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Recently, TFN caught up with several young alumni as they navigate the early stages of their finance careers. Read on to learn about their experiences working remotely from New York to Hong Kong; how they feel Tufts prepared them for success; and the many ways that programming and events through the Tufts Finance Initiative still impact them today.

Recent graduates contributing to this article:

  • Anita Ramaswamy, A19, Investment Banking Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in New York
  • Michael Meng, A17, Tactical Opportunities at Blackstone in Hong Kong
  • Ross Bendetson, A18, Equity Research Analyst at BlackRock in New York
  • Stephanie LoGiudice, A18, Investment Banking Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in New York

Work and Remote Operations

Anita: “Each day is totally different in my current role [Investment Banking Analyst at Wells Fargo], especially since I work in the Middle Market IB group, which is sector and product agnostic. I love being a generalist because it allows me to explore different areas and situations within finance. For example, I’m currently working on a SPAC transaction in the e-commerce space and a sellside M&A deal in the alternative energy sector, both of which demand different types of analyses. With the uncertainty COVID-19, we have been providing more broad-based market information as well as tailored advice on how to navigate the pandemic to our clients, who lean on us as a trusted advisor.

Working from home has been relatively seamless, though we have all had to learn how to be more proactive in our communication since we can no longer take face-to-face time for granted.”

Michael: “We run a very lean team [at Blackstone] in Hong Kong. Given the size, everyone focuses on the most efficient use of our time, and teammates care about my career development and exposure. My day-to-day can be categorized into investment opportunities screening, industry/company research, financial analysis/modeling, portfolio company management, and internal discussion. 

It is fast paced in general, and little has changed due to COVID-19 except moving things online and the need to communicate intensively via Zoom. One issue is we are not able to travel to China for deal sourcing and execution due to the pandemic.”  

Ross: “In my role assisting Senior Analysts and Portfolio Managers [at BlackRock], there isn’t a typical day-to-day. For a current student interested in Equity Research, the job is dynamic and requires attention to detail, critical thinking, creativity, and interpersonal smarts. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption and utilization of digital communication tools.”  

Stephanie: “My typical day [at Wells Fargo Securities] has always been very deal-dependent. When we are helping a client bring a deal to market, I work on term sheets, investor presentations, and offering documents. If deal flow is a bit slower, I have an opportunity to research and present new transactions.

Whether in the office or working from home, my role on the deal team has not changed much. Due to the challenges COVID has presented, I have had a chance to work on new and creative deals, which as an analyst is a great opportunity to contribute. COVID-19 has created complicated financial questions for our clients which I have been able to help answer.”

Tufts Academic Experience

Anita: “I believe that a successful college education should teach an individual how to think rather than what to think. The finance industry is broad in scope and impact and requires me to employ so many different modes of thinking. In my political science and economics classes at Tufts, I learned how to think by considering complex problems holistically.

One could assume that being a liberal arts major (as opposed to a finance major) would put me at a disadvantage in terms of career, but I have found it has been a huge differentiator and asset. My Tufts education allows me to deploy the technical skills and take them to the next level by considering variables that others might overlook.”

Michael: “I think the two majors [economics and international relations] set a solid foundation for the early stage of my career and believe they will continue to be valuable in the future. Economics gave me the tools and framework to conduct quantitative analysis and consider where we are in an economic/investment cycle. The IR major provided a global vision and sensitivity that you may not often find in junior-level finance professionals, and that is quite important, especially when you work in Hong Kong, which functions as a bridge for connecting China and the world.”

Stephanie: “Quantitative economics gave me a very good framework to analyze problems and taught me to use numbers and quantitative analysis to understand what is occurring and how to explain it. This is how I approach my work on a daily basis to make fact-based decisions. Honestly, my Italian major tends to come up more often in discussion. People genuinely enjoy hearing about passions outside of finance, whether it is eating Italian food or discussing a trip to Italy, and I find most folks have a connection to the culture that they are excited to share.”

Tufts Finance Initiative and Career Development

Anita: “My first Stock Pitch Challenge at the Finance Career Forum sparked my four-year involvement in the Tufts Financial Group (TFG), where I eventually served as portfolio manager of the Alpha Fund and led a team of 15 student analysts. I also had the opportunity to fly to New York as a sophomore to present to a board of TFN members as a student member of TFG to vouch for how the club had helped me find opportunities.  I owe quite a bit of my success to TFG and by extension, TFN, which supports all the club’s activities!”

Michael: “Several alumni in TFN assisted me a great deal during the recruiting process by offering insights, guidance and interview opportunities. Their encouragement kept me going during a highly stressful time period which is invaluable.”

Stephanie: “Aside from my involvement in TFG, I benefitted from programming through Tufts Finance Initiative (TFI) in a few different ways. The Finance Career Forum was an annual highlight and a great way to connect with alumni, who led interesting panels on current topics in finance. I also traveled to New York to meet alumni and visit companies, which was a good way to get a sense of each company’s unique culture and see what the industry is really like. It is always fascinating to learn from fellow Jumbos in different and unique roles across the world of finance.”

Ross: “Through TFG, my classmates taught me that the best ideas can come from anyone, irrespective of one’s background and experience level. I remember this lesson in my role today and try to look past how an idea is communicated and focus, instead, on the idea itself.”