ST. PETERSBURG – Sho Ishizuka always envisioned a career in finance, an interest cultivated
at a young age from watching his father, an accountant. He knew he wanted to follow
the same career path as his father. He had no idea it would bring him from Tokyo,
Japan to Tampa, Florida.
He was excited about the opportunities that awaited him at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business.
“I knew that I wanted to look at schools in Florida because my family was preparing
to move here,” said Ishizuka. “What solidified my decision to choose USF was the cultural
diversity that I saw within the school and on campus; it made my transition to a new
country so comfortable.”
Preferring a smaller campus and a more intimate educational setting, Ishizuka set his sights on the St. Petersburg campus. USF offered him a spot in the Business Honors program that covered his room and board, and that solidified his decision to make the St. Pete campus his academic hub.
He started his freshman year in fall 2021, the first semester classes were back in-person after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
Despite the challenges posed by social distancing, Ishizuka fondly recalls how effortlessly he forged connections at the Muma College of Business.
He still views those first few months as a time of personal growth and meeting new people.
“Connections to fellow students were organic,” he said. “They were interested in my international move and it sparked conversations that led to friendships I still have today.”
While he made connections with his peers effortlessly on campus and in class, Ishizuka knew that was just a first step. Growth on the professional front, including gaining confidence and maximizing networking opportunities, would require some additional work.
His next goal was to forge professional relationships and meet businesses and people in the finance industry. That’s when he joined the Investment Club at USF.
He was determined to become an active member of USF's Investment Club. This affiliation opened doors to numerous opportunities, including three valuable internships and an extensive network of both student and professional connections that would prove enduring.
Looking back, he says the Investment Club had a significant impact on his college career. He credits the club for leading him to one of his most important connections so far, his student mentor.
“He was two years my senior and went on to work at a private equity company in Jacksonville called Dubin Clark. He offered me a summer internship there where I was able to work under him and learn techniques that I later brought back to the Investment Club,” he said.
For Ishizuka, his first internship started a domino effect of opportunity. A referral stemming from his first internship paved the way for his second venture as an investment banking intern at TrueNorth Capital Partners.
Approaching his final year of school to secure a local internship, Ishizuka turned to his Investment Club peers for support. While the club members recounted their positive professional experiences, one company stood out. Many members recommended Raymond James.
Ishizuka secured his third and final internship as an equity capital market intern at Raymond James. With graduation approaching, Ishizuka happily accepted Raymond James’ offer for a full-time role on the equity capital market team upon graduation.
He's excited to already have a job lined up post-graduation.
“The professors and students who motivated me and mentored me are a huge part of why I am in this situation,” he said.
Scheduled to graduate in May 2024, Ishizuka hopes to start his new job at Raymond James in June.
While he is looking forward to beginning his career, his connection with USF continues.
“I am looking forward to excelling and using my work ethic I created at USF in my career,” says Ishizuka. “I am also looking forward to actively helping USF students through mentoring; giving back is something I'm genuinely looking forward to."