I graduated in 2006 with a double major in both International Relations and Economics. From Philadelphia I moved to Los Angeles, where I joined Lehman Brothers' investment banking division to provide coverage of private equity clients, build leveraged buyout models and perform myriad other financial analyses. While I will continue to work for Lehman Brothers another year, I will be moving to another firm in Los Angeles, Ares Management, to work in the firm's private equity division next year.
While I don't think that there is one appropriate background for finance, I strongly believe that International Relations prepared me for finance by developing my analytical abilities and writing skills. Writing my thesis, sorting through competing academic interpretations of history and global systems and studying in a foreign country—all hallmarks of my experience in International Relations--served not only to sharpen my analytical capabilities, but also to sharpen my writing, improve my understanding of different cultures and domestic policies and make me a more well-rounded individual.
-James, Class of 2006
I received my BA with a major in international relations in May of 2004. After that I joined a Swiss bank, UBS, as an analyst within the investment banking division. The specific team I joined was the Latin America Group. A major reason I decided to join this group was because of my IR major where I wrote my thesis on the Argentine debt collapse. I actually had the amazing opportunity to work closely with Argentina to restructure its sovereign debt, which felt like a culmination of my thesis. I continued working on international deals within the Latin American Group from 2004 to 2006, and then switched my focus to financial institutions within the U.S.I joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 2006 and am currently an associate in the Consumer Retail Group at Goldman. I'm still very interested in IR and look forward to working in international business.
-Pierre Revol, Class of 2004
Since graduating from Penn in 2000, I have been working in investment banking and specifically in the debt capital markets. My clients are US financial institutions who enlist our help in accessing the European debt markets. Despite having a US domiciled client base, I am currently based in London in order to be close to the European markets. Accessing capital off shore is increasingly important for US finance companies and I spend much of my time meeting with European investors to help sell credit product for our US based clients. My background in International Relations has proven to be a solid foundation for my current role.
-Sarah Kanes, Class of 2000
I graduated from Penn in 1999 with a dual-major in IR and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. Since 1999, and have been working at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, a strategy consulting firm with an emphasis on technology innovation. For large multinational companies in the telecommunications, high-tech, financial services, and retail industries, I have helped to define and execute strategic plans, including product/service development, market entry, new venture planning, merger integration, large-scale technology implementation, and organizational transformation initiatives. From 2003 - 2005, I returned to graduate school at the University of Michigan where I pursued a joint-degree (MBA/MA) in business administration and Asian studies. While at Michigan, I received a Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship from the US Department of Education for a cultural immersion / language study program in Kyoto, Japan. I returned to Diamond after graduating from Michigan and am currently assisting the City of New York to define a municipal broadband and digital inclusion strategy. The knowledge and skills that I gained as an IR major have been invaluable in my career. For example, my knowledge of world affairs has enhanced my ability to work across cultures and geographies. More importantly, however, the critical analysis, research and writing skills that I developed as an undergraduate have been directly transferable to the business world.
-Neil Harrison, Class of 1999
I am currently a Vice President with LPL Financial Services. We are the largest independent broker/dealer in the country, and I am responsible for our recruiting efforts for the west coast. Prior to my current position, I was the Regional Director for Northern CA for 4 years. Before LPL, I worked for the asset management arm of Nationwide for 3 years. My initial job after Penn was with Towers Perrin. My degree from Penn has come up in my interview with all three firms, and I believe it played a valuable role in helping me advance quickly at each firm.
-Mike Murray, Class of 1998
Following graduation, I joined Towers Perrin as a strategic consultant to a number of large corporations. Due to my interest in foreign languages and culture, I was sent to do project work with a large American client who needed to research the Latin American Market. My employer agreed to sponsor me for language training in Spanish which drove my desire to continue to learn more about doing business in Latin America. This lead to my pursuit of a joint MBA/MA through Wharton and the Lauder Institute of International studies at the University of Pennsylvania where my focus was on Latin America and Spanish. Upon graduation I joined Accenture's Strategic Consulting practice where I focused on retail and consumer products, often working with multinational clients in their overseas offices. I later moved to an internal marketing position with American Express. Since starting a family, I have pursued a part-time career as a freelance marketing strategy consultant. I have worked for a number of clients, though my most interesting have been teaching as a member of the professional faculty for the Global Consulting Practicum at Wharton, and my current work with a foreign language company that provides global language and culture training to executives.
