I’m glad you’re still reading, despite the above quote that to many, might seem cliché or obvious advice. Well, in the case of Devin Bates getting to know his professors got him a behind the scenes look at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank (FED). For those of you who might not know this, there are only 12 branches of the Federal Reserve Bank in the entire country, and they are basically responsible for establishing monetary policy for arguably the wealthiest nation in the world. They don’t let just anybody “get a look around”.
Devin’s visit to the FED is just the latest chapter in a story which began through serendipity and curiosity – a powerful combination. Growing up in Henniker, New Hampshire, it was hard not to take notice of politics. Not only are politics very local in NH, but every 4 years the first-in-the-nation state becomes a bit of a political circus. Being the curious and observant fellow that he is, Devin decided to study Political Science in college. He really wanted to go to school in the “heart” of it all – Washington DC. However, waitlists and expense turned Devin’s attention to UNH, a school he had never really considered, and in the late Spring of 2004 he committed to becoming a Wildcat.
Devin’s interest in politics was not only shaped by NH but also Nicaragua. Having visited Nicaragua twice in high school and starting his own free-trade coffee business, Devin realized that politics is inextricably tied to money, especially on the international stage. This realization led to a decision to major in Economics while at UNH, more specifically Growth Economics.
Devin chose not only to pursue economics as a major, but he chose to pursue it as a sciences degree rather than an arts degree. The highly quantitative nature appealed to Devin’s analytical side. Economic models help Devin make sense of the world and examine strategies intended to help bridge the gap between the rich and poor – on a global scale.
When it comes to scale, Devin does not shy away from BIG. When deciding how best to explore his interest in sailing (which had been ignited as a member of the UNH Sailing Team), Devin decided he wasn’t interested in sailing charters on Lake Winnipesauke. Instead he visited Nantucket Island one weekend his freshman year. As luck would have it while walking down the street he noticed a want ad for help aboard a charter sailboat (more specifically a Friendship Sloop), he called immediately. A few hours later, he had a job on a sailboat, because someone that had been hired months before had just backed out that day. Hurray for serendipity! That sealed Devin’s summers for the next two years.
After his second summer on Nantucket, Devin returned to UNH knowing he could return again to the salty air and barnacles for a third summer, but instead he decided to pursue one of the most competitive internships in the United States and locked it up by Thanksgiving.
When Devin first looked at Eli Lilly as an internship option he basically got the message – “Don’t bother applying, it’s never going to happen.” And that was from Eli Lilly. As a global pharmaceutical giant (over $18 billion in sales in 2007) they made it very well known that if you aren’t applying from one of the the “best” schools you will not be considered. Well, maybe it was Devin’s NH upbringing, or just his self-confidence; he was going to make it happen. So he did his research, kept calling and finally convinced them to grant a phone interview. Two weeks later he was flown out to Indianapolis (Lilly world headquarters), picked up in a limo, interviewed for a full day and offered the internship a week later. During the summer of 2008 Devin was a financial analyst intern at Eli Lilly. When interviewed for this story (December 2008) Devin was deciding whether to accept a full-time position as a financial analyst at Eli Lilly.