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Wall Street Rising Stars 2019 share career advice

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Alexandra Wilson-Elizondo of MacKay Shields: Have an off-site with yourself.

Alexandra Wilson-Elizondo MacKay Shields


MacKay Shields


A mentor gave Alexandra Wilson-Elizondo some advice that she still uses: take the time to plan your goals. 

“She said, ‘Every year, have an off-site with yourself, even if it’s in your one-bedroom apartment downtown where you have no space. Plan, because those who fail to plan, plan to fail — and know what you want.'”

Wilson-Elizondo advises not to turn down opportunities because they seem scary. 

“There are so many things that I’ve done where I thought, I am not really sure I can do this, but I’m going to give it my best shot. Those were the best opportunities that I had.”

She cautioned that while mentors are important, advocates, who work to pull you up within an organization, are even more critical for career advancement. The portfolio manager also said she thinks about her trajectory like picking a stock for the long term. 

“Find firms that invest in you. MacKay sponsored me to get my executive MBA, and I don’t think there’s that many firms out there that do that kind of thing anymore. They want you to be here to celebrate your 30th anniversary. You want to find a place where you could see yourself growing to have an entire career.”

Just like in stock picking, research helps in this process.

“Ask: ‘What is the reputation of the firm on Wall Street?’ When you’re interviewing, what kind of questions are they asking you? Are they concerned that you would want to stay here for the long term? Do they have a career planned out for this? Do your research on senior leadership within the organization. Are they active in the community? I think that tells you a lot.

“My job is to analyze companies every day. What you’re doing to research if you should buy the bond, you should be doing for your own career.” 

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