The SEA Co-op Experience with Drexel University

The SEA Co-op Experience


Beginning in 1919, Drexel University’s cooperative education program has empowered students to succeed, allowing them to graduate with up to eighteen months of full-time experience in a professional environment. Since 2020, Strategic Exit Advisors (SEA) has provided meaningful co-op experiences for five Drexel students: Erum Hamid, Brandon Yan, Aayush Desai, Shivani Patel and Matthew Delman

Our firm’s history with the co-op program dates back to Curt Cyliax, Managing Director at SEA, who is a Drexel graduate and former co-op participant. As a partner in this program, SEA’s goal is to provide two weeks of on-the-job training, gradually integrating the co-op participant into live deals and prospect outreach. 

“We want to make the training as interactive as possible,” said Managing Director, Rob Waring. “For example, the best way the co-op can learn how to recast financials is to provide a case study where they get to apply what was taught.” 

SEA is a growing firm and is always looking to improve. “What makes a great co-op is someone who not only helps push deals forward, but one who improves our processes and the co-op experience for future generations,” said Peter Hissey, who manages the co-op program at the firm.



Preparing Students for the Real World 


Our previous co-op, Shivani Patel, is a rising senior at Drexel. Patel is studying Finance and Economics and is a great example of an individual that has added value to our team, having worked with Peter to help improve communication and training for future co-ops. Before she finished the program, we asked Patel to reflect on her experiences at SEA. 

I completed my first co-op at Comcast HQ with a team of project managers who deployed sales tools, so when I began my second co-op at SEA, I didn’t have an ounce of background knowledge about the world of M&A. SEA’s differentiator is that they have built a learning environment that integrates the co-op analyst as a team member rather than an intern. This allows them to gain hands-on experience on live deals and face-time with clients, which better prepares them for the real-world working environment.”

Aayush Desai completed his co-op at SEA from September 2021 to March 2022. He learned the ins and outs of investment banking by working on live deals, attending prospective and engaged client calls, visiting clients and researching multiple industries across various sectors. Desai recalls,

During my time at SEA, I was treated as another member of the team and was given meaningful work all throughout my six months there. As a student interested in the world of investment banking and the greater finance sector, I had many opportunities to ask SEA’s talented and experienced team questions and advice about the field.”

Our first co-op, Erum Hamid, helped us craft the program and refine our training and overall co-op experience. She trusted SEA to provide a great experience and we are thankful for contributions to the firm from a professional as well as cultural lens. During her experience, Hamid remembers,

SEA taught me the importance of culture and community as a professional. During my co-op, I was able to plan and participate in community outreach that aligned well with my personal values. I achieved a true sense of belonging within the firm and felt encouraged to continue my pursuits of creating an impact as a young professional within the investment banking industry and the broader community.

The goal of the Drexel co-op program is to prepare students for work in a real-world environment. 

At SEA, we recognize that meaningful work can extend well beyond the traditional boardroom or balance sheet and we are committed to helping future business leaders succeed. As partners in Drexel University’s Co-op Program, SEA ensures a learning environment that fully integrates the co-op analyst as a team member. We’re thankful for our five excellent co-ops we’ve had to date and look forward to the future of the program!

To learn more about Strategic Exit Advisors or this program, call us anytime (215) 489-8881 or schedule a conversation here.

Strategic Exit Advisors