Before Beloit

Took a private tutoring class in conversational English. My instructor taught English at a university in my hometown and she was very passionate about teaching students how to converse in English and not just learn the grammar. She encouraged me to take the TOEFL test, which helped me obtain a government scholarship from Vietnam to attend college in the US.

Wanted a small and intimate environment where I would have an opportunity to interact with people and learn about them on a first-name basis. I never lived abroad before, and I knew my English was subpar, so I especially wanted an international school where people understand and value diversity. Beloit ticked these boxes and I also had a very positive experience with the admissions office.

 

Year 1

Was clueless and plan-less, but I made a few good friends I still stayed in touch with. Four of them came to my wedding in Vietnam last year as bridesmaids/groomsmen. I couldn’t ask for a better first year!

"As first-year students, take as many classes from different disciplines as you possibly can, see what you like and dislike (equally important!), make friends, have some fun, it’s only getting harder after the first year.”

Year 2

Took Accounting with Professor Emeritus Warren Palmer, I don’t particularly enjoy accounting but I liked the professor, so I declared my major in Economics and asked him to be my advisor. I also declared a minor in Math.

"Think about what you want in a college: the intimate small environment where you can find all the help you need, or a larger school with more established brand name which might help when it comes time to find a job, but you have to be a lot more competitive to rise above the tens of thousands of your classmates. There’s pros and cons in both cases, only you will know which will suit you better. Beloit was the best school for me, but I had to keep knocking on doors to unlock each and every one of my achievements, so prepare to do the same. I hope it will be for you too.”

Year 3

Participated in the Duffy Program (sociology course paired with off-campus internship). We discussed implications of private and public partnerships in the economy and I got to intern at Hendricks Commercial Properties in Downtown Beloit.

Took Quantitative Methods with Professor Emeritus Jeff Adams and became his TA for the subsequent 3 semesters. This was the beginning of a life-long mentorship with Jeff; he was truly instrumental to a lot of decisions I made post-Beloit.  

Challenged myself with the course Economics Globalization taught by Professor Diep Phan - one of the more difficult courses for me as it required less calculations but more conceptual thinking about how globalization impacts economic and country welfare

Year 4

Managed Belmark Associates, (market research firm run by students) -- my favorite clients were Bill Fitzgerald and Andy Davis (both economics alumni of Beloit). Bill encouraged me to think about a career in finance, starting with taking the CFA exam

Passed the CFA exam, and discussed my future plans with Jeff, who believed I could get into MIT for a master’s degree in finance.

Took Personal Finance with Professor Emeritus Warren Palmer -- one of the most practical courses I’ve taken at Beloit. Courses such as this one helped me discover my interest in the financial market and provided me with a technical toolkit and good conceptual foundation to dig deeper into the field I’m interested in - Investment Management. 

"I applied [to MIT] and he [Professor Emeritus Jeff Adams] wrote me a very thoughtful and candid recommendation letter. I never got to read his letter, but somebody at the admission office at MIT later told me that they wanted to meet me in person after reading his recommendation… sometimes, you just need somebody who believes in you, to open up many more doors in your life."

 

After Beloit

Pursued a master’s degree in Finance from MIT Sloan School of Management. After this, my first job was in economic consulting at NERA. I had a wonderful 6 months in NYC, then found out I didn’t “win the H1B lottery”, so NERA offered to transfer me to their London office. I love London and can’t see myself living elsewhere. I worked at NERA for almost 3 years before landing my dream job at MFS. 

Currently, at MFS, I look at public equity as potential investment ideas and try to understand the business from bottom up, using a fundamental approach. My day-to-day involves some excel model work, some talking with company management to understand their leadership thinking and strategy, some participation in industry conferences to understand the key value drivers there, and finally, a lot of time reading on my own on whatever sources I can find about the company, be it annual reports, press releases, independent news, sell-side research, or Bloomberg articles. The sky is the limit really, and every company is so unique, so you never stop learning in this job. 

"I owe my journey into investment to Bill Fitzgerald because he himself is a very successful investor. I looked up to him during my time at Beloit and I wanted to be in a field which is intellectually challenging but at the same time, gives me good work-life balance."