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Patrick Nelli

Job Title: Investment Banking, McColl Partners

Current City: Charlotte, NC

Patrick Nelli was one of 20 students named to the first team of USA Today’s 2009 All-USA College Academic Team, which honors students for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.


What are your plans after graduation?

I’ll be working for McColl Partners, an investment bank based in Charlotte, N.C. I’m excited to gain business experience in today’s dynamic market. I eventually would enjoy getting involved in healthcare and more specifically biotechnology. There are a few ways to do this, the most obvious would have been to pursue a Ph.D., but when it came time to apply for a Ph.D. program I became hesitant to commit to a six-year degree. I looked at the other possibilities that would give me extensive business experience and investment banking seemed like the right fit.

How have you grown during the last four years?

I realized that with effort and persistence anything can be accomplished. I learned not to give up on an idea just because others doubt it.

Why did you choose Wake Forest?

I came to Wake Forest because of the balance between work and play that students maintain. I have enjoyed this aspect of student life over the last four years and believe it makes Wake Forest a unique close-knit community.

Did you study abroad?

I performed research in Sydney, Australia, for a summer, and studied in Barcelona, Spain for a semester. Both trips made me realize how enjoyable experiencing other cultures can be.

What was your favorite class?

I took a course on Gaudi architecture in Barcelona that included weekly field trips to various Gaudi works in the city. This type of learning environment cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

What was your most meaningful extra-curricular experience?

The Kappa Alpha fraternity has been a platform to a variety of opportunities. From organizing philanthropic events such as Operation Crimson Gift to planning social events, it has given me leadership experiences that I could not find anywhere else.

Who has influenced you most?

I conducted physics research with Martin Guthold and Keith Bonin, who, over the last four years, became true mentors. I worked on a day-to-day basis with Drs. Guthold, Bonin and Jed Macosko on multiple projects and traveled to conferences all over the world. Tom Phillips (’74, MA ’78), director of the Wake Forest Scholars program, was also an invaluable resource for any and every question I have had along the way.

What makes a Wake Forest education unique?

The relationships that are formed inside and outside the classroom between students and faculty are one-of-a-kind. Wake Forest is small enough to form these relationships but big enough to offer all the academic and social benefits of any university in the country.

What’s your favorite memory of the last four years?

Going to Europe with dozens of great friends. I’ll remember the trips to various European cities for the rest of my life.

What will you miss most about Wake Forest?

Every Saturday in the fall I will miss being in the parking lot preparing for a home football game.

Words of advice for incoming freshmen…

Don’t get too caught up in what other people want for you. Try out as many interests as possible to give yourself an opportunity to fall in love with one or a combination of them. Any time you get a chance, travel.