Xavier Jefferson, MBA 24, worked as a general analyst in wealth management before arriving at Haas, where he planned to narrow his focus to land a job as a securities analyst concentrating on stocks and bonds.
“When I looked in the mirror, I saw a capital allocator, someone responsible for making investment decisions,” Jefferson said, “And I came to a point in my career where I needed to find ways to be exposed to the next level of investors and thinkers outside of books, podcasts, and blogs.”
That ambition led him to Haas, where he is now among the 2022 Finance Fellows, first-year, full-time MBA students pursuing careers in finance fields that include investment banking; private equity and investment management (including quantitative finance); and entrepreneurial finance (which includes VC, fintech, and impact investing).
Students receive a $5,000 cash award, and are assigned mentors, who are Haas alumni working in finance, including recent graduates and senior executives.
“The one-on-one mentoring by alumni in the field provides high-level perspective and advice, which the Fellows capitalize on in seeking opportunities, and then succeeding on the job in these fields,” said William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic program for the Haas Finance Group.
The 2022 Fellowship recipients, all MBA 24, include:
Investment Banking: Nick Goomer, Didi Pritakinari, Daniel Billostas, Adebola Adeniyi
Private Equity & Investment Management: Xan Wood, Xavier Jefferson, Meredith Albion
Entrepreneurial Finance: Yining Yan, Elias Mufarech, Hoi Wong
C&J White Fellows (selected in the spring before matriculating): John Graft and Teo Gumusoglu
The mentor edge
The Finance Fellowship program launched 17 years ago, expanding over the years as more MBA students pursued finance careers. All Fellows are chosen based on their experience and preparation in their stated area of interest, the clarity of their goals and career plans, and interviews. They all receive priority enrollment for finance electives.
Finance Fellow Nick Goomer said the program has given him the opportunity to learn directly from his Morgan Stanley mentor.
“Despite his busy schedule and responsibility, he has taken a hands-on approach to help me curate my unique story, and learn about how the tech world is shifting in our new market landscape,” Goomer said. “He is a force of nature within the tech investment banking industry, and I am incredibly grateful to have him as my mentor.”
Yining Yan, who worked in blockchain venture capital in Singapore before coming to Haas, said that a mentor will play a critical role in her career development in the Bay Area.
“Having a mentor who is deeply rooted in the industry will be the most effective approach for an international student to plug into the local entrepreneurship and VC investing ecosystem,” she said.
Making venture capital more equitable
Fellow Hoi Wong, who was a business operations manager at fintech startup Bluevine before he arrived at Haas, is driven toward entrepreneurial finance for reasons that hit close to home.
“My parents were immigrant small business owners who leveraged a loan to start and grow their business, despite only having a grade-school level of education,” Wong said. “Entrepreneurship was one of the major levers that helped my family rise from poverty.”
Wong plans to pivot from the operating side of fintech to the investing side by joining a fintech-focused venture capital firm. He’s also exploring venture capital investing within major financial services firms.
“As a first-gen student, I believe one way to make venture funding more equitable is by changing who is in control of the money, and one way to do that is to become a VC investor myself,” Wong said.