David Suchy ’12 (Eindhoven, Netherlands) crossed an ocean to enroll in Macalester, confident that it would give him a great education. But what he didn’t realize then, he says, was the power of Macalester connections, and how that power would launch his career.
In July, Suchy—a math and physics major—will move to New York City to begin work as an investment banking analyst at UBS, a job he first heard about thanks to an alum’s email.
That alumna was Varini Sharma ’11, who’d been hired by UBS the summer before following a successful internship. During winter break she wrote to economics professor emeritus Karl Egge, asking if he could recommend some Mac students for an opening on her health care team.
Egge forwarded the email to Suchy, who wasted no time applying for the job. With some coaching from Sharma (“She told me what makes her team different from others, why she works there, what the work is like on a daily basis”), he was soon one of 30 seniors doing telephone interviews with UBS. A short time later he was one of five interviewing in person in New York.
The very next day UBS offered him the job.
“I was able to leverage a non-standard major into something that made me stand out.”
What seems like a simple process, however, actually had a lot of work and thought behind it. As a sophomore, Suchy took a class from economics professor Joyce Minor '88: Introduction to Investment Banking. “That’s when I first started to think about investment banking as a career,” he says.
It was in Applied Economics, aka Deals, class the following semester that Suchy met Ali Alizadeh ’85, president of the local private equity firm Hemisphere Companies. The following summer he interned at Hemisphere for Alizadeh and partner Peter Ahn ’87. Alizadeh, along with Minor and Egge, have been important mentors to Suchy. The many business professionals who have spoken to his economics classes have also been very helpful, he says, adding that the ability to attract relevant speakers is among the advantages of attending a college in an urban area.
Suchy spent last summer as an investment banking intern for Citigroup in London. Despite being European and despite the undeniable glamour of London, Suchy “ideally wanted to be in New York City, USA,” making him thrilled to have landed the UBS job. “The United States is a performance-based culture. If you work hard here, you get opportunities,” he says.
Suchy’s physics/math degree turned out to be an asset rather than an obstacle. “Most people welcomed me as a non-economics or non-business major,” he says, adding that people saw his majors as proof he’d mastered logical thinking and problem solving. “I was able to leverage a non-standard major into something that made me stand out.”
As for attending a liberal arts college rather than a business school, “the advantage we have is that we learn how to think as opposed to learning specific vocations,” says Suchy. “We’re prepared to figure out situations when we encounter them. Investment banking can get chaotic, with multiple demands. You have to be creative in your problem solving and having a liberal arts background helps with that.”