Alumni Insight: How Networking helped the President of Kosmos Investment Management feat. Amy Bautista ’03
Amy (Kosmos) Bautista graduated from Hamilton in 2003 with a degree in Economics. She currently is President and Chief Investment Officer of Kosmos Management, an investment management firm that oversees a patented insurance synthetic bond strategy for large institutions.
My advice to students is to reach out and network with peers and alumni. In my opinion, people really like helping and talking about what they do. If someone is busy, they will tell you that right now isn’t a good time. The job of the “asker” is to be humble and receptive to whatever the asked person is able to give. One of the objections that I get from friends is that it is uncomfortable to reach out to someone that you might not know well and what if they say no? My belief is that everyone has gotten to their career point through someone else helping along the way.
I developed my perspective on the importance of networking started my sophomore year at Hamilton. I entered Hamilton knowing I wanted to go into finance but had no concept of how broad the field of finance is and how many different jobs it entails. During a dorm room presentation, Kino Ruth from the career center commented that we were already behind on our job search. Myself, like many of my peers figured we had plenty of time to figure out what we wanted to do in life and internships were something to worry about in May of our junior year. This 30-minute presentation opened my eyes to the importance of informational interviews and networking to the advancement of your career growth. I spent most of my sophomore and junior year taking Amtrak down to NYC to perform informational interviews with Hamilton alumni in the banking industry. Through these interviews, I learned the difference between being a trader, a sell-side research analyst, an investment banker, and private wealth manager. My eyes were opened to the large difference in daily tasks for professions, where prior I had grouped them all under “finance” category. I am grateful for how open the Hamilton alumni community was in giving me their time and wealth of knowledge as I started my career. What I wish I had done better was an evaluation on the required skill sets for the profession to my strengths and interests. I got so starry eyed with my perceived importance of investment bankers that I didn’t analyze whether the job description was somewhere I would thrive. As fate had it, I ended up in the final rounds at 4 investment banks but no job.
I found myself in January of my senior year with no job offer and no idea where to go. I started leaning on my family’s network to job search. I learned the lesson that a network can open the door for a job interview but you must earn the job yourself. Most often, one’s network can get your resume into the right hands and a closer look than going through the normal channels.
When I look back on my career, the large turning points have come through networking in the most unexpected way. My pivotal career as a research analyst came from sitting outside my condo in Boston asking one of my neighbors if they knew any job openings that would match. It turned out her husband was looking for someone and gave me an interview in his firm. Never would I have thought that Halloween and 4th of July parties would have led to a large career advancement. Another example is six years ago, my firm had a patented investment strategy, pairing a life insurance policy with an annuity to create a synthetic bond, but no investor. Our first client introduction came from two unlikely sources: a board member who sat on a board with our CEO and a friend that our CEO met while going to a University of Washington versus Notre Dame football game. The first person helped get us the introduction to the pension and the second one gave us credibility.
Here are my key recommendations for networking:
- Be professional and courteous to everyone you meet. You never know when that person is going to be the missing link. Your professional reputation is one of the hardest things to build and easiest item to lose.
- Ask for 30-minute informational interviews
- Be respectful of the person’s time: show up on time, offer to buy the coffee/tea, at the end of the 30 minutes acknowledge that you have used up the time and let the other person extend the time.
- Be prepared: have specific goals and questions for the meeting. It is even better if you have shared that with the person you are interviewing so they can come prepared.
- Write a thank you note, email is fine, within 24 hours.
- If they connect you to people in their network, make sure you follow up and loop them back in with the fact the meeting happened and how it went.
- Always say yes when someone asks you for an informational interview
- Some of my best employees have come from recommendations of people who reached out for informational interviews with me. Networking goes both ways.
- Don’t just network when you are job searching or need something.
- Join boards and professional organizations and get involved.
Kristen Archibald Rodriguez graduated from Hamilton in 2006 with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. Since graduating, Kristen has held a variety of roles as an Independently Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently lives in the Netherlands.
From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to have a career in the field of social sciences/services. I didn’t know exactly what it would look like or how I would get there, but I knew I liked working with others, helping, and enjoyed a good challenge.
