How would you describe your job to someone outside the financial industry?
I sit on a desk that manages risks associated with cross-border transactions. I cover currency specifically. What that means is that I help companies that are looking at mergers or acquisitions outside of their functional currency. I help them manage the foreign-exchange risk. I also help them manage non-dollar cashflows sitting in the U.S. Any businesses that have subsidiaries offshore that are earning non-dollar revenues, we help them manage the foreign-currency impact.
How did you come to Morgan Stanley?
I had a funny background. I did architecture initially, but I took a gamble and started a business degree when I was already halfway through. I went to a career seminar just to see my opportunities. Morgan Stanley presented and I thought the presentation was really good. At a cocktail function after, I met some of the actual analysts and associates, and for me that was the key differentiating factor because I felt like I immediately made a connection with them and what they were saying.
What was it like when you first started?
One of the biggest things that drew me to Morgan Stanley was actually the culture. Let’s face it—most of the jobs across the industry and across the Street are more or less going to be the same day to day. Morgan Stanley felt different. It had the global reach of one of the largest investment banks in the world, but what felt like a small-business culture. You feel like you have a family here at work and that people are personally invested in your career. I could be really open about what I wanted to achieve, and I had people support me in that. I had an opportunity recently to reflect on whether I wanted to stay here long term. For me it was a no-brainer.
How would you describe your day-to-day work life?
The greatest thing about my job is that my day-to-day experience changes. I can come in the morning and think my day is going to go one way and it ends up completely different. A lot of the stuff we do is very real-time—that includes speaking to clients in relation to deals they’re looking at, executing transactions in the markets, presenting ideas we have to clients related to risk management, or working internally with different divisions to help them form solutions for our clients.
What’s something you’ve done at Morgan Stanley that you think had real impact?
Even as a junior employee, you’re working on transactions that you see on the front page news. In my second year, I worked on a transaction in Australia that effectively reshaped the real-estate industry over there. And it not only changed the shape of the industry in Australia, the way it was structured, it changed the competitive industry in the U.S., as well, which was pretty cool.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of your work?
Back in Australia, I worked with a number of different charities and nonprofits—supporting research on children’s cancer, helping incarcerated people assimilate back into society. It’s workplace training, work placement, and then it’s broader support for day-to-day things like opening bank accounts, housing, resumé-writing. Actually supporting the process from the day they leave prison and actually getting to a stage where they can have a sustainable job. It’s not just a quick fix.
What draws you to architecture?
I’ve always been really interested in art. I did art through all of school. I also did a lot of travel when I was a kid throughout Europe. I like architecture from the 18th and 17th centuries—it’s amazing that these buildings are still so beautiful. My dad is a structural engineer and I think I share a lot of those qualities. I was drawn to architecture because I liked the creative element of it, but at the same time, I like the scientific nature of it. That’s probably why I like my job, because it allows me to be creative, but still has that scientific base.
What would you tell a junior or senior in college is your favorite part of working at Morgan Stanley?
The breadth of what you can do with it. I went into banking thinking that it wouldn’t prepare me for any other career should I want a change. But going into finance, particularly capital markets, gives you exposure into every industry. I think it’s very hard to make a choice when you are a junior or a senior at college. Going into a place like this gives you such breadth of knowledge that I think it prepares you for anything you want to do in the future, even if it isn’t in finance.