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Gabriela, A21, is from Novo Hamburgo, a city in southern Brazil where she says the term “study abroad” is barely known. As a student at her local public high school, she forged deep relationships with teachers and mentors who introduced her to the world of research. Her early interest in analytical chemistry led her to apply to college in the United States—and the warmth and diversity of her fellow Jumbos brought her to Tufts’ Somerville/Medford campus.

Now, Gabriela is a rising senior double majoring in International Relations and Economics. She has served as president of the Tufts Trading Fund (TTF) and the Brazilian Student Association (BRASA). She was also a teaching assistant and head tutor in Portuguese before leaving for a year-long exchange program at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). This summer, TFN caught up with Gabriela to learn more about her abrupt return home, transition to remote learning, and (entirely virtual) internship at Morgan Stanley.

Q: As a first-year student at Tufts, you were laser-focused on science. What ultimately led you to pursue a career in finance?

A: As you can tell from my background, I never planned a career in finance. My first experience with the financial industry was via a Tufts Trading Fund meeting I attended freshman year. I remember watching a group of juniors pitching long EUR/USD and thinking to myself: “Wow, this is cool! I should probably come back to the next meeting.” And so I did, for every single weekly meeting after that, up to this day. Upperclassmen from past e-boards of the club became my mentors and helped me navigate the very early stages of my career.

I also took an Ex-College class called “Financial Literacy: Understanding Personal Finances” led by my advisor Chris Di Fronzo. The class, which I would recommend to every Tufts student regardless of major, played a key role in my interest in finance. Once I knew that finance was the right path for me, I received tremendous help and support from so many faculty, students, and alumni. Moreover, from the few experiences I have had in financial services so far, I must say that the Tufts community feels unique. Alumni have always been incredibly responsive, supportive, and willing to help, regardless of where I am in the world – New York, Boston, or São Paulo.

Q: How did you feel about the transition to remote learning last spring? If you were enrolled in a finance or economics course, tell us how they went.

A: The transition to online learning happened incredibly quickly! My professors did an amazing job to keep our classes functioning as “normally” as possible in the very little time they had to prepare. Although I didn’t experience the shock of the coronavirus pandemic at Tufts, the university was extremely supportive of its students everywhere in the world.

At the time, I was studying abroad through a Tufts program at Sciences Po in Paris and I was taking two economic development classes. (I thought economics couldn’t get harder, until I decided to take it in French…). My professors found new and innovate ways to teach economics remotely, like having students prepare the presentations and using iPads as a whiteboard to draw charts and graphs. It was fascinating to see what they came up with.

Q: As president of the Tufts Trading Fund and co-founder and president of BRASA, how have you kept members connected in a virtual environment? And what kind of programming are you planning for fall?

A: Keeping club members engaged in a remote environment takes a lot of time and effort. We had to be creative to find ways to connect with one another: Zoom happy hours, trivia games, a trading competition with the TTF e-board, and recruitment events for next semester. We are still waiting to see how the fall will play out in this new social distancing environment, but I’m committed to ensuring our club activities continue – whether virtually or in small groups.

Q: Last summer, you participated in a 10-week rotational internship at Morgan Stanley, and now you’re back as a Global Capital Markets Summer Analyst. How do your two internships compare and what is the virtual experience like?

A: My internship experiences at Morgan Stanley, the first in Fixed Income Sales and Trading and the second in Global Capital Markets, have been great for my professional (and personal!) development. I feel lucky to have had the chance to experience both the public and private side of financial services, in such an amazing firm as well. I learned much more than I ever thought I could in such a short period of time. This summer, my internship is fully virtual, which is quite different than being physically at the firm; however, everyone, from managers to HR, is working really hard to make the experience the best it can possibly be.