Catching up with Wes Haydon ’09 Haydon credits the W&L community for inspiring him and guiding him toward success.
What was your major at W&L, and how does it apply to your career now?
My major was Business Administration. Today I run a healthcare technology company, so many of the financial and management concepts I learned in my major still apply today.
What was your first job after graduation?
I worked as an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan in New York City. I had done the Spring Term internship program with them the summer before I graduated.
How did W&L prepare you for your career?
Many of the classes in my major were applicable to my job right out of school and still are. This was particularly important in my first job because it helped shorten the learning curve. Through leadership positions and networking opportunities, W&L also taught me the importance of communication and relationships in management. Interpersonal skills are such an important part of your career, and Washington and Lee emphasizes that more than many schools. I believe this uniquely prepared me for my career.
What are some of your major or memorable career milestones?
Getting my first job in banking, starting my business, and then the point at which we started hiring more employees in different parts of the country and around the world. It felt like we were really running a company at that point.
Who or what has most inspired you along the way? (Staff, faculty, classmates, internships, alumni, etc.)
That is a tough choice because so many people were important in my W&L journey, but I would have to go with my classmates and alumni. I would not have gotten my first job out of school in a competitive industry and job market (this was right after the Great Recession) without the assistance of classmates and alumni who had done the same internships and jobs guiding me to success. This is one of the greatest benefits of the small community at W&L — people help one another, even if they don’t know one another personally.
What do you miss most about your time at W&L?
I would say two things. First, the small community, where I felt like I really knew many of the people I interacted with daily. It’s much harder to find that in a big city. Second, the ability to spend time learning about topics outside of my career, like philosophy, history and music. To be honest, I didn’t take nearly enough advantage of this when I was at W&L, but these pursuits are just as important to becoming a well-rounded person and contributor to society.
What was the one class you most enjoyed outside of your major, and why?
Geology. We got to spend a lot of time outdoors studying and admiring the environment around Lexington, and as a physical science, it required a completely different skill set than my business major classes. I don’t think I did particularly well in the class, but it was a fun challenge!
What is the one class or professor you wish you could return to campus and take a class with now?
I really enjoyed the religion classes I took with Professor Marks. They opened my mind to understanding other religions at a time when I had only been exposed to my own. I think understanding other people and cultures is so important in this world.
What is one thing on your W&L bucket list that you would still like to accomplish?
Believe it or not, I have not streaked the Colonnade, so that is still on my list!
What advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
While your classes and major are important to building your career, look at your education as the totality of all your experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. W&L is a truly unique place with opportunities to learn and challenge yourself in many ways. You will not often find yourself in such an intellectually stimulating environment, so make the most of it while you can.
Tell a favorite memory in five sentences or less.
I have two related memories from my time in the W&L a cappella group, General Admission. The first was recording our own album in a studio in Charlottesville. It was so cool to experience everything that’s involved in the process. The second was going on tour to alumni chapters in surrounding states during Feb Break. I got to see so many cities and areas I’d never been to before.
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