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        Finance, Industry

        Regions Bank doubles down on its commitment to Harbert students

        January 22, 2021 By Harbert College of Business

        All News



        Tim Monte, Executive Vice President at Regions Bank, spent time with students in Harbert College's Financial Management Association at a recruiting reception last year.

        "Financial Management Association students have a passion for education, a passion for excellence, a passion for collaboration borne out of their experiences in FMA. That’s the kind of student we want to invest in, and Harbert has an extraordinary cohort of highly desirable and diverse candidates to choose from."                                                                                                                                                                               — Tim Monte, Executive Vice President, Regions Bank

        Harbert College is dedicated to partnering with employers and alumni to increase student participation in high-impact
        experiential learning opportunities.

        Tracy Richard, a Lecturer in the Finance Department of the Harbert College of Business and Director of the college's Integrated Financial Leadership Program, leads the development of programs and curriculum that drive advanced student preparation and placement for top Finance students, including Auburn’s Financial Management Association (FMA) and the Auburn Student Investment Fund (ASIF).

        fmaWe recently spoke with Tracy about the role Regions Bank has played in furthering the education and professional development of Harbert Finance students through its sponsorship of FMA, funding dozens of internships, and the bank’s extensive track record of hiring Harbert graduates. Leading that effort for Regions over the past five years is Tim Monte, Executive Vice President at Regions, who shared with us about this vibrant and growing relationship.

        HCOB: Thank you for agreeing to speak with us, Tim. Let’s start with how you became involved with Harbert to begin with.

        Monte: It all started with Tracy, really, and her vision for FMA at Harbert. She was a banker by trade before coming to Harbert – that’s a key factor, she knows the industry inside and out. But even more important than that is her insight into Harbert Finance students – their capabilities, their skill sets, their desires – and how all of that might fit into a career at Regions. So, we spend a lot of time with Tracy as we recruit candidates for our internships and our post-graduation hiring plans.


        Tim Monte, Executive Vice President, Regions Bank

        We want to make sure the fit is a good one for Regions and to make sure that the interns and graduates we place are going to be in an area of the bank that matches up with their skillset, their desire for long-term success. We don't want to bring a student in for just the ten-week internship. We want to bring a student in for the internship with a goal of making a match that translates into a new Regions associate post-graduation.

        HCOB: Where does FMA fit into this process, particularly when it comes to the internships and entry-level positions Regions offers?

        Monte: Workplace culture is key, and we have a very inclusive, teamwork-oriented culture. And we welcome interns who share that approach. FMA plays a big role in that. But let’s first look at who we are talking about when it comes to a student who participates in Auburn’s FMA program. They are the best of the best, in my opinion, first from a scholastic perspective – GPA, courses taken, etc. – but also from a commitment standpoint. The term I would use is “passion” – FMA students have a passion for education, a passion for excellence, a passion for collaboration borne out of their experiences in FMA. That’s the kind of student we want to invest in and Harbert has an extraordinary cohort of highly desirable and diverse candidates to choose from.

        HCOB: So, let’s say I’m a high-performing Finance student at Harbert, a member of FMA and I’ve been selected for an internship at Regions – can you walk me through what should I expect?

        Monte: First, you should know that we will do our best to place you in a role and division of the bank that fits your experience and interest, be it corporate finance, capital markets, client coverage, credit products and many others. That’s the starting point, but it doesn’t end there. Our interns and new hires are exposed to a wide range of operations and associates at the bank – they are not siloed.

        I want to emphasize that this initial area of focus for our interns doesn’t always result in a perfect fit. While obviously we're looking at them as a potential hire into the group that they're interning in, sometimes they come in and they realize, you know, wow, this other area is really interesting – perhaps I’d be interested in that area instead.

        HCOB: Beyond the work these students perform during their internships, what does Regions get out of this?

        regionsMonte: We believe in the value of internships. Quite frankly, it's beneficial for all of us that the student gets a 10-week view of the culture that exists within Regions, to see if it is a good fit for them. And we get the benefit of a 10-week interview with them – not just a series of 30-minute conversations – that is something that's really important for us.

        HCOB:  We understand that not all internships result in a student being hired by Regions upon graduation, can you discuss that a bit?

        Monte: Sure, and that’s an important point – not all students who intern with us will eventually receive an offer of employment and not all students offered a job upon graduation will choose Regions. But that doesn’t lessen the value of that internship for either of us. One thing to realize is that students are starting internships far earlier than when I was in school. Back then, you might have taken an internship as a junior and you hoped to transition that into an offer once you graduated. What you're seeing now is a lot of internships and programs start as early as their sophomore year. While sophomores aren't the norm for us, for certain situations we do offer them.

        So, no, not everybody who takes an internship will get an offer. But I try to tell students that an internship is always a good idea, whether it ends up with a full-time position at Regions or not.

        HCOB: Can you expand on what you mean by that?

        Monte: Let’s say you accept an internship at Regions or another company in the financial services industry and you realize that’s just not the profession for you. That’s not a wasted internship – quite the contrary – it’s extremely valuable insight as you prepare to launch your professional career.

        Why? Because longer term, if you're getting into a profession – whether that's in banking or some other field – for the wrong reasons, perhaps it's money, prestige or whatever the reason is, that's only going to get you so far if you are not happy with that choice. We want students who not only are top quality, but also have a commitment – again, a passion – that aligns with our culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We want to build a workforce that represents the communities we serve.

        HCOB: That seems like a great message to end with. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

        Monte: Yes. I want to reiterate that the lion’s share of credit for the success of the Harbert/Regions relationship goes to Tracy – I can’t express how thankful we are for what she’s built at FMA and its impact on the bank. One example of what that’s meant to us and Harbert students is what’s happened over the past ten months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

        When things started shutting down last March, we could have done what many other companies did and simply cancel plans for our internship programs – nobody would have given it a second thought. But we didn’t. In fact, we maintained our commitment to the internships we had planned with Harbert, only this time on a virtual level. That’s a testament to the confidence we have in Tracy, in Harbert and in the work we are doing together to prepare students for a world of finance that continues to evolve.

        Finally, between 2015 and last year we’ve hired 32 Harbert students into our Emerging Talent Program – but we will be going above and beyond that for 2021, adding another 16 hires. That’s a 50 percent increase in just one year over the number of hires we’ve done over the first four years of our relationship.

        If that’s not an indication of a win-win relationship, I don’t know what is.