At Hamilton, I majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. While being dedicated to the social sciences, I did my best to explore all that Hamilton had to offer – I took an art class, music, dance, played field hockey… I wanted to try new things and stay focused. But focused on what? I wasn’t sure…. I didn’t know exactly who or what I wanted to be when I “grew” up, except someone in the field of social services.
Right after Hamilton, I took a summer off to have fun and enjoy myself. I was a senior staff leader at the beloved summer camp I spent every summer at since I was nine years old. At the end of that summer, I felt grounded – I loved camp and it helped me start my career path with confidence and a smile on my face and served as a great transitional experience as I began to venture into the unknown.
That fall, I landed my first job: one that I wanted despite not knowing exactly what I was getting into. I was working at a 24/7 residential facility for adolescent girls who were removed from their homes for a variety of reasons, such as mental illness, trauma, truancy, sexual exploitation, delinquency. Along with the other staff, my job was to care for and mentor the girls through the struggles they face daily. Despite our efforts, it wasn’t always a happy place – many a times I came home worried I had lice, having gotten spit on or punched in the face, with bumps, bruises, scratches, and rug burns. Sometimes things got physical and it was part of my job to safely manage it.
The average burnout rate for staff in residential services is 3 – 6 months and I held this job for 2.5 years. I loved it because I made a difference and I learned more about myself than I ever expected to, especially in regards to my tolerance level and how to manage myself when things seemed too hard. I was also good at it and did well progressing through the hierarchy.
There was the catch though: my days off were Monday and Tuesday, and I worked from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., which meant that I never saw my friends and family who all had typical Monday through Friday, 9 – 5 jobs. I also held a second part time job as a waitress to make ends meet. I lived in an apartment with a good friend of mine, although we rarely saw each other because of my work schedule.
Next, I went to graduate school after spending a lot of time deciding on which social science degree was best for me. I ultimately decided that a Masters in Social Work (MSW) suited me best for its versatility and the type of jobs I was looking for. I always seem to gravitate towards the work that no one else wants to do; I love working with the underdogs and black sheep!
MSW, full-time, took two years. I was a better student than my peers who enrolled straight out of their undergraduate degrees because I had real work experience. For example, I knew from my work in residential services what schizophrenia “looked like” already, rather than just reading the diagnostic criteria in a book. Because I worked in the field before graduate school, I was able to get more value out of and elevate my learning and graduate education. Working in social services before graduate school also solidified that I was in the right career field before I invested significant time, money, and effort into more school.
I encourage working before continuing your education after Hamilton. I don’t believe delaying graduate school will set you back because your life and career is not a race; and, it will make you stronger in the long run. As an adult, experience(s) can often be more valuable than book smarts, especially when it comes to your resume.
After completing my MSW, I returned to my previous employer and residential services as a Program Director because I knew that sitting in an office having weekly therapy sessions with clients was not for me – I needed more stimulation. For the next three years I ran a 24/7 residential program for adolescent girls in acute psychiatric crisis (self-injurious behavior, suicidal/homicidal endorsement, substance use, eating disorders, all types of trauma, severe aggression, etc). I finally had my Monday through Friday, 9 – 5 job! But, I was often on-call, which meant that while out to dinner with friends on Saturday night, I would sometimes be hiding in the bathroom or standing out on the street talking on my work phone. This scene also happened on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My work-life balance was very poor and work was always in the way of my life. I just kept on giving and giving to work.
As a result, residential services eventually started to burn me out. At this time, I was 30 years old, and had moved in and out of my parent’s house multiple times for a variety of reasons. I had also realized I didn’t want my boss’ job despite being ready for it. I’d put so much time and effort into my career and now what? I felt lost.
One thing I knew was that I needed a change and that I was at a time in my life where I realized my career didn’t always need to be my number one priority. And for that matter, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace I was going at for the rest of my life. I wanted to find love, marry, have a family, and spend quality time with my friends and family who up until now, I’d allowed to be second to my work.
To change this, I hopped across the “pond” of social services to the other side and tried something totally different: policy social work. It was a macro job for me whereas everything I’d known until now was micro or clinical, where I worked with individuals to improve their lives. Now, I was an advocate, a lobbyist, for those providing services to individuals in need. I worked to improve systems and policies for both clients and providers. I had my Monday through Friday, 9 – 5 job, and was never on-call! I was able to reclaim my social and family life, and it was glorious. Even though I’d originally made a choice to prioritize my personal life with the quality of life this job offered me, I ended up still having a win for my career. I held this job for three years, and despite having taken a risk, a chance on trying it out, it greatly, and unexpectedly, diversified and advanced my career. I am now a more well-rounded and versatile social worker because of this role.
