About Connor

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Current Position: Financial advisor
Previous University: Northeastern University
Undergraduate Degree: Business Administration, with concentrations in accounting and finance and a minor in psychology
Q: You started your career in financial advising. Why did you decide to return to D'Amore-McKim and join the Full-Time MBA program?

A: For me, getting an MBA degree was more of a personal goal than a career advancement move. I had been working for four years as a client advisor, handling financial planning, investment management, and so on for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. I was studying for level one of the CFA exam when I realized I wasn't totally comfortable in that role, and that I just wanted to keep learning—for me, that would be a more fulfilling path. I also had an inkling I might want to pursue a more analytical role in finance.

My experience at Northeastern was great the first time around. I was enamored with the faculty and students and the culture here, and I definitely wanted to experience being a Husky again.

Q: You're managing director of Northeastern's student-run mutual fund. What impact has this role had on you?

A: The 360 Huntington Fund was one of the reasons I was so excited to come back to Northeastern. I thought it would be a great opportunity to apply the finance knowledge I was learning in the real world, and that has certainly been true. But it's also been a valuable teamwork-focused learning environment where I can collaborate with my peers at a different level—it's less structured, more free form than the way we'd interact in a classroom.

Q: How did you get started with the 360 Huntington Fund?

A: I joined as a sector manager; I didn't come in on the ground floor because I had experience in finance. I worked with the student analysts in my sector cluster to help them understand how to do industry research, company analysis, financials, and modeling. It was my job to provide support, and on topics where I wasn't able to support, to be a liaison with upper management. I then moved up to be chief of research, and now I'm managing director, [which is the top role at the fund and more operational]. I spend a lot of time on conference calls with other students and managers to help them perform and learn—I try to be as available as possible.

Q: You're also in your corporate residency right now. What's it been like?

A: I'm working at Wellington Management in a split role that's really interesting—one role as an investment analyst and the other in operations. On the finance side, I'm doing involved analysis on return data and performance attribution. I'm looking at the historical data and trying to identify the risk exposures and how they've changed over time. On the operational risk side, I'm working with large datasets, developing the governance program for Wellington's product data.

I really get to leverage the things I'm learning in the classroom—my VBA coding skills, for example. Before doing my MBA coursework, I wouldn't have been confident there, but now I'm applying those skills in the real world—it's pretty cool. It's helped me realize that analytics is definitely something I want to do more of in the future. I'd like to be working in an investment strategy role with a firm, or possibly an endowment or a private foundation.

Q: Today's business world is changing constantly—do you think the Full-Time MBA program has prepared you well for the challenges of that environment?

A: It has given me confidence, pure and simple. I was nervous going into the MBA program and into my corporate residency because of the change involved, but I've learned skills that help me adapt. The 360 Huntington Fund in particular was helpful for me as an introvert—I learned to gather my research, present my thesis, and defend it, which is great preparation for the workplace. I never thought for a second I would write a line of code, but now I'm not intimidated at all by that, and I've learned a little Python, too. I now have an analytical framework and thought process that can guide me no matter what situation I'm in.

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