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After graduation, Matthew will return to New York to work for Barclays in their investment bank. “I had the great pleasure of working for Barclays after my junior year in their summer analyst program, which the Wake Forest alumni network played a crucial role in this process,” Matthews says. “I am so grateful for the continued support and guidance.”

Q: How have you changed since arriving on campus?

A: I never thought I would become so committed to the Wake Forest community. Wake Forest has taught me what it means to be a part of something larger than myself. I have made lifelong friends and have certainly grown up and matured along the way. I have changed from a curious and zealous teenager, to a committed, passionate and persistent young adult, for which I can thank Wake Forest.

Q: Describe your study abroad experience.

A: I had the great pleasure of studying in Madrid, Spain, for five months. Spanish has always been a passion of mine, and I love speaking the language. Coupled with my finance major, it was an incredible opportunity to learn about our global financial markets and gain a unique perspective on a different economy. I am grateful for the knowledge I acquired and lifelong relationships I formed with students from Wake Forest and other universities. I remember sitting in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Real Madrid F.C.’s stadium) and taking one look around. As an avid soccer fan, this was a dream come true — sitting among some of the greatest soccer fans in the world, watching the greatest team in the world compete and realizing how fortunate I was to be a part of this experience.

Q: Where is the one place on campus you will miss most?

A: Farrell Hall has been an inspirational cornerstone of my academic career. I am very grateful that I had one year to study in this magnificent facility. While Farrell Hall may be a brand new building, I feel as if I have become a part of its history. After speaking at the dedication in November of 2013, I was able to meet the generous donors and families that made the building possible. While I will certainly miss Farrell Hall, I am so happy that others will be able to share this great place and create memories for years to come as I have. I am grateful for all the friends and memories I’ve made at Wake Forest, and I will miss my time on Reynolda Campus and, of course, all of the special times at 1101 Polo Road.

Q: Of all the people who have influenced you during your time at Wake Forest, who would you most like to thank?

A: I would like to make note that there have been so many incredible faculty, staff and administrators who have made lasting impressions and have influenced me in my tenure at Wake Forest – thank you all. As a finance major, I clearly remember the first day of Principles of Finance with professor Sherry Jarrell when I was a sophomore. Professor Jarrell entered the room with a warm sense of energy and dedication that lit up the class. Her profound knowledge of finance and enthusiastic sense of humor was immediate as she began teaching the course. Her care and compassion for her students was equally evident. Professor Jarrell always makes sure her students are on track for success. She took an immediate interest in my academic performance and outside passion for microfinance. We worked on a regular basis to discuss financial events and a viable approach to developing a local microfinance institution. It was so amazing that such a talented and knowledgeable professor would be guiding me as I began a new journey. I am fortunate to have maintained a strong relationship with professor Jarrell, and I am confident we will stay in touch after graduation.

There are faces of Wake Forest who continue to influence me each and every day, and will continue to do so as I graduate. I think great leaders such as Dean of the Business School Steve Reinemund and Mr. Jim Dunn, the University’s chief investment officer, are two fantastic professionals I aspire to emulate throughout my lifetime. Wake Forest has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities and mentors.

Q: What shared values do you feel unite the Wake Forest community?

A: Simply stated, the Wake Forest community is a special place, and there is no place like it. We educate the whole person and accept people from all walks of life. Pro Humanitate is in our DNA, and I have learned that there is a lot more to business than financial success. Business isn’t just doing well; it is doing good, and most importantly, leading lives that matter. Attaining results with integrity is the only way to operate. It is all of these values that bring us together and make the Wake Forest community a community I will be a part of forever.

Q: What is the best advice you were given during your four years at Wake Forest?

A: As a first-year, a senior told me to take risks in all aspects of my life. He said, ‘take risks academically, socially, professionally and you will succeed.’ Four years later, it is fair to say that this advice was incredible. As I enter the workforce, I will not be afraid to take leaps professionally and challenge myself in all facets of my life. I have learned to take risks and make educated decisions, but most importantly to go for it. I think Wayne Gretzky’s words are worth repeating, ‘you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ So as I leave Wake Forest, I will put my best foot forward and remember what it means to take risks to achieve high reward.