I don’t have any regrets about committing so much to my career so early on – it was the right time to do it for me. I feel accomplished and am happy with where my career is today. My career feels more settled, or maybe it’s that I am more confident, so it doesn’t need to be my #1 anymore. In looking back, what is important to me, is that I knew when my priorities needed adjusting – for myself, for my happiness, for my quality of life, for what I wanted out of life and my career.
All my early career commitments and experience keeps me confident in where I am in my career today – I don’t feel like I’ve stalled out because I chose and found love and am still figuring it out overseas. I have a lot to fall back on in terms of career experience, have already accomplished a lot as compared to my peers, and still have so much time left in my career to figure it out… to find my dream job, no matter where or what in the world it may be.
Tyler Rehor ’17 graduated with his degree in Economics. While at Hamilton, he worked for the Career Center and was active in HEAG. He was also a member of the Water Polo and Swimming & Diving teams.
By the time I was a senior, I felt like I had the whole “college” thing down to a science. I knew how to prioritize and finish my work (admittedly putting more effort into something I knew would impact my grade while passing over something like a reading), manage my time well enough to play two sports and still have time to have a fairly, let’s say “indulgent” social life, and managed to get good grades on top of it all. Upon graduating, I realized that there was one aspect of college I think I really mastered – especially at Hamilton.
The four years at Hamilton go by in an instant, and college offers too many opportunities to not do what you genuinely enjoy doing (or think you might enjoy). My typical schedule includes a 40-60 min commute (depending on traffic), work from about 8am-5pm, that same commute back home, working out, and then making and eating dinner. By the time I have free time, it is usually around 8 or 9pm, so I like to maximize my free time to do what I like. However, I cannot simply walk across campus to a squash court to see how I like it (I’m terrible by the way) or to a random club meeting to see what they actually do because I still have no idea after 30 emails.
My advice would be to take as many risks as possible at Hamilton and try as many things as you can. After graduating, I have found it much harder to try out new experiences and pursue different interests of mine, so I’m always grateful I had that opportunity at Hamilton. In the “real world,” it requires more effort to, for example, go a weekend-long backpacking trip, to try a new sport, or to explore a potential interest of yours by showing up to a few club meetings. At Hamilton, you have the incredible freedom to, at any time, do almost whatever you want to try. Don’t stay in your room for any longer than you need to be – get out and take advantage of everything Hamilton has to offer (and if you are not sure what that is, ask people). Doing this will help to give you a much better idea of what hobbies and interests to invest in after Hamilton, and make post-grad life much more enjoyable.
For the readers who like to skim for the main points like I do:
- Hamilton lets you try out almost anything you want to – take advantage
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable – take risks
- Actually do your reading for class
- Don’t kid yourself – the 10 minute walk to something is not a good excuse to not go
- If you think you might like something, try it out – what’s the worst that can happen?
Alumni Insight: How a Religion & Econ double major turned into a Public Defender ft. Steve Musselman ’90
Steve Musselman ‘90 majored in Religion and Economics at Hamilton, and now serves as the Assistant Public Defender in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. At the request of our Government & Law Connect Team, Steve shared the story of his professional path along with his insight on the importance of the alumni community.
I am a 1990 graduate who majored in Religion and Economics. I went to Tulane Law School as it felt the Big Easy was calling me to try city life far, far from Clinton. The Dean of Admissions was a Kirkland grad who successfully sold Tulane Law to three other Hamiltonians.
During law school, I clerked at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, then moved on to represent children in California’s Dependency Court before prosecuting for two years for the LA District Attorney’s Office. I was fortunate to work during the OJ Simpson trial, but I did not directly work on that case as there were 1000 prosecutors in Los Angeles County. Upon getting married, I relocated to Maryland and have been a felony public defender for the State of Maryland for 15 plus years.
