Fast track in the venture capital industry: Jennifer Schwall '11
At one point in her award-winning Bryant career, Jennifer Schwall ’11 received a crash course in the two worlds of investments: early stage private markets and publically traded markets.
Part of this instruction occurred during an internship at Cherrystone Angel Group, a Providence-based company that offers early-stage investment funding to growth companies. The remainder took place through the Archway Investment Fund at Bryant, an academic program that allows students to learn investment principles by managing a real portfolio in a simulated trading room.
A finance major, Schwall was drawn to the risk of the early stage nature of venture capital investment, where companies are still moldable. Starting as an intern, she was fast-tracked at Cherrystone Angel Group and now holds the top job at the firm: executive director, managing operations as their newly appointed executive director.
Schwall came to Bryant with an entirely different career path in mind: corporate attorney. She earned a minor in legal services, but it was finance that she was most attracted to. “My professors really channeled my passion for business and love of math into a major in finance,” she says.
"My professors really channeled my passion for business and love of math into a major in finance."
The internship at Cherrystone Angel Group was influential in helping her to decide on a career in the venture capital industry. “Executive Director Peter Dorsey was adamant about making sure that I was learning during the entire year-long internship, including my getting involved in value-added projects and attending educational workshops on angel investing,” she says.
Following the internship, Schwall knew she wanted to be in the industry. Cherrystone offered her a position that allowed her to continue exploring a career path in early stage investing.
Schwall sums up her Bryant education with one word: priceless. “The University has world-class faculty who will become your mentors along the way—regardless of your major—and the integration of business and liberal arts gives students a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” she says. “Everyone on campus has a vested interest in your success, and that is clear the second you walk on campus.”
Schwall stays in touch with faculty members and students at her alma mater. She has worked with Bryant interns and recently became a mentor for the Bryant Ventures program.