Meet Joey Benson, a 2018 Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice graduate. He is a wealth manager at Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management and a volunteer with Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing underserved children around the world with shoes. We caught up with him to learn more about his Clemson experience and how it prepared him for his career.
Q: What inspired you to be a sociology major and then have a career in finance? The reason I was interested in sociology during undergrad was that I have always wanted to help people. My mission in life is to help as many people as I can with as much as I can. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of people, culture and different groups so I could better help in whatever capacity that was. And the sociology program did just that. I have had a job since I was 14, and I realized how vital finances are to just about everyone. I went to graduate school to study finance so that I could bridge the gap between my passion for helping people and my passion for finance. Now, I meet with people from all walks of life undergoing different circumstances and help them to live the life they want to live by managing their investments.
Q: Describe your career path since graduation. After graduating from Clemson, I took a solo backpacking trip around Europe. I then attended graduate school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where I earned my Master of Business Administration in international business and a certificate in investment analysis and portfolio management. During my MBA program, I worked for an IT and management consulting firm, helping to optimize reporting processes for the financial sector of the federal government. Shortly after graduating from GW, I moved back to Upstate South Carolina to work for Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management, where I currently am. I am loving every minute of it.
Q: How did Clemson prepare you for your career? Clemson taught me the importance of a strong, rooted community. It equipped me with the necessary foundation to continue my education, and it helped me find a way to bridge the gap between my passion for helping people and my passion for finance. I work with an array of people, challenges and investments every day. I have to be understanding of each situation, knowledgeable about a multitude of different strategies, and creative to piece together a winning solution. Clemson helped prepare me for each area of focus in my career, and my clients and I are all the better for it.
Q: What is a typical day/work week like? I meet with people to understand their goals, wants and needs, and then I work with them in creating a tailored investment solution that will support their unique circumstances.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job? By far, the most rewarding part is being able to help people live a life that they want to live, whether it’s spending more time with the people they care about, leaving a lasting legacy to their children or being able to retire early.
Q: Do you volunteer with any organizations or community groups? I have volunteered with Samaritan’s Feet International since the summer leading into my senior year at Clemson as part of an internship. I was their outreach, missions and volunteer relations intern for the summer. My role consisted of leading volunteer groups and hosting open houses and fundraisers, and I also went on one of their mission trips to Nicaragua. The mission of Samaritan’s Feet is to see a world with no shoeless children. At Samaritan’s Feet, they take donations of new shoes; process them by size, style and shape; and distribute them around the world through different mission groups. Each mission group will take with them hundreds of shoes to their destination, meet with and relate to the kids and elders of the community, and then give them a new pair of shoes.
Q: Any advice to students wanting to pursue a similar job or career? It’s all about helping people. Don’t ever lose sight of that.
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