I went from classes on modern Hindu Thought to defending those accused of homicide and child pornography. I miss the green of the Hill as I enter prisons and jails in my daily life. My Hamilton education and experiences definitely prepared me for the world, and yours will, too! While I enjoyed my time on “The Hill,” my job is what gives me life and I love every minute of standing in the way of the government and your liberty.
My advice is to NETWORK. Take time and connect with alumni/ae. I have had three Hamilton students clerk for my office with law students from around the country. They were bold enough to call me, explain what they wanted to do and ask if I could help. I do not think my last three interns will end up in public defense, but I see law school in their futures. Many alums can help you with internships. Or, if not an internship, you can at least get a free lunch to see what the real world is like. While most will be unpaid, the work will either sell you on what you think you like or scare you away.
If you have an interest in criminal defense or any area of social justice work feel free to call me or email me. Again, be bold. Reach out to those who left the Hill before you. I did not reach out to alums while on “The Hill” and I really wish I had.
Ready to see what’s available? Check out the opportunities at http://www.opd.state.md.us/.
Julie Cron ’94 was a Biology major, French minor at Hamilton. She is currently a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine.
Because I really wanted to spend some time abroad (I did the Hamilton in France program my Junior year), I didn’t complete my premed requirements within four years. However, I think this worked to my advantage, as it gave me the opportunity to explore the health care field while I was completing the medical school requirements and doing my applications.
I had the good fortune of working in Washington DC at the American College of Ob/Gyns. I was exposed to health care policy and advocacy, and I met many amazing Ob/Gyns who inspired me to become one myself. I attended the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and did my Ob/Gyn training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
I then practiced Ob/Gyn with a private group practice in New Haven CT for 12 years. Recently (1 year ago), I made a career change, and became a full time faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine. A large part of my job now involves training young doctors to become specialists in Ob/Gyn. In thinking about the past 22 years since I graduated from Hamilton, I feel fortunate that my involvement in medicine, and Ob/Gyn in particular, has given me the opportunity to explore so many different avenues. As an Ob/Gyn, one can be a surgeon, a primary care doctor, a researcher, a teacher, or a policy advocate.
Michelle Fish graduated from Hamilton in 2017 with a degree in Mathematics and Economics. She currently works for Aetna as an Actuarial Analyst.
Early in my Hamilton career, I was someone who did not have a clear picture of what I wanted to do career-wise after graduation. I was interested in studying a variety of subjects at school, and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to major in. Consequently, my course-load in my first year at Hamilton was quite an eclectic mix. During the fall semester I took Calculus, Photography, Psychology, and an introductory Government course. During the spring semester I continued in Math, but I also tried Economics, Anthropology, and Neuroscience. As my first year at Hamilton came to an end, I was still conflicted. I had equally great experiences in classes that were very different from each other, and I could see myself continuing to study many different subjects. I felt that I had made little progress in deciding what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to do post-graduation. However, I began to gain more clarity when I started to think about things from a different viewpoint. I started to identify those subjects and classes in which I not only enjoyed learning the material, but also performed the best in because I was able to utilize my strengths. I had done particularly well in my Math and Economics courses where there was a strong emphasis on the use of quantitative and analytical skills, and I decided to follow those strengths. As a result, I ended up double majoring in Mathematics and Economics.
Later down the road in my time at Hamilton, it became time to start thinking about internships and to get more serious about making post-graduation plans. Even though I was well into my academic career at Hamilton, I felt like I was back to where I started my first year because I still couldn’t decide what I wanted to do post-graduation. It seemed like there were a million different paths I could take, and I didn’t know how to narrow the options down. As I worked my way towards finding a path, I learned that the most useful way to figure out what you want to do is to talk to people who already do it. Connecting with people who worked in the areas I was interested in gave me a much better understanding of what I wanted out of a career. I eventually settled on pursuing Actuarial Science, at least for an internship, because it was a career in business that emphasized strong quantitative and analytical skills to solve problems, and it offered a great work-life balance.
