Interviewed by Brooke LePage ‘19
BL: What have you done since leaving Trinity?
CM: I graduated in 2011 and since then, I’ve worked in two financial technology consulting roles. Now I’m at a startup called Seismic Software as an account relationship manager. I thought I was going to go into poli sci related fields but found my way into financial technology. The liberal arts background I received at Trinity definitely prepared me to learn and pick something up that, at the time, was totally foreign.
BL: That actually leads right into my next question. Is there anything you learned at Trinity that you’ve used or that’s helped you in your career? And for some alums, this is skills or knowledge that they’ve learned in their political science courses. But often I also hear a lot about the skills they learn just from attending a liberal arts institution. Things like communication and written skills. Are there any skills that you learned at Trinity that have helped you?
CM: I think back on an exercise a professor used to have us do. You were essentially assigned a stance on a subject and then tasked to come up with three pros for your idea. More importantly, you had to come up with three counter arguments as well, so you had an idea what the other idea was going to say, and then you had to combat those counterarguments. We did that almost every class and it really stuck with me, especially working with finance personalities, who can be difficult. I think being able to critically think about counter arguments that are going to come up from the other side and being prepared to acknowledge them helps in the workplace. It’s definitely better that just going into a meeting with what you want to say and that’s it, and it has honestly helped me a great deal. And that’s something I think about almost every day. Any sort of client interaction, I’m always thinking about the point that I’m trying to make or the path that I want to lead our client down. I’m preparing and I’m anticipating; I’m expecting in some cases a lot of push-back. But if I go through the exercise and sort of walk through what they might say and pick holes in their arguments ahead of time, I think that helps me. That helps me sort of drive my points a little bit better. And in terms of soft skills, I can’t speak highly enough about how that helps. Speaking to people who are unpolished and have poor communications skill is definitely impactful, especially during interviews. So I think having the background Trinity provided me certainly helps you prepare for the real world.
BL: What are your proudest accomplishments since graduating Trinity?
CM: I have a couple of things. Being 23, 24 years old and walking into a hedge fund by myself and sitting at the table across from four or five C-level employees—traders, portfolio managers, etc.—and having my thoughts and ideas treated with equal respect. I think that has probably been my biggest accomplishment. It’s not something that a lot of people get in that environment. And so I’m proud of the fact that I was lucky enough to be put in that position and be successful in that role. There are certainly more company specific achievements: getting promoted, etc. But I think ultimately what marked my experience was being confident and feeling comfortable in those types of environments. Especially not having a direct finance background or a direct a computer science background or anything like that.