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J.P. Morgan Manager and Recent Grad, Dan Weldon (’17), Makes a Case for Liberal Arts

February 6, 2019

Dan Weldon Alumni SociologyDan Weldon (‘17) is an ambitious man. As a Regulatory Controls Manager at J.P. Morgan in Chicago, he is showing that a degree in sociology can be beneficial in the business world.

Weldon, originally from northern Chicago, transferred to Finlandia University after spending two years majoring in business at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I started off my undergrad feeling influenced to major in business, but I didn’t like it,” said Weldon. “I took a sociology class and a professor at Pittsburgh told me I should switch my major because I was doing well in the course, and I agreed.”

Weldon loved the idea of studying how societies and politics worked while also learning how people think in their every day routine. When he decided to leave Pittsburgh, he took a gap year before deciding to transfer to Finlandia and commit himself to a degree in sociology.

“I wanted something away from the big city and I have some Finnish blood and had heard of Finlandia,” said Weldon on his reason why he chose Finlandia. “I wanted someplace off the grid so I couldn’t be distracted by all a big city and big college have to offer.”

Weldon excelled at Finlandia and dove knee deep into his sociology degree and experiences. He founded the Philosophy Club and was a co-founder of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Club. Despite his success, Weldon admitted that finding a job after college was difficult.

He accepted a position as a car salesman to help make ends meet; an experience he referred to as “grueling.”

“I’m a people person, but I don’t like taking advantage of people so that was a complete forfeiture of my passions,” said Weldon. “My main priority was simply getting out of there as quickly as possible.”

Weldon relied on his skills from college and kept applying for jobs. Eventually, he was offered a position at J.P. Morgan as a Senior Investment Servicing Specialist.

“I think it’s really difficult as a liberal arts major to get your foot in the door somewhere,” he said. “That position was a process-based role and they wanted somebody who could quickly look through documentation, which was something I had definitely done in my courses at Finlandia.”

One of the advantages to working for such a large organization is the ability to move vertically. With some aggressive networking, Weldon received a promotion at the end of 2018 and moved into a position he enjoys much more. He is a Regulatory Controls Manager and helps implement policy changes in the bank at high levels. Weldon said his background in sociology helped him impress the Executive Director who was interviewing him.

“I like to think analytically and outside the box on multiple levels,” he said. “At Finlandia, in sociology and philosophy, they encourage thinking on the micro and macro scale. I think a lot of people in the working world either can’t do that or lose track of that over time.

“I tried to think outside the box and insert a fresh opinion where I could and think deeper about a lot of average things people take for granted in their day-to-day routines. When I was interviewing for my current position, the executive director who was interviewing me was impressed by my ability to not speak out the cliches and think about things three steps down the pathway.”

Despite the initial setbacks after graduation, Weldon said he doesn’t regret majoring in sociology.

“My biggest epiphany lately has been that things may be a complete mess after graduating, but if you utilize your skills you learned in your studies, that grueling effort might be short-lived,” he said.

His advice for recent graduates and graduating seniors? Focus on the soft skills.

“Take advantage of the soft skills sociology provides of how to be an analytical critical thinker, and learn how to speak and have confidence when expressing ideas,” said Weldon. “You will come out of college an intelligent individual who can speak their mind clearly, and that’s just as valued if not more than the hard technical skills because employers want intelligent people working for them.”

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