I interned at Aetna, a health insurance company, the summer going into my senior year, and I accepted an offer to return full-time the following summer. In my current position as an Actuarial Analyst, I am part of a team that reports on the financial insights and leads the planning and forecasting processes for a segment of Aetna’s business. At the beginning of both my internship and my full-time job, I experienced a very steep learning curve. I was completely new to the industry that I was working in, and often felt overwhelmed by everything that I had to learn. At some points, I even envied the other new hires who had majored in Actuarial Science or Finance, because their educational background was more directly related to the work that we were doing. However, as the weeks progressed and I began to gain more and more on-the-job experience and knowledge every day, I realized that my educational background was actually giving me a leg-up. The on-the-job knowledge is easy to learn and it comes naturally when you are living it every day. The skills that are much harder to learn are the “soft-skills” like writing and communication. While I saw others struggle to give a presentation, I felt confident in my ability to do so because I had developed those skills during my time at Hamilton. I also realized that my diverse educational background allowed me to be very adaptable in taking on new problems and thinking about them in ways that others may not.
My experiences over the last few years have taught me a few valuable lessons. For one, it is okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life as you enter college, and even as you progress through your first couple of years. Identify your strengths and match them with something that you enjoy, and pursue that. You will be successful in that pursuit. Secondly, put yourself out there and talk to people about their experiences in their careers, and make sure to gain experiences of your own. Learning through experience is the best way to figure out what will best suit you. Lastly, trust the versatility of your Hamilton education and the adaptability you will gain throughout your time on “The Hill”. Don’t hesitate to take that class that seems completely unrelated to your major or the career that you want to pursue, because it will diversify your skill set and teach you to think in ways that you may not have before. In doing so, I developed ways of thinking, writing, and communicating that have helped me differentiate myself in the workplace, and prepared me to take on anything new that comes my way.
Alumni Insight: Balancing Financial Analytics with Client-Facing Responsibilities feat. Erich Marcks ’16
Erich Marcks graduated from Hamilton in 2016 with a degree in Government and a minor in Economics. He currently works as an Analyst at US Bank in the Securities Industry and Investment Management Division.
I was not someone who was particularly active in my job search during my senior year of college. My primary focus was on finishing my academic career as best as I could so I could have a solid foundation to explore a multitude of professional opportunities following my graduation from Hamilton. I was not yet sure about what I wanted to do for work, but finance was one of my top considerations given that most of my family had pursued this career path. It also helped that I had an internship experience working for a wealth manager, and two parents who work as recruiters for banking and private equity positions alike. What was most important to me, however, was pursuing a job opportunity in finance that maximized my talents as a strong communicator who relishes the opportunity to develop interpersonal relationships with others. Most banking positions require a high volume of analytic work, but I also wanted to work in a role that was client facing, enabling me to exploit the writing and communication skills I developed at Hamilton. Working as an Analyst in Relationship Management Corporate Banking has been perfect for me, because of the diversity of responsibilities the position offers. I get to work with the top Broker Dealers, Mutual Funds, and Insurance Companies in the world, and I have learned a great deal since I started a year ago. My day-to-day includes:
- Supervise development of credit applications and monitor portfolio of individual unit.
Coordinate with finance global network and other departments and ensure effective performance.
- Supervise allotted account portfolios and ensure excellent customer service and assist in minimizing of financial risk.
- Prepare management reports for various industry studies and identify appropriate market opportunities.
- Analyze all business objectives and ensure achievement of all product mix for all relationships with customers.
- Analyze clients’ requirements and manage all client communication and counseling for customers and prepare required documentation.
- Participate in sales planning initiatives and design appropriate relationship plans to generate new business through out-marketing calls, promotions and presentations.
- Administer all work and ensure compliance to all guidelines, sales process and standards to ensure effective inspections.
- Provide excellent customer service and assist in opening new accounts for clients and maintaining necessary documents for all operations and maintain effective relationships with clients.
- Assist bankers to arrange credit facility, participate in client meeting and prepare marketing materials for new clients and prospective clients.
- Supervise and administer work of ARM’s management in loan underwriting, loan packages, portfolio monitoring, and business development.
- Assist relationship manager and portfolio manager in portfolio management, credit renewal packages.
- Analyze financial statements of new customer and evaluate all loan documents.
Maintain knowledge on all bank products, credit standards, services and trends and provide efficient customer services.
- Participate in various business development calls with senior officials and develop efficient credit proposals and structure for same.
- Coordinate with senior officers in business plan development, prepare credit packages and perform credit analysis and provide update for call lists.
All in all, I would highly recommend this position to anyone pursuing a position that blends financial analytics with interpersonal and client-facing responsibilities.