Yalemwork Teferra '21

Current Position:
Pension Sales Analyst, Apollo Global Management
Current Location:
New York, N.Y.
International Relations

When coming to college, I was super excited for the freedom to explore more about myself and have new opportunities and experiences. I wanted to study abroad, be a part of different clubs, have different internships, and wanted to balance pacing myself while also being strategic about utilizing my time since I started a semester behind. I always knew that I needed to have a job lined up post-graduation, so I kept that in the backburner when making decisions about classes, internships and opportunities. I remember attending a talk in my first year where an alum spoke of the first few months after graduation where he returned to his parents’ home, and although there's nothing wrong with that, I knew that couldn't be me. Coming from a first-generation household with a single mom, I came to college on a mission, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges helped me materialize that goal. I currently work as a financial analyst in the USD Clearing and Payments group at BNP Paribas in New York City.

Through guidance from my advisors, professors, Career Services trips and internships, I wanted to make sure I was setting myself up to have post-graduation options, while also enjoying my time at college and exploring all of the opportunities HWS had to offer. When coming to college, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I've always been involved in affinity groups, and in college became co-president of Sankofa, the black student union, as well as Model African Union. Being from D.C., and always thinking I wanted to do advocacy work in politics, I majored in International Relations with a double minor in Africana Studies and Economics. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes, the more I explored opportunities in law, I realized that it wasn't the route I wanted to take. I attended a PLEN Law and Legal Seminar through the Colleges in Washington, D.C., where I talked to many women in various legal fields as well as participated in a legal internship that summer. Through these experiences and talking to more people in the industries, I realized that my passion for advocacy didn't need to be materialized through my career, but could be something I incorporated in my daily life.

Rather, I chose a route with more financial stability, and in my junior year, explored jobs in finance. Luckily, HWS has a huge alum network and many finance trips that I attended. Offered through Career Services, I attended the HWS finance trips in NYC and Boston, which gave me exposure to the industry and let me talk to many alums at various banks. I applied to an internship for my junior summer in finance, and I had a first-round phone interview during my winter HWS finance trip. I remember being so excited and nervous since the opportunity came during a tumultuous time of battling strenuous finance interviews, rejections and dealing with the lack of diversity (both racially and gender wise) in the industry and figuring out how to leverage my skills in spite of not being the norm. Luckily, the timing for this phone interview was perfect, since I was learning the verbiage of finance on the finance trip and had the encouragement from Career Services staff who were on the trip with me. Shayne and Ali gave me encouragement and advice throughout the interview process for both BNP Paribas and my interviews at other companies. Through the ups and downs of rejections, first and second rounds, informal coffee dates with people in the industry, networking and more, I finally landed three offers to choose from for my internship for my junior summer, which was a big deal since the position could lead to a full-time job after graduation. I was so grateful and excited, and definitely believe I made the right choice working for  BNP Paribas.

The trips through Career Services were instrumental. They allowed me to have direct exposure to people in the industry and network as well as get their expertise and firsthand advice. Also, I give a huge shoutout to my professors, they were one of my favorite parts of my time at HWS. Professors Grayson, Slade, Price, Philbrick Yadav, Rodriguez, Dunn, Marshall, the list goes on! So many incredible professors and faculty at the Colleges. Especially as a person of color, the Intercultural Affairs Center was instrumental to my mental health during these strenuous times. Alejandra and Renee, and the building itself was a safe haven, and I wouldn't have gotten through college without the IC!

I am excited to be in New York City and to see where the next few years take me! Working for a French bank and speaking French, I hope that one day I can relocate to my company's office in Paris and live there for a while (especially since my study abroad trip to Aix en Provence got cut short due to the pandemic). In the meantime, I’m soaking up all this chaotic city has to offer!