-Lisa Tretler, Class of 1994
After graduating from Penn, I pursued a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University, concentrating in US Foreign Policy and Diplomacy and Russian Area Studies. While at Georgetown, I interned at several organizations focusing on Russia/Eurasia issues—for Zbigniew Brzezinski at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, the Central and East European Law Initiative (of the ABA), and the US Information Agency. I studied twice in Moscow, Russia—during my junior year (spring semester) at Penn and the summer between graduate school years—and acquired professional level Russian capability.
Before graduating from Georgetown, I applied to teach English with the Peace Corps (slated for Central Asia) and had interviewed for two analyst positions with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Though very different opportunities, both appealed to me because of their tie to Russian/Eurasian affairs. I also applied to several jobs in the field of international education, specifically to manage study abroad and scholarship programs in Prague and Moscow. The hiring process was slow after graduation, and from 1995-1996 I worked for Penn’s Office of International Programs as the Study Abroad Admissions Coordinator.
I eventually chose to work for DIA because of the growth potential in the particular position I was offered. In 1996, I joined a newly-formed office dedicated to Russia/Eurasia issues. During almost seven years at DIA, I held a variety of analytic positions, including serving on task forces supporting US military operations and defense policymakers. I traveled extensively in Russia/Eurasia and Europe. I also pursued a second graduate degree—a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence—through the Joint Military Intelligence College (now National Defense Intelligence College). In 2003, I was recruited by a former colleague to work at a small consulting firm in northern Virginia, CENTRA Technology, Inc. I am currently a Senior Analyst managing outreach and analysis contracts for customers in the US national security community.
-Marianne B, Class of 1993
I started at Citibank as a currency and interest rate derivatives dealer, rose to Managing Director and Head of North American FX Short Term Interest Rate Trading. I moved to Bank of America in 2004 as Global Head of FX Short Term Interest Rate Trading. Then I moved with the Bank to London in January 2007 to manage Foreign Exchange in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
-Vincent DeLorenzo, IR and Wharton, Class of 1993
I currently serve as a Congressional lobbyist for IBM in Washington, D.C. I have had an interesting and internationally focused career since leaving Penn, and my IR major significantly shaped my graduate study and career path.
Following my graduation from Penn, I attended The George Washington University and received my Master of Arts in East Asian Studies. I decided to pursue this degree as a result of a non-western history/politics class on modern Chinese politics (1950-present) that I took during my junior year at Penn with Professor Goldstein. Following that class, I became fascinated with contemporary Chinese politics and economics, so it was a pivotal class in my undergraduate career. I also spent the Spring semester of my junior year in Washington, D.C., interning for a think tank that focused on international policy as a result of meeting the think tank's executive on Penn's campus during an event the previous Fall. When I began at GW in 1993, I got an internship with the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington, and I stayed there through my two years of grad school and then was hired on full-time. I was there a total of 5 1/2 years. The focus of this organization is to assist U.S. companies that are doing business in China. I wrote for their publications and provided consulting services to their member companies. You can find them on the web at: www.uschina.org.
In 1998, my husband and I moved to Moscow, Russia. Since we were both international policy people, it was a natural move for us. I worked at the American Chamber of Commerce as a senior policy advisor for about a year out of our 2 1/2 years there. My job was to be the liaison between our business community members of AmCham and the U.S. government.
Following that, I moved back to Washington, D.C., where I got a job as a manager of international affairs with the Telecommunications Industry Association. I did trade policy, covered the International Telecommunication Union and conducted many international policy-related activities for about 4 years there. It was my last 1 1/2 years at TIA when I started to cover domestic policy issues and eventually moved over to work on legislative activities with Capitol Hill.
I joined IBM in January, 2007, and the primary focus of my job is to serve as one of our Capitol Hill lobbyists. I lobby on behalf of greater funding for basic research, math and science education, as well as investment in health information technology. I work with our international teams, both here and in Washington, D.C., and I even get to work closely with Penn's federal relations staff in Washington. Having graduated from Penn about 14 1/2 years ago, I still have a long career ahead of me, but my education and the experiences I had while at Penn (both as an IR major and as an active participant in Model UN) shaped me forever.
-Meredith Singer, Class of 1993
I commissioned as a Logistics Officer, US Army from Penn ROTC. I served at various posts in the US and on a Logistics Support Group team in Taegu, South Korea, coordinating exercises with the South Korean and Japanese Armed Forces. Transitioned to Accenture in 1998 and consulted on various engagements in the US and UK. I have spent the last 5 years in the global alliances division and currently work as an alliance director for Accenture's Energy business unit. I spend 90% of my time doing business development and supporting projects outside the United States, primarily in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, SE Asia, and Latin America.
