Student Profiles

Chris Bixby '07

Chris Bixby

Chris Bixby '07

Majors: Economics and Government
Hometown: Falmouth, Maine

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
My interest in Bowdoin started at a very young age. Because I grew up in southern Maine and my father is a Bowdoin graduate, I was able to visit the college when I was younger and come watch some Bowdoin hockey games at Dayton Arena, the school's ice rink. Although I expressed interest in attending Bowdoin College to my college councilor during my freshman year of high school, she urged me to broaden my college search to ensure that Bowdoin was, in fact, the right fit for me as a student. I spent time during my junior and senior years deciding on the type of school I wanted to attend and visiting these schools. It was important for me to find a school with strong academics, a very close-knit community, and a large student-athlete population. Bowdoin had all of these qualities and the intangible quality that just felt right.

Why did you choose your major?
I was interested in experiencing a true "liberal arts" education, so I enrolled in classes in a variety of concentrations my first year. Freshman year gave me the chance to take courses in psychology, philosophy, history, government, economics, mathematics, and Africana studies. I have always been interested in current events and politics, and I thought I might pursue a career in business. It was a fantastic experience for me to take courses in a range of majors my first year, but I eventually felt that double majoring in government and economics would have real world applications.

The professors I had my first year were very good at showing the practical implications of economic theory, and they influenced my decision to become a major. I also liked how I could take courses that combined ideas from both majors. As an economics major, I took a seminar on public sector economics, which demonstrated the relationship between law and economics. This semester, I am taking a course on the politics of the European Union that also combines ideas from both disciplines to show the economic motives involved in political integration. Both of these classes offered me a framework and insight about how economics are involved in governmental and judicial policy.

What courses and professors have especially inspired you?
My freshman seminar with Professor Jean Yarbrough, titled Exercises in Political Theory, was especially inspiring. The class was a writing-intensive course that focused on the works of political philosophers such as Aristotle, Locke, Tocqueville, Jefferson, and Machiavelli. Although I had heard the names of many of these political commentators, I had never had the chance to study their work. The class size was only fifteen freshmen, and Professor Yarbrough emphasized developing one's own perspective on the class reading and presenting those points of view during class discussion. She was also very good at playing the devil's advocate and questioning our opinions and forcing us to develop them further in papers and class. The class gave me a great opportunity to discuss important political works and analyze and apply the authors' theories to current events.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Since my first year, I have been playing golf for the Bowdoin College golf team with some of my closest friends since freshman year. In fact, many of my friends have just recently realized that I am on a varsity sport team. The group has grown much closer as a team through my four years at the school, and we have become much more competitive as a program. I hope and anticipate that this growth will continue after I graduate.

During the winter, I spend a significant amount of time officiating ice hockey games for high school and preparatory leagues around New England. It has always been extremely important for me to be involved with things on and off campus and break out of the "Bowdoin Bubble."

In the spring, I coach high school lacrosse at Brunswick High School. I started coaching my sophomore year, when the Bowdoin lacrosse coach, Coach Thomas McCabe, encouraged me to apply for a position as a head lacrosse coach at the middle school. After one year coaching middle school boys, I was asked to coach at the high school level. I have respected the time and effort that my youth and high school coaches have given me in the past, and I wanted to find the time to "pay it forward." I have an absolute blast coaching high schoolers, and learn a lot about myself as a coach and person. It also forces me to organize my time between doing work for school and having fun.

Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
I studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden, fall semester my junior year. Until the end of sophomore year, I was apprehensive about studying abroad because I had never really been away from New England. I thought I would have difficulty leaving Maine and Bowdoin to spend four months in a different culture.

However, I had an absolutely incredible time and I truly grew as a person. I was able to experience a new culture, develop new friendships and take different types of classes. The Swedish people were very warm and friendly once you got to know them, and they welcomed me into their lives. I was able to become involved with a club lacrosse league in Stockholm, and I officiated ice hockey for a semi-professional league around the area.

What have you done during your summers?
I have had financial internships the past two summers. After my sophomore year, I lived at home in Falmouth, Maine, and installed window shades for my father's business, while participating in a part-time internship at H.M. Payson, a small private wealth management firm in Portland. The internship was a great chance for me to learn about finance and life in a business atmosphere.

I consider myself a true Mainer, so I was slightly anxious about working in a big city, but I expanded my job search to include Boston next summer because there were more internship opportunities in the city. I ended up interning at a small investment bank, Colchester Partners, which focuses on advising companies on acquiring other financial firms. Living and working in the city was a lot more exciting than I had imagined, and I found that I really liked it.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Since I had an absolutely great time living in a city and I found investment banking very interesting and intellectually stimulating, I focused my career search this fall at larger investment banks in Boston and New York. After many exhausting interviews, I accepted a job to work as an analyst at Jefferies Investment Bank, an investment bank in New York City. As an analyst, I will be gathering data and financial informational in order to determine what companies are actually worth. I am incredibly excited to experience life in a big city and learn a significant amount about a number of industries working as an analyst.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
As I mentioned, Bowdoin has a very tight community and the school comes together to support athletic games and competitions. Bowdoin's strong school spirit certainly comes out at hockey games versus Colby. I will always remember the atmosphere at Dayton Arena when the Colby hockey team is visiting. The energy and emotion from the crowd is incredible. Over half of the student body comes to the game. Although some students have never seen a hockey game before and others grew up die-hard hockey fans, they all understand the incredible rivalry that exists between the two hockey programs.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I would recommend that everyone seriously consider taking a semester abroad. I know that it is impossible for some students to study abroad because of athletic or academic commitments, but I think that everyone that can should. Studying abroad for a half a year has allowed me to really appreciate my last few semesters at Bowdoin. It is also an incredible time to be immersed in a foreign culture and try new things. Sometimes people can fall into groups at Bowdoin and get into a routine. Going abroad changes things up and opens your eyes to another world.

What quirky or fun thing did you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
I wish I knew about lunch puck. Lunch puck is an hour each afternoon that Dayton Arena is open to all college students to play pickup hockey. The students that want to play just have to bring a helmet and stick at 1:00 p.m. and the ice is totally open to shoot pucks around. The guys at the rink are great, and playing hockey with friends or roommates that are just learning the sport is a lot of fun. I had a chance to practice with the varsity hockey team my first year, and I have played with the Club Hockey program my last few years at school, but playing pickup hockey during lunch puck has been something I have missed out on for the most part.

Story posted on March 23, 2007

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