Chris Behrman ’89 ascribes to the firmly held belief that studying off-campus is an important part of the overall college experience for any student.
“It forces you out of your routine and teaches you important life skills,” he says. “To me, the Washington Program represented a unique opportunity to learn about politics and government firsthand while living in our nation’s capitol. The opportunity to intern with a firm of my choosing was also very attractive. After doing some research, I decided to intern with a firm where I could pursue my interests in both financial services and government affairs.”
Behrman, an Economics major at CMC, participated in the Program in the fall of 1987. As an intern at the national stock brokerage firm, E.F. Hutton, Behrman was part of a team that provided legislative research and analysis for clients.
“I sharpened my business writing skills which have served me well throughout my 25+ year career in commercial banking,” he says. “I was fortunate to work with great team who valued my input and provided lots of helpful guidance and mentorship. A few of the key lessons I learned: come prepared, be yourself and ask a lot of good questions.”
After graduating from CMC, Behrman joined Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles as a financial analyst in their Corporate Banking division. After a couple years working as an analyst on SecPac’s credit and M&A advisory teams, he joined Union Bank of California as a junior banker.
“My goal at the time was to become a relationship manager, where I would be responsible for originating new business and managing client relationships, and this was an important step towards that goal,” he says. “I was promoted to Vice President in 1994 and joined UB’s Loan Syndications group in 1995. For the next 5 years I was responsible for structuring and distributing large banking transactions ($50 million plus) where UB was acting in a lead role.”
In 2000 Behrman took the opportunity to relocate his family to the Pacific Northwest. “I grew up in the Seattle area and it was my long-term goal to move closer to family so my wife and I could raise our kids near their grandparents and cousins in the Seattle area,” he says.
Behrman took a job with a large regional bank in Seattle and worked in various banking and corporate finance roles from 2000-09. In 2009, he joined JP Morgan Chase as a Senior Vice President – the first banker hired on JPM’s Seattle team following the acquisition of Washington Mutual where he was charged with helping JPM build its Commercial Banking practice in Washington State.
For Behrman, this roster of successes all started with the Program. “The program added considerable value to my resume when I was looking for my first job out of college,” he says. “My internship experience in Finance helped me get my first job in banking. The Program helps you grow as an individual and as a leader. Leaders are open to trying new things and they don’t back down from a challenge. The Program challenges you in the classroom and outside the classroom. Looking back, the Program was my first glimpse at ‘real life’ after college.
“The Program is a truly unique program offered by CMC,” Behrman continues. “By participating in the Program, you will get an inside glimpse into U.S. government and politics. Whether you intern on the Hill or elsewhere, you will gain invaluable experience that can be applied in school and beyond. Just as important, you will be part of a tight-knit group where you will develop close friendships with your classmates and professors. I am thrilled that my daughter, Nisha, a junior at CMC, will be participating in the Washington Program this fall!”
And what is Behrman’s fondest memory of participating in the Program?
“It was traveling to New York City with a couple friends from the Program. After taking in some of the usual sites one morning, we managed to ‘fake’ our way into a press conference with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. To this day I have no idea how we got in! We ended up be sitting at a small conference table with Rev. Jackson and a couple journalists from Newsweek and Time magazine. It was a surreal experience that sticks with me to this day!”