A photo of Julio Arreola with the Chicago River and city skyline behind him

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Invested in internships

Monday, February 1, 2021

With a dream job already lined up after graduation, Finance major Julio E. Arreola is looking forward to spring Commencement.

“I’ve grown a lot professionally and that has a lot to do with Northeastern,” said Arreola, a graduate of Prosser Career Academy. “It’s helped me a lot in terms of getting to know people. It’s taught me how to be proactive and resourceful.”

After completing an internship with ORIX Real Estate Capital Holdings, LLC, an international financial services group with headquarters in Japan, he’s accepted a position as an analyst for Lument, a brand of ORIX. Through their associate development program, Arreola will work on financial analyses for underwriting senior housing, healthcare and affordable housing. 

This was Arreola’s fifth internship in the past four years, working with companies such as AIG and CBRE, the largest commercial real estate services company in the world. Arreola credits his internships to the power of networking.

“I can’t preach this enough, but mentorship and networking, getting advice from seasoned professionals who’ve walked the path before, is so valuable,” Arreola said. “To get advice from someone else's point of view is incredibly helpful.”

Arreola is from Chicago, and as a first-generation high school graduate and first-generation college student he feels the need to not only succeed for himself, but also to set an example for his younger siblings.

“Coming from a background of two immigrant parents, I can’t let them down,” Arreola said. “I have two younger brothers and I have to set the bar very, very high because if I set the bar high for them, even if they come up a little bit short they can continue to go higher.”

Arreola’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Michoacán, Mexico. Their struggles to make a better life for themselves and their family inspires Arreola to make his family proud. 

“I know it wasn’t easy for them to come into this country, with little to no money in their pockets, not knowing English,” Arreola said. “If I don’t make something of myself, that would be disgraceful in a way. I just want to show them that I appreciate all the hard work they did and show them who I’m becoming and be able to thank them later on in life.”

Arreola’s uncle would talk to him about investing from a young age, and those conversations piqued his interest in finance.

“My uncle would always talk about the stock market,” Arreola said. “He didn’t really have a lot of schooling, but he invested in stocks. When I was a teenager I asked, ‘What are stocks?’ It’s an extremely difficult thing to teach a 15-year-old. I wanted to find out more so I started reading books like ‘Investing for Beginners 101.’ I just wanted to learn everything. If I don’t understand something I get kind of upset until I can find an answer that makes sense to me. I just started reading a lot of books about stocks, which gave me a glimpse into the economy and how everything is just intermingled and it was fascinating to me.”

Arreola struggled a bit academically for his first two years of high school. He also wasn’t extremely social and felt that he was too shy to be a good public speaker. Once he came to Northeastern, that changed. 

“I kind of found a home with Northeastern,” Arreola said. “It’s a great atmosphere and has a great vibe. I fell in love with the culture of the school.” 

For the last two years, Arreola has served as president of Northeastern’s Investment Society/Finance Club. It was dormant for about two years before he stepped in and got involved. He also got involved with Northeastern’s International Business Conference, and had the opportunity to attend the national Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) convention in Nashville, Tenn., in 2019.

“When I had the idea to recreate the Finance Club, many professors were supportive, including Brian Langenberg and Huong (Anne) Le,” Arreola said. “They were extremely open to helping me recruit.” 

Arreola said at the ALPFA convention, which he attended with another student, he could see how hard staff members Lynette Correa-Velez and Diana Valdez worked not only to inform more companies about Northeastern, but also to promote Arreola and his fellow student. 

“Lynette and Diana were actively talking to recruiters the entire trip to talk up the school and let people know who we are,” Arreola said. “That kind of work goes hand in hand with the faculty. I saw how active Diana and Lynette would be in talking to recruiters and also ensure that we, as students, were getting to know people. Whenever they would talk to someone they would say, ‘Hey Julio, have you met this person?’  It was just another way they made me believe Northeasten’s faculty truly cares about the success of students and the University.”

Lagenberg, who is currently an instructor for one of Arreola’s classes, was impressed with his desire to reform Northeastern’s Investment Society and was glad to support his efforts by becoming the faculty advisor for the club.

“First, half of life is showing up,” Langenberg said. “The other half is what you do. Julio is a great example of that. He showed up and made a point of getting involved. The Finance Club had dissipated and he took the initiative to not only start it up again, but to get guest speakers.”

Langenberg, who previously served as the College of Business and Management internship coordinator, said that in spite of what some may think, this is a great time for students to look for internships because in the current climate, it shows an employer that a student is motivated. 

“Internships give students the ability to create a proven track record of success and give students basic business skills to navigate the business culture,” Langenberg said. “They also help students figure out what they really want to do and what they don’t want to do. Ideally, students should be planning their career path at least 18 months before graduation. What Julio did is he made plays to get quality internships and be an inspiration to others.”

Arreola said he never expected to get some of the internships he received, but because he chose to reach out, find mentors and network, he’s opened career opportunities that were greater than he knew would be possible. 

“My mentors have shown me I have to get out there now, while I’m young, because it’s the most important time in my life,” Arreola said. “I never would have thought I would have gotten my foot into the door at CBRE or ORIX. The ORIX internship was in Columbus, Ohio. They flew me out. They paid for my hotel. I interviewed with about 20-30 other potential interns on just one of their several days of internship interviews. Out of a pool of 60-plus possible interns, they only hired three and I was one of them. Participating in clubs shows employers that you’re not just about talking the talk. It shows that you’re involved and you care. It might be finance, marketing, dance, acting—whatever sector you’re in, get involved in some way and utilize the power of networking.” 

Arreola said he believes he’s found his true calling in working in real estate and is thankful that he was able to explore and grow in his interests at Northeastern because he doesn’t believe he would have had the same experiences anywhere else. 

“Northeastern’s faculty understands that students aren’t robots,” Arreola said. “Some of us have part-time or full-time jobs while going to school full-time. They understand that we’re human, that things may be going on at home, that we’re not perfect.”

He also believes that Northeastern’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity and embracing multiculturalism, not only makes the University unique, but helps students feel like they’re welcome, which encourages them to succeed.  

“I have a lot of friends at other schools and some don’t feel they belong there in many instances,” Arreola said. “Their schools don’t give students as much support through events or activities that cater to their cultures, and that makes a difference. Northeastern helps students feel at home. It’s catapulted my personal and professional life to a new level.”

Top photo: Julio Arreola