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Success Stories | May 16, 2018 |

Success Story: Gregory Avella ’19 starts summer internship at BlackRock

How do you go from being a pre-med student to working in finance?

One Gabelli School student knows from experience.

After beginning his Fordham tenure as a pre-med major, Gregory Avella, BS’ 19, has an internship as a U.S. wealth advisory summer analyst at BlackRock.

He changed his major within his first month and a half at school and says his roommate encouraged him to take the chance. “He’s the reason I’m in business school,” Avella recalls. Avella also had a mentor in his older brother, a Gabelli School alumnus.

“When I was originally thinking about switching, it was a little intimidating,” Avella admits, because it was such a different focus from his plan at the time.

He quickly found he enjoyed the interaction with people, which made the transition easier.

In addition to the social aspect, Avella likes that “finance is pretty analytical. Every single day, there’s always a challenge.”

He says focusing on wealth advisory means he will be able to “make a really, really strong bond with people” and be “an integral part of someone’s family.”

Avella got his first real-world taste of finance at a summer internship the previous year, working at the sales desk at SFS Capital. “They were really hands-on,” he says, “and that definitely strengthened my ability to communicate over the phone.”

For his next internship, Avella says BlackRock specifically appealed to him because “innovation is the biggest thing.” He felt an exciting vibe when interacting with people there and recognized that he could fit in well with the passionate employees.

“I feel it’s a great place for me to start a career,” he adds.

As for that future career, Avella is looking forward to learning even more about the industry he’s chosen. There are so many aspects of finance, he says, and he’s found he has become more well-rounded in the process of discovering them.

To others wondering if their career choice will be a good fit, Avella advises to “dive right in. Learn as much as you can.” Because whether you started in pre-med or English or history, or have known all your life you wanted to go into business, there will always be something new to learn.

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