After winning a bronze in Torino, then USA Ice Hockey forward Sarah Wolter’s future seemed destined for the ice—until an injury took her in a different direction.
When Sarah Wolter – then Parsons – was 17, she was the youngest player on the U.S. women’s ice hockey team, deferring a year from Dartmouth to compete in the 2006 winter games in Torino. She scored four goals and three assists in five games there, and led her team to a bronze medal.
For her, a future on the ice seemed certain. But today, the 29 year-old Wolter, now part of Morgan Stanley’s currency sales team, reflects on how much life can veer wildly from what you plan in school.
After Torino, she played hockey for Dartmouth as an undergrad, with her sights set on the 2010 winter games in Vancouver. “Then in my junior year I got hit with a slap-shot and broke my leg,” she recalls. “Everything had been planned around Vancouver, but I didn’t recover in time.”
The adjustment was tough. “The girls and the team were my life…it was incredibly difficult,” Wolter says. “But it’s interesting to now think that if I hadn’t broken my leg, I mightn’t have ended up living in New York with a career at Morgan Stanley, which I love.”
As single-minded as athletes need to be, Wolter advises undergrads with a pro sports career in mind to put some thought into a Plan B. Wall Street was a natural choice for Wolter with a major in economics and an interest in the capital markets after growing up with two parents in the finance business. But she hadn’t prepared for much beyond Vancouver. “I was caught off guard, so I had no planned summer internship in place to lead me to a job,” she says.
Undeterred, Wolter played a career slap-shot of her own, by aiming high and applying to as many different financial and consulting firms as possible after she graduated in 2010. Morgan Stanley was among them, and Wolter was surprised by how quickly unsolicited offers of help started to roll in from employees. “There’s a strong Dartmouth network here,” she says. “As soon as I applied I got emails from alumni working in sales and trading, offering to help me in any way they could.”
Competition is in Wolter’s blood, but so too is the camaraderie that comes with being on a team. The combination of both that she saw at Morgan Stanley made the firm a good fit. “The people at Morgan Stanley are competitive, but in a healthy way because we all work toward a common goal. That emphasis on being collegial and working as a team really struck a chord with me,” she says.
Although Wolter doesn’t play competitively anymore, she coaches ice hockey, runs marathons, and can appreciate the silver lining that came with her injury. “The world isn’t always as rosy as you think it’s going to be, but I now get to work with awesome people and I love what I do every day. As a first job I really lucked out.”