Cristian Associate, Prime Brokerage Sales Securities Division, New York
Graduated: 2013 – Columbia University
Hometown: New York, NY
Majored in: Financial Economics and Portuguese
Hobbies: Going to art exhibitions, exercising
There’s constantly an opportunity to become an expert in a topic that nobody around you understands perfectly.
I was born in New York and I went to Columbia University, so I really never left the city. When I was applying to colleges, I thought I ultimately wanted to go into the Foreign Service. I started taking finance classes and I realized I was less interested in the economics component of it and more interested in the finance component of it. It was great to be able to come into my first internship at Goldman Sachs and see that the things I was learning about really were the things that clients were thinking about. The first desk that I rotated through during that first summer internship was Prime Brokerage, and I was basically hooked from there.
I’m on the Prime Brokerage Sales Team and work with the firm’s hedge fund clients. Our team functions in more of a consultative advisory business than other businesses in the Securities Division. It's about understanding the mechanics of how our clients build their businesses. For someone like me who’s both interested in the markets and interested in a higher view of how somebody grows their business, it allows you to really focus as much as you want on either component. As a team we try to make sure that we’re offering our clients the right services within the firm, and we try to deliver the resources of both Prime Brokerage and the rest of the Securities Division to our clients.
Studying financial economics isn’t exactly trade school. It’s not something where the formula that you just memorized applies exactly to your job, but understanding the concepts makes you more attuned to what’s actually going on in the business that you sit in. I think it’s incredibly important to love your job and love the team that you work with, and my classes and background have allowed me to do that.
This is a business that is constantly changing, and it’s a business where I think anybody going into this industry should be comfortable with the fact that over the next year or over the next month something is going to come up that nobody who works with you has seen before. So there’s constantly an opportunity to become an expert in a topic that nobody around you understands perfectly.
I work with people who come from totally different backgrounds. The other analyst who started with me studied architecture. I helped to manage the internship program this summer, and told all the summer analysts who came to our desk not to worry about whether they didn’t happen to come from a finance background. My advice to them was to go at it full force, and they'll see that it pays off—as you show that you’re learning and as you show an interest in the topics, and prove yourself, people will give you a lot of responsibility.
I’ve loved coming to work every day, and I expect it to continue that way, because I get to constantly encounter new challenges, and we work hard to help our clients. Adding value for our clients is the best part of the job.
Even growing up in New York I never get tired of going to new restaurants and seeing new places. My girlfriend works in the art industry, and we spend a lot of time going to galleries and museums. There’s something going on every weekend in New York.