Finance alumnae in different roles give shared career wisdom

by Farzana Ali (GSB ’15)

The year’s final Smart Woman Securities seminar featured speakers from two different divisions: finance and operations. But their perspectives were similar.

Veronica Valasek (GSB ’01), a senior manager in Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities group, and Deirdre Barr (GSB ’11), a products and platform client experience initiative analyst at J.P. Morgan, both found finance to be the most empowering major.

Veronica was always more interested in finance than accounting. Trade valuations, models, how the bank made money, and how the capital markets work all fascinated her. While accounting was a tool to get valuation, she was drawn to the dynamic nature of the finance industry.

Deirdre found finance less limiting than other majors. It gave her the flexibility to minor in economics and attain a specialization in international business. She then learned more about specifically where she might “fit” within the industry through an internship in wealth management, where she had a front-office role helping an advisor work with clients. The experience actually motivated her to seek a more operational role — one that involved managing projects, people and expectations throughout the firm. In her new position, she worked with technology and marketing, talking with both coders and advisors.

Because both Veronica and Deirdre were recruited on-campus, they wished they had conducted more informational interviews and reached out to professionals off-campus to glean insights. They advised: grab coffee with everyone. Reach out to Fordham alumni. Once in the workplace, networking happens all the time. People are happy to take a break and excited to help.

Some other key takeaways:

  • Relationships are like bank accounts. There are withdrawals and deposits.
  • Fall and spring internships may give New York City-based students an advantage.
  • Go to diversity networking events, no matter what your background.
  • Participate in other professional societies.
  • Soft skills, such as listening, are important. Your boss often has only 10 seconds to delegate a task to you.

 

Did you miss this event? You still have time to get in on SWS’s last big hurrah of the year: the Women in Leadership Conference, slated for Friday, April 26. Click here to learn more and register!

 

 

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