Works and Days

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Morgan Vague

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

Read on to learn about the experience of Morgan Vague, a science major in the world of finance. 

This March, a group of eight Reedies including myself, received the opportunity to travel to the mecca of finance, the big apple itself: New York City. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous during the first night, when our generous trip leader initiated an open questions and answer session about finance over a steak dinner in an iconic New York restaurant. Finance had always interested me, and I could hold a decent conversation about it.  But, as the only science major among a group dominated by economics majors, I felt a little out of place. When it was my turn to ask a question, I inhaled deeply, and spouted off a fairly basic question that was answered without the slightest trace of condescension. This set the tone for the next 4 days.

As our group bounced between influential newsrooms, investment banks and consulting firms, I learned very quickly that my science background was not a handicap in the field of finance. On the contrary, it could be a great asset. The ability to reason through problems quantitatively and creatively is a big plus in the finance industry. In fact, several of the Reed alums we met had majored in subjects like physics, philosophy, and English. I learned that there are actually many areas of finance where those with a scientific predisposition can thrive, and do some good, such as in the fields of biotechnology and IT.

I think the most valuable experience came from the opportunity to meet working Reedies who had taken the road less travelled and entered finance. The Reed curiosity was still intact, as was the desire to learn and improve. I did not sense the stereotypical cutthroat behavior so often associated with the finance world. A particularly awesome biology alum I met told me about the wonderful things one can accomplish with a combination of business savvy, a scientific background, and the work ethic Reed instills. I came away from this trip feeling confident in my personality, my ability to market myself, and my ability to thrive in a highly competitive industry few Reedies dare to enter. 

Tags: financial services fellowship, banking, investment, economics, science