-Amy S, BA, Class of 1992
Ann Wyman is currently the Senior Economist in Citigroup's Economic and Political Strategies (EPS) Group, which provides global macroeconomic and political views to Citigroup's bankers and their clients in order to support strategic business decisions. Her recent work has focused on a variety of subject areas, including the global business implications of climate change, the evolution of emerging markets capital flows and the rise of Asian and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds. Prior to joining EPS, Ann was the Head of Economic and Market Analysis for the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Citigroup in London. In that post, she managed a team of economists producing sovereign research for dissemination to Citigroup's fixed income, foreign exchange and equity clients, along with firm's own proprietary desk, traders, and sales force and origination/syndication departments. Ann also spent several years as Citigroup's lead economist covering Turkey, Nigeria and other Middle Eastern and African countries. She received her Master of International Affairs degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in New York, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is fluent in French and Arabic.
-Ann Wyman, Class of 1992
I moved to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in December of 1991 to think about attending law school in fall of 1992. After several margaritas, I realized the world did not need another attorney, and I decided to focus on business. The economy was pretty bad in the US...The weather was great in Cabo, so I began my international hands on business education by running a restaurant and bar south of the border. After opening a few Mrs. Fields cookie franchises, I also worked as US Consular Agent for Baja California South (1994-1997). As Cabo grew, the State Department needed a local US citizen to handle emergency citizen services.
In 1997 I opened my first restaurant, "Senor Greenberg's Mexicatessen", and resigned the consular position in order to focus on my business. The "NY deli/Mexican diner" concept worked in Cabo, and I will open my third Senor Greenberg's location in December 2007. In 2001, once I trained a management team to handle daily operation of the restaurants, I partnered with an International telecommunications group as Regional Director of Mexican operations. The past couple of years I have also spent significant time pursuing real estate investment opportunities in Southern Baja. My wife is from Mazatlan, my son was born in Cabo and my businesses and investments are almost entirely in a foreign country. I began my "international" interest with an IR degree from PENN, and I continue to "relate internationally" today.
-David Greenberg, Class of 1991
I graduated in 1991 with a BA in IR. Following graduation I decided I wanted be in NY and pursue publishing. I wound up at PCWeek Magazine. It was there I became very interested in marketing and how effective it was to use detailed information to target specific users. I continued on this path for four years before I applied to business school. I thought an MBA would allow me to take my interest in business to the next level as well as expose me to new business areas. I receive my MBA from Wharton in 1997. The internet was just getting hot and I decided to take a job in Boston with Fidelity Investments in the Online Brokerage marketing. Financial services were at the forefront of establishing on-line business models. In my five years there I was working on everything from on-line advertising to product development to partner marketing. After Fidelity I was back to New York working at Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. (DTCC) which is in a completely different area of financial services. My focus is now on infrastructure-related products and services for the securities industry. I look for new business opportunities, many of which involve the globalization of the industry. In other words I look to make it easier to process trades across borders. I have been at DTCC for five years. I have been married for 12 years and I have 2 children, boys ages 5 and 8.
-Lisa Meiselman, Class of 1991
Upon graduating with a BA in International Relations & Economics, I took a position as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a $250 million wireless computer company (through a family introduction). Over the course of 3 years, I took on multiple product and industry marketing positions for this high tech company, working both in Western Europe, Australia and the U.S. As I saw windows of opportunity, I positioned myself to take on new responsibilities and to learn different parts of the business.
During my 2 year MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, I took on 2 internships – both a summer internship at Intel Corporation and a 2nd year internship at EFI, both in corporate marketing and marketing research. Following my graduation, I joined Siebel Systems in 1998 as an Alliance Manager. Over 6 years, I worked in Alliances and Product Marketing – launching new businesses and developing new software product lines. My last position at Siebel in 2003/2004 was General Manager of the $100+ million Public Sector division.
After 18 months of consulting for a venture capital firm, I took on a VP, Marketing position at PowerLight Corporation in the solar power industry. PowerLight was a $250 million global solar power systems integrator, and we were purchased by SunPower Corporation in January, 2007. I currently run Corporate Marketing for the combined companies, a global $750+ million solar power manufacturer and integrator. More than anything, my International Relations and Economics degrees helped teach me how to research, write and think critically. There is no substitute for effective communications in the business world – from writing to presenting to influencing others.
-Brian Stone, Class of 1989