As a communications student majoring in media management at the University of Miami, Cassidy Malloy didn’t imagine herself 10+ years later as an MBA student at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Being Near the Action Currently a first year MBA, Cassidy grew up in a real estate family in Rhode Island and spent her post-undergraduate years primarily in the consumer and retail industries in management roles. Along the way, she realized that she wanted to be near the action – and the action was in the finance department. Throughout each position she held, “the focus was on the numbers side of the business,” she explains. Seeing that finance was at the core of every business she had worked for, Cassidy says, “I wanted to be where decisions were being made.” There was a small barrier in her way though. Cassidy didn’t have a finance background and she knew that it would require more knowledge to get where she wanted to be. To strengthen her finance muscles, she says, “I started looking at MBA programs because I wanted to become more well-rounded professionally.” Getting the Inside Track on Finance When Cassidy first heard about Forté, and started signing up for its events and opportunities, she came across the Financial Services FAST Track program. “It seemed like an opportunity to get a head start on pursuing a career in finance,” she explains. Attending the 2022 program expanded her network and introduced her to key recruiters, but the most valuable take-away was the insight she gained into the multiple paths that a finance career could take. “For people like me who didn’t have a finance background, it gave me a deeper understanding of the finance industry and the different types of post-MBA roles that are available,” she says. Already “pretty sold on finance” as a career, Cassidy says that the tools she received at Financial Services FAST Track to start her career – such as leadership, relationship, and mentorship tips – “were invaluable” and “made me feel confident to lead.” Pivoting to Investment Banking this Summer Forté’s FAST Track to Finance event as well as attendance at the 2022 MBA Women’s Leadership Conference already put Cassidy one step ahead in learning about the financial services industry, but her connection to Forté also helped her secure an upcoming summer internship. “Before I even started school in the fall, through the network I built at the conferences, I was able to get a summer internship and help fund my education with an accompanying diversity [as a female] fellowship offer,” she says. While she doesn’t share the name of the company where she will intern, she says it is an investment bank. She hopes to convert her summer internship into a full-time opportunity where she can make a meaningful impact on the future of the consumer retail industry at large, when she completes her MBA. Cassidy sees getting an internship early as a big advantage. “Going into first semester with that under my belt, I am able to focus on learning and studying instead of balancing recruiting and learning,” she explains. For young women who are uncertain about the path ahead, Cassidy’s advice is simple: “Say yes to Forté” and other opportunities for growth. She also shares a favorite quote by Annie Duke, a former professional poker player: “Two things determine how your life will turn out: luck and the quality of your decisions.” Cassidy sees them as intertwined. “Making the right decisions will provide you with opportunities to get lucky and succeed.” We’re betting on Cassidy Malloy.