Virginia, who has an interest in hedge funds, is a Vice President who works in credit risk in the firm's Budapest office. She joined the firm after graduation and was recently promoted from Associate.
Have you always been interested in finance?
Yes, I went to International Business School in Budapest, and I majored in finance and accounting. I had a general interest in economics and business, and at the end of my fourth year I became interested in investment funds. I actually wrote my thesis on hedge funds. It was a lucky coincidence that Morgan Stanley was hiring for a related position at that time.
What do you do at Morgan Stanley?
I've been with our credit risk department and on the same team for more than five years. I onboard and rate counterparties we trade with, monitor their exposure profile and evaluate transactions. Whenever there's a new counterparty, we provide our credit view before it would even start trading with Morgan Stanley. We speak to portfolio managers to gain a better understanding of how they trade and what their strategy is. This is information that isn't in the news or publicly available. It's a very exciting job.
What's a typical day like for you?
It's pretty dynamic and no day is the same, especially when there are market events that create excitement like Brexit or the U.S. election. When markets influence trading activities, we have to be vigilant with our credit view and monitor the counterparty exposure and stress impacts closely. Team work is important—we share knowledge about counterparties with each other and tackle some of the bigger projects together.
Why have you stayed at Morgan Stanley as long as you have?
What makes Morgan Stanley unique is the good atmosphere we have. I feel lucky to work with the people here. Everyone is collegial, helpful and very trusting, while also professionally driven and smart. There aren't silos. We can interact with senior people. There's also exposure to portfolio managers and hedge fund managers outside of the firm. This means I get to learn new insights, especially from people who have extensive experience in the field of asset management. It's interesting to see how they think.
Do you feel like you've been able to grow your career?
Yes, I recently became a team leader, and I just started managing three people. So far, it's been great. It was a very positive step for my career. I have been looking forward to this, and I am very excited. There's always been a new challenge for me and the chance to grow professionally. I have had increasing responsibilities in my time here. I've also had great guidance from my manager. We have monthly one-on-one meetings where I can discuss issues and problems I'm having. I always get constructive feedback and things to work on.
Is there a specific accomplishment you're proud of?
My team and I started putting out a hedge fund newsletter. We in Budapest work jointly with Morgan Stanley colleagues from New York and London. It started out where we sent it out to a smaller group, but the feedback was so positive that it evolved to a larger distribution, including senior management within risk and even our chief risk officer.