Alum of the Month
September 2003 Intake
: Director of Enterprise Digital Wealth Sales at Apex Clearing
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
University of Santa Cruz, BA in Politics, BA in Economics
What made you apply for the Mountbatten Program?
I wanted to travel, but also kick start my career. Mountbatten was the perfect combination of the two.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (now BlackRock). I worked on their Corporate Finance team and was responsible for reviewing and liquidating subsidiary firms that were closing.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
The Christmas party. Merrill threw the most amazing Xmas party and it was my very first big corporate party. There were bumper cars, a huge band, and champagne towers.
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
There were so many memorable moments that it’s hard to choose. The top ones were sailing in the Greek isles with dolphins, finishing a scary ropes course with my Mountbatten friends, drinking wine along the Seine and dancing and singing with 50 of my newest friends on the cobblestone streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
Take calculated risks and travel. Take advantage of being at the start of your career and being able to explore anywhere and anything you want.
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
Merrill asked me to stay in London and I said no. I was home sick, not in love with the job and wanted to return to California. I wished I stayed.
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
I went back to San Francisco and began my career in financial services and spent 10 years at BlackRock in the iShares business. They moved me from San Francisco to Hong Kong and then to New York in a number of roles. I decided to join a smaller, nimble firm called Apex Clearing to focus on digital wealth opportunities. I am also the Founder of NYC Fintech Women., a 1000+ member community of women executives in Fintech.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I am now the Director of Enterprise Digital Wealth Sales at Apex Clearing and I focus on helping large institutions launch their own digital advice (aka robo advice) platform. I work with the largest insurance firms, asset managers and wealth managers modernize their businesses.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement is starting the NYC Fintech Women group with over 1000 members and growing exponentially. New York has one of the most active and vibrant fintech scenes and women in fintech need a community to help each other get promoted, find better jobs and get paid more. Join the group (both women and men) if you are in fintech in NYC! https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Fintech-Women/
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
My next venture will be with a start up or my own. It’s time to be my own boss.
Is there any other information that you would like to be included?
We love NYC and have two young boys that make NYC crazier (3 and 1.5yo). A bit of wisdom on the working and kids front: your career does not stop after having kids. Many women I speak to in fintech struggle with kids or career and both is achievable. I can’t imagine sacrificing one for the other and I personally must have both to be fulfilled.
Michelle can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org