As a Naperville, Ill., native, Lucas Harder's adjustment to living in Columbus, Ohio, as an intern for a boutique investment bank isn't all that remarkable.
The experience the Albion College junior who qualified for the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship and achieved distinction as a Scholar All-American last season is having with his boss and students at The Ohio State University has been remarkable, though.
"I chose to intern at Lawrence Evans & Co, because this internship gave me a rare opportunity to gain experience in investment banking," Harder, a finance major who is concentrating in Albion's Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, said. "Also my boss, Neil Johnson, '98, was a member of the '94 National Championship football team and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar. So it has been great to connect our experiences we've shared at Albion and the Division III national level of competition."
In the workplace, Harder has gained an appreciation for his liberal arts education at Albion as he works with a variety of companies while being exposed to every stage in the deal making process.
"I certainly wasn't expecting to be given the level of responsibility I currently have as an intern. This plunge into investment banking has forced me to both learn and grow quickly," Harder began. "I have been involved with developing pitch books and financial models to present to prospective clients in the healthcare and transportation industries. Prior to constructing these models I am responsible for proper due-diligence and account auditing to ensure we display our client's company financials in rock solid formatting. Lastly, I frequently attend meetings to assist in the negotiating process. I have been tasked with reaching out to key company acquisition targets as well as building relationships with private equity groups for future business."
"Albion's swimming coach, Jake Taber, was able to enrich my experience by finding some Ohio State athletes that I could live with during my time in Columbus," Harder added. "In a lot of ways it almost feels like I have transferred to Ohio State for a semester."
Harder noted his Ohio State experiences included attending one of Hillary Clinton's rallies on the heart of campus and meeting former Buckeye basketball All-American Greg Oden.
"I have worked on sell side advisories for medical billing and mobile trailer repair companies as well as attending meetings to assist in the negotiating process," he added. "This variety keeps me engaged and ensures my workflow is fresh each and every day that I come to work."
"Coming from Albion I thought it would be a little intimidating working with Chartered Financial Analysts, Ivy Leaguers and MBA graduates but I have found that my Albion education has never once left me feeling ill prepared or at a disadvantage to those around me," Harder concluded. "My boss, Neil, is a prime example of how success at Albion correlates directly with success in the professional world."
Next up for Harder will be a return to the Briton swim team ranked 20th in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America Division III survey and with expectations of challenging for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in February.