• Students and Graduates

Passion to Make a Difference Opens Path to Finance

For Australian Analyst Xafina Dendrinos, the road to a career at Morgan Stanley meandered through the remote mountainside villages of Guatemala.

A few weeks before graduation, Xafina Dendrinos found herself in a position many college students can relate to: What do I do next?

For Dendrinos, a double major in economics and finance at the University of Melbourne in Australia, the world of business and finance would seem a natural next step. But she wasn’t sure she wanted to follow her peers into the corporate world. "I wanted to do something different," she decided.

As part of a study-abroad program, she travelled to Guatemala, where she joined other student volunteers for two months on a mission to help empower local women in remote mountain communities by teaching them how to build their own enterprises. Dendrinos served as one of the group’s strategists, helping local businesses scale for financial stability and independence.

At the time, all she thought was: “Doing what you love can help you find a job you love.” She found the opportunity resonated with her passion for finance, female empowerment and access to education.

Is This for Me?

That’s when Morgan Stanley called. Sometime around one in the morning locally, Dendrinos found herself on a satellite phone interviewing for an investment banking internship.

A few months earlier, she had applied for a Summer Analyst position with Morgan Stanley, after a close friend pointed out that her desire to be challenged and surrounded by highly driven, intelligent people might align with investment banking.

Still, Dendrinos admits that a job at an investment bank wasn't where she saw herself starting her career. However, speaking with people at Morgan Stanley helped open her eyes, not only to the variety of roles within the world of investment banking, but also to the diversity of personalities, perspectives and expertise that inhabit business areas and teams within.  She realized that a career at a leading global investment bank might just suit her temperament, intellectual curiosity and goals for personal growth.

Taking on the Challenge

Dendrinos accepted a position as a Summer Analyst, at the end of which she spent five months in Berlin finishing the last semester of university on exchange. She decided to keep travelling. Four months and many stops around the world later, she returned to Melbourne--eager to explore what the next phase of her career might reveal.

By then, Morgan Stanley had offered her a role as an Investment Banking Analyst, which began with a training program in Hong Kong, where she met a diverse group of new colleagues from all over the world.

What impressed her most were the people she met. Each analyst brought his or her own unique way of thinking and problem-solving to bear, fueled by intellectual depth and expertise in a wide range of interests. 

“You’re surrounded by really smart people, at a place that is connected globally, so working in one office opens your eyes to so much more—to different people, places, ways of thinking, solving problems and achieving great outcomes," Dendrinos says.

In her search for a different perspective, which once took her to the mountains of Guatemala, Dendrinos now found herself at another high elevation, one which gave her access to new networks of people and possibilities that would extend  her horizons more than she could have ever imagined.

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