Alumna builds career and establishes externship program

A native of South Bend, Renee Schultz ’92 made the decision to attend Saint Mary’s nearly 30 years ago. Her Saint Mary’s education gave her the platform to build her career. She is now the senior vice president of capital markets at Fannie Mae. 

“My liberal arts education is the foundation of all I do. The College has a big emphasis on written and oral communication. In business, I do a lot of presenting and I learned early in my career that communication skills are valued and needed for practical business.”

She’s worked at Fannie Mae since 1998. An industry leader, Renee says she’s gotten to work in a variety of different roles at the company. “While I’ve only worked for two companies I’ve been exposed to a lot of different things as my career has progressed.”

There’s an aspect of service even in big business, Renee says. “I love that I get to help people purchase homes. Everyone needs shelter and working for the greater good has kept me inspired.”

Opening doors to others

Renee wanted to give back to Saint Mary’s and realized students could benefit by having the opportunity to participate in an externship. Each year, students are selected from applicants applying for the externship at Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C. over breaks in the academic year.

Three students have had the opportunity to participate since the externship began in spring 2017. Students get the opportunity to meet with women leaders in the company, learn about the positions and the industry.

“Housing is the backbone of our economy,” Schultz said of her industry. “It’s important to encourage women to explore traditionally male-dominated fields.”

And that’s part of what the externship allows students to explore, the world of finance and what it is like to navigate it as a woman.

Renee credits some of her success to the late Professor Jerry McElroy who helped her find a summer internship at a mortgage company. McElroy’s guidance has inspired Renee to give back, “The guidance and connections helped me to jumpstart my career early on.”

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