bobbyleakWhen I was at the Year Up program, I was given the opportunity to intern at Morgan Stanley. After a successful first interview, I was placed in the GLS (Global Loan Servicing) group, where I learned a variety of different skill sets related to the credit markets, specifically to syndicated or corporate loans. When I joined the GLS team in August 2008, things were rolling along in the credit markets. In early September, the markets took one of the worst turns in history, which nearly derailed the company and could have eliminated 60,000 jobs. I stayed focused helping the team push through a truly difficult period, and in November I was offered a position with the firm. After being hired as an analyst of the GLS reconciliation, I was asked to take on a new task of helping lead and develop the Retail Banking Operations team that was being created in Baltimore. This team primarily focuses on the incoming deposits transactions of Morgan Stanley’s retails clients’ AAA brokerage accounts and business accounts. After a successful handoff of my responsibilities to the retail banking team in January 2011, I was promoted to Associate.

Biggest Challenges

The hardest part for me was going through the 2008 credit crisis as an intern and really seeing how serious the situation was for a lot of financial services professionals. My overall goal was to get an opportunity to work at Morgan Stanley, and I really did not think it was possible considering the economic situation. It was especially difficult for a lot of first year analysts who I worked with as their parents were concerned about their well-being. I remember clearly the parent of the colleague stationed next to me calling and asking her if she would have a job the next day. She was distraught and scared, as was everyone. I felt like my opportunity had vanished at that point. However, I kept thinking clearly about the benefits and experience I would gain by continuing to do the best job I could and helping everyone.

Help Along The Way

I received a ton of help along way. The Year Up staff, especially my advisor and my instructors, all helped me stay focused and accomplish my goals. At Morgan, I had great mentors who assisted me and directors who gave me pointers on how to be professional. Help is never far away if you ask for it!

Skills that Came in Handy

Professionalism is key in any corporate environment. Year Up does a great job teaching you professional and business writing skills necessary to be successful. When the Executive Director told me that she wanted to hire me for the GLS team, she said that these skills were one of the key reasons.

The Best Part

What I like about my job is the opportunity to grow as a professional and network. I have met so many great business minds and a professional, which helps me understand that I can continue to grow as a person and professional. I like the challenges that my job brings, as there is never a dull moment. With the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture, there are tons of different things to learn about how a company successfully completes an acquisition and how they blend cultures and strategically map out the process.

Looking Forward

I am currently continuing my education at the University of Baltimore to get my Bachelors in Business Management. I am also currently drafting a business plan for a consulting business focusing on personal finance strategies for lower income families and individuals. Being born and raised in Baltimore and not having many privileges growing up, I really feel like I can help individuals and families in similar situations. At Morgan Stanley, I am learning about leadership, how to have a bigger voice, and how to create my personal and professional brand. I am also currently engaged. The big day is in August of 2012.