Current Position: Portfolio Valuation Analyst, Houlihan Lokey
Previous University: Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Commerce
Q: Tell me about your background before you entered the MS in Quantitative Finance program.
A: Ever since a young age, I've been interested in finance, specifically stock market trading. It began as a hobby, but when I came to the United States, I quickly realized this knowledge was a valuable strength. I started reading publications like the Wall Street Journal and learning about investing and the American economy as much as possible. I earned my undergraduate degree from the Vivekanandan Institute of Professional Studies and took a few local stock market trading courses to get a better sense of the trading mindset and community. I then worked for six months as a financial analyst for a U.S.-based company in India before pursuing a master's degree.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a master's? Did your previous work experience inform your decision?
A: I always had a dream to work on Wall Street. During my time as a financial analyst, I realized that I would need more knowledge and to educate myself further to build a successful finance career in the United States. After speaking with one of my senior managers and sharing my goals and hope to build a successful career in the future, I decided I needed to pursue my master's. I ultimately decided to pursue my Master's because I was confident that it would provide me a step up in the finance world and job competition.
My goal is to first return to consulting to build on my experience and utilize what I've learned, and in the future, I hope to pursue a career in private equity. Many of my courses this semester are focused on mergers, acquisitions, and valuations, and these skills are essential in consulting and private equity. I'm confident I can leave Northeastern and pursue a successful career.
Q: What are your professional goals, and how will your degree help you achieve them?
A: I am very passionate about professional trading, portfolio evaluation, and portfolio management, I'd like to look for a career in these areas of the FinTech space. Having a degree that is not just a master's in finance but in quantitative finance, where I become familiar with coding and coding languages like Python and VBA, is the best way to secure positions in FinTech.
I recently accepted a position at Houlihan Lokey as a Portfolio Valuation Analyst where I'll be doing analysis and valuation of diverse structured products, loans, and other illiquid securities. The experience and network I've gained throughout this program and my experience leading up to it made this possible and I am grateful for the opportunity to showcase my skills.
Q: Can you tell me about your experience working with 360 Huntington Fund?
A: My experience was amazing. I joined the fund as an analyst and learned so much. When you join, you are partnered with another member and tasked with presenting a pitch for either buying or selling stock. After a lot of hard work, we presented our pitch and received a standing ovation. I was later given the COO position and despite being in New York for an internship, I regularly organized meetings with my team and oversaw the risk management and marketing departments. I initiated projects where I practiced taking real-world financial and economic situations and producing potential solutions which we could turn into profit for the fund. As COO I gained practical experience that I will bring to future positions and continue to reference as my career progresses.
Q: How does having faculty and alumni connections with industry experience help prepare you for your career?
A: I believe that Northeastern has the best faculty that really care and are willing to help you and I built great relationships with several of my professors. One of my professors helped me achieve certifications through Datagram where I was introduced to Python. This is an important programing language to understand and having this certification is extremely valuable to employers. I was also connected with the Chief Risk Officer at ING through a Northeastern alumni and accepted my graduate co-op there with the help of this introduction. Northeastern is constantly encouraging connecting, and it is through those connections that I believe I am prepared for my career.
Q: Can you tell me about your graduate co-op experience with ING in the Market Risk Commodities Division?
A: I learned so much at ING; it was a great experience. I was the first Indian student and third ever in my program to land the position. I practiced important skills like the coding language VBA through calculating and preparing risk reports daily. My primary responsibility was to analyze and calculate excess risk out of new commodities positions. I also made sure to let my manager know when I had time to take on more responsibilities. By building this relationship with my manager, I connected with various departments and learned more skills outside of the role I was specifically assigned. This position played a significant role in preparing me for my future career after graduation. At ING, I could talk to people from all different domains and backgrounds. I greatly improved my communication skills and it helped me better understand what it means to be professional in this environment.
Q: What advice would you share with future students?
A: Manage your time wisely and responsibly. Time management is important, and it is essential that students maximize their time in this program and get to know as many people as possible. You learn a lot when you put yourself out there and almost always stumble upon opportunities. Students should allow themselves to build relationships during their first semester, and during their second semester, they should utilize, learn, and network from those relationships.
Certifications stand out in a competitive finance job market
“When hiring companies see I have a Bloomberg Market Concept certification, they know I've done my homework and have the skills. This certification is an important asset for any company when hiring a team member, and it put me in a favorable position during my hiring process.” Says Kavan Pandit, MS in Quantitative Finance'22
Gaining confidence through virtual work experience
“Completing a virtual work experience gave me the confidence to answer questions about portfolio management in an interview. I can talk about my experience in any interview, not just for a portfolio analyst position.” says Swetha Sundar, MS in Quantitative Finance'22
From start-ups to private equity firms, how graduate co-op strengthened her consulting skills
“[My graduate co-op] allowed me to work within a startup while also learning to consult with larger private equity firms. I know the practical knowledge I gained through this hands-on experience will make me stronger in future consulting roles.” Says Priyanshi Shah, MS in Quantitative Finance'22