Seven Questions with Journalist Rickie Houston
By Jennifer Small
Rickie Houston (CGS ‘17, COM ‘19) is a wealth-building reporter for Business Insider tasked with covering brokerage products, cryptocurrency, and more. Houston’s love for writing grew at CGS, where he tutored at the CGS Writing Center, wrote for The Daily Free Press, and attended rhetoric classes that he says were “transformative.” We spoke with Rickie about how BU prepared him for a successful career and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.
What have you been doing since you graduated from BU?
I’ve been working as a financial journalist in New York and Washington, D.C. I currently work for the personal finance section of Insider as a wealth-building reporter, where I write about investment apps, online brokerages, cryptocurrencies, and other financial accounts. I’ve also been desperately attempting, emphasis on “attempting,” to knock off destinations from my bucket list. It seems like I was out of BU for less than a year before Covid struck. That limited many of my travel plans, but I was fortunate enough to visit Marrakesh, Morocco, earlier this year.
Why did you choose that pathway?
Writing was something that always clicked for me, and I had a natural interest in learning more about the stock market and investing. I was able to merge both interests with my first opportunity as an editorial intern at SmartAsset, a financial technology company, in 2018. That role gave me so much exposure to personal finance content and investing news. After that internship, I knew I wanted to continue to work in that coverage area. I felt that investing and wealth-building were two topics that were so jargon-heavy and intimidating to many. For this reason, I see my work as an opportunity to demystify such knowledge and make it easier for others to get a jumpstart on their financial lives.
How did your time at CGS help prepare you for what came after graduation?
My rhetoric classes truly transformed me. I was able to improve my writing, while delving into different editorial styles and learning how to structure essays with arguments and counter arguments. I’ve used many of these lessons in my post-grad roles.
What are your goals and aspirations for your career?
I want to continue to work in the financial journalism space. Whether in reporter or editor roles, I love what I do and and appreciate that I can reach so many people through the avenue of online journalism. I also got into winemaking in 2020, so I hope to continue that hobby and see where things go.
What extracurriculars, internships, or other out of the classroom experiences were most valuable to you as a CGS student?
I wrote for multiple campus publications while at BU, but I got my first opportunity as a writer for a popular culture/music website called Verge Campus. Plus, I served as a Dean’s Host for CGS, and I contributed as a writing tutor for the CGS Writing Center. All of these experiences were instrumental in my quest to become a well-rounded professional. With the writing roles, I was able to delve into different coverage areas (e.g., music/popular culture, Boston politics, state government policy, etc.) and get real-life experience. The Dean’s Host and writing tutor roles, on the other hand, helped improve my leadership, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.
What was your favorite part about your CGS experience?
I have two: studying abroad in London and working on/completing the Capstone project. I loved the London semester, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was truly awesome to combine the liberal arts curriculum with trips to places like Stonehenge, Oxford University, and Bath. The Capstone thesis was also a defining moment for me, as it forced me to tap into my teamwork skills, combine my strengths with those of other classmates, and successfully defend our research.
If you could give one piece of advice to current CGS students, what would you say?
Explore. Explore topics, clubs, or electives that interest you and surround yourself with people who can help those passions blossom. Whether they’re professors, upperclassmen, or professionals working in your desired field, be intentional about the relationships you build throughout your entire BU experience. While getting good grades and maintaining your GPA is important, networking and positioning yourself for internships and other roles is even more crucial.