In an effort to recruit future bankers and grow the talent pool available for the banking industry of Wisconsin, WBA continues to work with colleges around the state to host Careers in Banking Panels.  

Our latest stop was at UW-La Crosse on October 22. Bankers from the area attended and shared their perspective on what a career in community banking could look like for the students. A special thank you to the following bankers for participating on the UW-La Crosse panel, which was moderated by UW-L faculty member and former banker Curt Brye

  • Emily Bradley, Director of Talent Acquisition, First Business Financial Services, Madison 
  • Mariah Langrehr, Business Banking Officer, Citizens State Bank, La Crosse 
  • Heather Monk, Branch Manager, State Bank Financial, La Crosse  
  • Paul Larsen, Senior Vice President, Citizens First Bank, Viroqua 
  • Abby Norland, VP – Branch Manager, BMO Harris Bank, La Crosse 

Panelists shared how community banks differ from the investment banks that students may be familiar with from seeing various movies. Instead, the message was shared that community banks are only as successful as the communities they serve. It’s that relationship that allows a community banker to showcase their talents as leaders in their communities through their volunteerism and desire to help their communities grow and prosper. 

While community banks may operate on a smaller scale than Wall Street, it’s important to remember that banks are still businesses – meaning there are many roles needed within the bank to make it successful. While many students are familiar with the role of the teller and lender and others you may see in a branch, there’s an abundance of roles available in community banking. From compliance and loan support staff to marketing and HR, to IT and Security, there are so many more roles to fill in community banks. Another bonus for working in a community bank - there are often opportunities to grow in your career over time and learn new skills. 

Students also asked the panelists for career advice and how to best prepare for and have successful interviews. Skills for banking and the roles involved can certainly be learned. Instead, panelists shared how they look for someone with the right attitude. Someone who shows energy and who will take initiative. Of course, customer service experience and the ability to work with people is always a bonus. Before an interview, the panelists suggested doing research on the company they’re going in to. Doing their research will show the employer they they’re interested and will likely make them stand out from the rest.  

WBA’s Careers in Banking Panels are just getting started for the school year. WBA will be at UW-Madison School of Business on Monday, November 4, and at UW-Oshkosh on Tuesday, November 12. Plans are being made to host panels in spring 2020 at UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Milwaukee and possibly more. If you are interested in participating on an upcoming banker panel, or simply attending an event to network with students, please join us! Contact WBA education via email or at 608-441-1250 to share your interest.