Known by lots of under graduates through his recruiting for Goldman Sachs and President of the KDR alumni association, Ray Strong is a familiar face at Middlebury even though he’s been gone for a few years.
What did you study at Middlebury and what have you done since you left?
I was an Economics major with a Math concentration. From graduating in 1991, I have worked in the investment banking industry in New York. I started as an Analyst at Bankers Trust Corporation in the general corporate finance division. After a short time, I joined BT’s Energy Merchant Bank and later was promoted to Associate. Shortly thereafter I moved to the Natural Resources Group in the Investment Banking Division at Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation . I spent my Associate years and part of my Vice President years at CSFB, and in June of 1999 I moved to Goldman, Sachs & Co. as a Vice President in the Energy & Power Group in the Investment Banking Division. My investment banking experience has taken me around the world and has given me exposure to various types of business transactions including corporate acquisitions, divestitures, raid defenses, equity underwriting, investment grade and high yield debt underwriting, and hybrid commodity and equity derivative transactions.
How have you applied what you learned at Middlebury in the “real world”?
Difficult question. The knowledge/skills I learned while at Midd that have helped the most on the job are not very tangible. These include attitude, motivation, ability to work with others, ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities, ability to take criticism and ability to be humble. However, the general education at Midd provided an excellent foundation to learn all the accounting and corporate finance technical skills.
If you were to offer some words of wisdom to a Middlebury student looking to be an investment banker, what would they be?
The job search is a pain – don’t get discouraged. At some point during the search process you may think you won’t be able to handle the work load or the competition. This is completely false. Middlebury provides a great educational base and although you might not know some precise skill set at the start of your career, you will learn and learn quickly. I have helped hire and have worked with many Middlebury people in the past. What I enjoy most about the Midd student is the energy, the willingness to learn and the team attitude that he or she brings to the professional environment.
Once you have the job, make sure that you are constantly challenged and constantly learning new things throughout your career. Also remember that attitude is half the battle – people enjoy teaching someone who is interested and enthusiastic about the work product. If you are not satisfied, sometimes a new job is NOT the best answer. Work with people around you (your team) and sometimes issues can be resolved with great success.