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Stephanie Henderson: From Peace Corps Plans to Pitching Stocks

Stephanie-HendersonStephanie Henderson, Equity Research Analyst, Fidelity Asset Management

Henderson reflects on pivoting from Peace Corps plans to pitching stocks

Stephanie Henderson majored in Political Science and minored in African Studies at Middlebury College, aiming high in her plans to work for the Peace Corps in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, she applies that same enviable ambition in a vastly different role, loving her job as an equity research analyst for Fidelity Asset Management in Boston, Massachusetts.

HOW SHE GOT THERE

A Middlebury alum working at Fidelity connected her with its unique, three-year associate program that employs undergrads directly out of college. Tapping into her college interests in researching what makes countries and governments strong and sustainable, the role challenged her to evaluate companies to determine what gives some a competitive edge. Henderson was attracted to Fidelity and the financial services sector because she felt they wanted to hire smart people who think differently and thus represent a variety of majors.

WHAT SHE DOES

Since being promoted to analyst, she conducts quantitative and qualitative research on about 30 assigned energy stocks and reports to Fidelity’s portfolio managers if she recommends investing.

WHY SHE LOVES HER JOB

It’s never boring, it demanded a high level of accountability right out of college, and she has flexibility in how she gets it done. She adds: “On month one, you’re looking at multi-billion dollar market caps. If a portfolio manager buys into your process and believes your pitch, then they can invest $50 million dollars into the company based on your call.”

HER DREAM

She’s striving to become a diversified fund manager who invests in all different sectors. In her short time there, she’s already rotated sectors.

HER TIPS FOR INTERESTED UNDERGRADS

  1. Prepare as much as you can, then exude confidence.
  2. Apply to jobs in the financial services industry — don’t be intimidated as a woman in a male dominated industry and/or a nontraditional major.
  3. Find and cultivate mentors, both women and men.

Learn more about financial careers at Forté Foundation’s new College Fast Track to Finance Conference on May 1, 2015, in Boston. Interested undergraduate women should apply to attend by April 10. Let’s make tracks!

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