, though he didn’t realize just how competitive the industry could be. Alvarez cold-called 40+ investment bankers, and his persistence paid off. He took another self-funded trip to New York City to network and, by early spring, was invited to participate in two final round interviews at investment banks. Though he was one of just a few non-Ivy Leaguers at each day, Alvarez received an offer from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He will participate in the firm’s investment banking summer analyst class.