Morgan Samet, Investment Analyst
Morgan Samet is an investment analyst for a large family-owned investment firm. She currently works with three other analysts to invest the family’s money. As an analyst, Morgan evaluates and makes investments to maintain the family’s wealth. She assesses public and private companies in different industries to determine which investments will grow and become the most profitable. Morgan noted the family is exceptionally philanthropic, donating to a number of charities, particularly healthcare related causes.
Morgan loves the intellectual curiosity and diversity of what she does. Evaluating new investments and examining industries, companies, and management teams fosters her entrepreneurial mindset. She explained that her job requires developing a framework for how to think. Since the actual knowledge about industries and companies is constantly changing, using a strategic framework applicable across industries is critical to her success.
According to Morgan, people typically spend the first part of their careers developing technical skills and then, over time, develop a growth mindset. She delineated between large and small firms explaining that large firms provide great training and a solid network while small firms provide more autonomy. It’s common in a large firm to spend time and energy on learning processes and seeking face time (i.e. spending time with people who are influential to your career trajectory). People frequently move to smaller firms after establishing themselves in a large firm, often finding a more flexible situation but also enjoying more influence over processes and decisions.
Morgan described her favorite aspect and the most challenging aspect of her role to be one in the same: that she is always doing something new. Morgan developed strong technical skills early in her career, as she described is the standard, but industry knowledge changes frequently. She used the ever-changing pharmaceutical industry as an example; after researching a topic related to the pharmaceutical industry, it is sure to quickly change.
Morgan’s passion for learning is perfect for this career. She reads all the time, has the opportunity to meet interesting people, and is constantly learning something new. Morgan joked that she also knows tons of random facts. Who wouldn’t if they studied the pharmaceutical industry one day, the chicken industry another day, and fashion the next?!
What Did You Want to be When You Grew Up?
Morgan always knew she wanted to be in business, even as a young child. She said there was literally one day, after seeing the movie Outbreak, she wanted to be a biotech scientist; however, after literally one day, her sights were set back on business. Growing up, Morgan constantly started businesses—rallying support from friends and family and encouraging her friends to sell her products. She had an innate knack for business.
Even though she knew she wanted to go into business, Morgan didn’t know how to get there. The high school she attended didn’t have a history of alums attending Ivy League schools or working on Wall Street. In fact, the university she attended didn’t have a proven track record on Wall Street either; however, over the past ten years, that has changed, and Morgan was a trailblazer in that regard by launching her investment banking career on Wall Street.
She expressed that knowing her career goals early played a critical role in getting to Wall Street. Despite the university not having a clear path at the time she attended, Morgan said, “The direction was there, but I had to seek it out. For example, by talking to people, I learned joining a certain student organization freshman year was essential; otherwise, it would have been too late. I had to start by identifying what I needed to do and then hone my technical and soft skills required to get where I wanted to go.”
During her first semester of college, Morgan realized she was interested in finance and investing because they provided the most exposure to all business functions. She quickly joined the Investment Association student organization, as her peers had recommended, and received a lot of advice from faculty and members of the organization.
As an undergraduate, Morgan had three different internships: an investment banking firm, a Fortune 500 company in global financial and technology services, and a multinational finance company. She secured each of her internships by talking to and networking with alumni from the university she attended. Her last internship truly launched her career in investment banking. After completing that internship, she was offered a full-time position which she accepted. Morgan reiterated that had she waited until her junior year of college to figure everything out, rather than starting as a freshman, the career opportunities she had most likely would not have surfaced.
Morgan’s dynamic career path has fulfilled her personal value of intellectual curiosity. Her path so far has been:
Investment Banking: Morgan was able to learn so much about private equity in this role where she served as an advisor to clients raising capital via investments.
Private Equity: Private equity (PE) differs from investment banking in that investment decisions are left up to the associates. PE involves investing money in private businesses to purchase them and take full ownership over them. Once the PE firm purchases a company, it makes improvements and then sells the company.
While in PE, Morgan completed four deals gaining valuable experience. For example, one of the smaller companies didn’t have a chief financial officer (the person who oversees all of a company’s/firm’s finances), and Morgan got hands-on experience in direct reporting packages.
M.B.A.: Realizing she needed an M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) to progress in her career, Morgan took a two-year break from her career to pursue an M.B.A. full-time at an Ivy League school.
Business school provided an opportunity for Morgan to step back and digest everything she had learned in her career; it was also a chance to evaluate her next step. She loved investing but wanted to find an opportunity that was less formulaic and task-oriented and more self-directed and entrepreneurial. In addition to learning a lot, Morgan also grew her network during this time.
Investment Management: After graduating with an M.B.A., Morgan transitioned to investment management. She described it as similar to private equity, but rather than buying private companies, investment management firms buy a small parts of public companies. With the opportunity to construct investment ideas, Morgan really enjoyed this work.
Investment Analyst: In her current role as an investment analyst for a family-owned investment firm, Morgan is able to manage long-term capital and make decisions about how to invest and maintain the family’s wealth. She likes that it is less process-driven and more self-directed; additionally, she enjoys the flexibility, especially compared to investment banking. She has certainly earned more of a balance!
Morgan’s advice is, “Have high standards, but don’t beat yourself up about specific expectations.” She followed up with two specific recommendations. “Figure out what you want to do early.” Morgan firmly believes had she not known what she wanted to do early on, she wouldn’t be where she is. “It’s not to say I wouldn’t have gotten where I am, I just may not have done so as quickly,” she said. Morgan noted that a lot of jobs would have met her need for intellectual curiosity, but she loves her career and is so glad to have found it early on.
Morgan followed up by saying, “If you don’t figure out what you want to do early on, don’t beat yourself up about it. Have high standards, but fewer specific expectations. You can carve a path to get to the same place.”