I had a job offer in place even before I had my diploma.
What have been the most defining moments along your career path?
I worked in a bank every summer during college. My friends were off doing more 'fun' jobs that enabled them to work outdoors. I was stuck in a bank all day and at the time it felt fairly terrible. I wanted to gain experience working in finance and the bank was my best shot at it. Sure, I had moments when I wished I was outside enjoying the sun and goofing off with my friends, but looking back now, I learned so much about how a bank works, the different roles people have, that was valuable experience. It was a defining moment for me because I made a choice to put off a summer of fun and invest in myself and what would really help me down the line.
How did you get your big breaks?
As I worked in the bank all those summers, I got to know the bank manager fairly well. Right before I graduated, the bank manager contacted someone in HR at the home office. He put in a good word for me. Because of that connection, I was able to get my foot in the door for interviews prior to graduation. I had a job offer in place even before I had my diploma.
What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?
Keep striving, persistence and confidence in one's own abilities is necessary in any field. I've found that especially true in financial services. Competition for underwriting assignments is generally very heavy, and selection is based on analytical abilities, leadership skills and eagerness to succeed. The more confidence one has the better off they are in this industry.
What have you learned from your experience?
Being a people person is essential. Other personal characteristics for people working in this field include: attentiveness to detail, good communication skills, integrity and an ability to deal with a variety of people. A willingness to consider many approaches and strong organizational and marketing skills are needed as well.
What most excites you about your job right now?
I'm constantly having to upgrading my knowledge to improve my skills. I like that aspect and enjoy refining my skills. I feel to be the best, I have to keep up with the latest technology advances, new products and services being offered in the industry, and be aware of the new financial laws that play into my industry as well. This field changes often and I enjoy that freshness and excitment.
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What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?
I'd like to ensure my clients have a great deal of money because I took care with it and invested it wisely for them. Seeing clients put their kids through college, helping them buy second homes, plan for retirement, that's the best feeling in the world. It's a great legacy to have.
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