'BlackGen Capital is my proudest accomplishment'

Alec Dinwiddie

Chicago, Ill.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

My Arts & Sciences education has allowed me to vastly increase my confidence and network, open my mind to learning new concepts and improve my multi-tasking skills. By studying a major in Arts & Sciences, I was forced to take classes outside of my field, and some in areas that I was not familiar with at all. Persevering through hard work and determination inevitably boosted my confidence, influencing me to also continue to have an open mind in future classes and separate endeavors within my life. In addition, due to the requirement to take courses outside of my field, Arts & Sciences allowed me to expand my network beyond people who had very similar interests. For example, taking classes about magical mushrooms, gender studies, culinary science, French storytelling and even yoga have granted me access to an unbelievably talented group of individuals and unexpected friendships that will last a lifetime.

man in fashion show

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity was BlackGen Capital, which launched in fall 2020, premiering as the first minority-owned investment club in Cornell’s history. We have the goal of closing the access gap between underrepresented students and Wall Street. Only 2.1% of senior executives on Wall Street are Black, and Black and Latinx families have only 10% of the wealth of other families. During our first semester, BlackGen's 30 members took part in a 10-week educational series, where students developed personal financial literacy knowledge, as well as technical skills needed to succeed in the field. BlackGen Capital assigned its members to one of four industries that we invest in (energy, healthcare, tech/telecom and consumer), where they conducted thorough research on an equity and presented it to BlackGen Capital’s investment committee. Throughout their training, students had plenty of opportunities to interact with our corporate partners through interview workshops, recruiting events and national conferences, increasing their chances of getting an internship or full-time role. BlackGen Capital, Inc. is officially a non-profit with five chapters (Cornell University, Columbia University, NYU, Georgetown University and the University of Michigan) with more than 200 members. On the national board, I served as the chief corporate relations officer, and the family that we have been able to create and the impact we've had on these students’ lives is my proudest accomplishment and will forever be one of the most important aspects of my life.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

two people by eLab sign

Cornell parties will surely be missed once I’ve graduated. Throughout my freshman year, I made sure to have fun and meet tons of new people, and after developing a decently large network, I decided to begin throwing my own parties, finally building up the courage to buy my own DJ set. With confidence developed from watching various DJs at my own parties, and the acknowledgment of my capability to withstand Cornell’s academic rigor, I began DJing my own parties during senior year, and it’s honestly been a dream come true. Regardless of my growth, having the chance to create an environment where students can take a break from the stress of school and meet new people within the community with smiles on their faces are moments I will cherish forever.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

My family has always been the No. 1 influence on my education. They’ve always inspired me to utilize my studies to advance my knowledge about the world around me so I’m able to provide for the less fortunate throughout my entire career, and they were extremely confident in Cornell’s ability to allocate those opportunities toward their son. I’m extremely excited for graduation because I’ll finally be able to have such a beneficial, gratifying and prestigious education under my belt.


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