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Undergraduate Program

What's it like to work for a major investment bank?

Name: Deepali Nangia
Graduation date: May 1996; June 1997
Major: Economics; Finance and Accounting (Simon School, 3-2 Program)

What is your current position?
My current position is Associate - Equity Research in the Life Insurance sector at Salomon Smith Barney. However, I have been in this position only since August. Prior to this position I was an Investment Banking Analyst in the Financial Institutions Group at Salomon as well.

What is the nature of your work?
My current position entails publishing opinions on life insurance stocks in our coverage universe, modeling earnings projections, meeting management teams, attending investor conferences and talking to buy-side clients about stocks.

My previous position entailed modeling mergers and acquisitions, preparing presentations for clients and Board members, preparing retail sales memoranda for underwriting transactions and conducting due diligence.

What does a typical day consist of? What do you do? When do you start? How late do you work?
My typical day consists of working on reports, publishing notes on stocks that make an announcement and talking to clients. I work from about 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. During earnings reporting seasons the hours are longer. Usually work weekends as well.

In my previous position consisted of performing comparable company analysis, modeling, preparing company profiles and presentations. I used to work from 9 a.m. to about on average 2-3 a.m. during the first year. The hours got better in the second year. Included both days on the weekend.

What's the best way of learning more about the work you do?
Talking to people in the business because it is definitely less glamorous than it looks but nothing beats the Wall Street analyst experience when it comes to finance.

Looking back at your undergraduate days at Rochester, what courses or activities were particularly valuable for your current position?
Courses such as Macroeconomics will go a long way. Today I am writing a report and am including the effect of economic indicators such as interest rates and unemployment on life and disability insurance products including the bottom-line impact on companies selling such products. Looking back core English helped a lot especially since my job now entails so much writing. Liberal arts classes like philosophy and almost all econ that help you think critically help you in whichever field you plan to focus on.

In retrospect, were there things you wish you did more of?
I wish I had traveled more and taken more of English literature and theatre. And of course I also wish I had taken some more math. I had to kind of speed up the process because of the 3-2 requirements though.

What do you think is the next logical career step for you?
I think I would like to get on the buy-side or the principal investment side working for a fund who makes minority as well as majority investments in start-up companies. My background would be well suited because such a job would be a combination of transaction/deal experience as well as research experience. Other career choices when I am old and retired (which I hope will be at 35) are a journalist for a business magazine or the Economist (I could travel all over the place) and believe it or not I have given teaching a thought.

Is there anything that you would like to advise our majors today about their future?
There is so much out there to do. The world in the next two-three years will be a different world. With the current capital markets conditions and funding flows into start-up companies, I would definitely seize the opportunity. Go out and take risks because if you don't do it now you never will (that includes bungee jumping). And also, school is probably the best thing that will ever happen to you.