I attended CFA Society Boston’s recent bank loan and structured investments career chat with Heather Young. As a new CFA charterholder, this was one of my first CFA Society Boston events. I found the event to be very rewarding. Not only did Heather educate us all on bank loans and structured investments, but she also gave practical career advice relevant to all fields of finance.
Heather began her career in 2005, just before the financial crisis, in a Credit Training Program where she gained underwriting, modeling, and financial statement analysis expertise. Heather emphasized how having a good credit base of knowledge is essential for those who want to go into any structured or unstructured credit field. She then went on to become a Research Analyst at Loomis Sayles in 2008. She also got her MBA at MIT. Currently, Heather works at Loomis Sayles as a Bank Loan Portfolio Manager.
One of the major takeaways of Heather’s lecture was to get a mentor. She stressed how instrumental a mentor has been in her own career. In order to find a mentor, Heather suggested we seek out someone who is smart, has integrity, and believes in you. She emphasized how a network will harder for you than your resume will. Mentors can be colleagues you work with or a mentor may be someone you volunteer with or someone you may have matched with through CFA Society Boston’s Mentor Match program.
A second key takeaway Heather gave was to stand by our convictions. For instance, it was important early in her career (especially during the GFC) to stand by her convictions, as long as they are well-reasoned and rational, despite pushback from her seniors or disagreement from her peers. Heather also stressed the importance of “playing the long game,” as we all have a finite number of career moves. While sometimes a new title or pay raise is enticing, it may not always be the best path and has caused some she knew to get “stuck” in their careers.
One of the aspects that struck me most from the session was Heather’s drive and sense of inner confidence. She acknowledged that she gained this trait through going outside of her comfort zone early and often in her career. For example, she would solicit feedback from her mentors and those she trusted to give her feedback that was “hard to hear” following presentations etc. Through this feedback, she was able to build confidence in her own abilities.
I came away from Heather’s session feeling excited to continue expanding my network through CFA Society Boston. Thank you for your valuable insights, Heather!