"Lover": Rachel Nam
The first time I met Rachel we danced all night - it was an obvious, "we're going to be friends" kind of moment, and one that I'm grateful to have had.
Rachel works at a prestigious investment bank and crushes it. I wanted to do a "lover" post on Rachel because her career intrigues me, her passions excite me and having her as a friend is seriously a gift. Enough said.
These are pictures of us dancing on a separate occasion from the previous stated occasion. #DancePartner4Lyfe
Q: Did you always see yourself going into investment banking?
I never thought of myself as a "finance person." I actually enrolled at Princeton as a prospective psychology major. I love working with children too, so I initially wanted to become a child psychologist. But I took my first economics course in college, and found that explanation of what guides human behavior (although not always reflective of reality) very compelling as well. I eventually majored in economics (both my dad and sister did too so maybe it seemed more familiar) but still took a lot of psychology courses throughout college. One of my favorite classes was Psychology of Decision Making, which presents an intersection between those two disciplines. After graduation, I went into investment banking because I wanted to learn. It's insane how much we're exposed to as analysts, and I'm truly grateful for this experience.
Q: If you weren’t in finance/business, what would you be doing instead?
Something creative for sure. I really admire people who work in creative fields. It’s like the finance guy / fashion girl stereotype. I actually didn’t even know it was a thing until I read Leandra Medine’s book, but I totally agree with her - “It seems there’s something unusually complementary about the combination of creative type in conjunction with a calculator-for-brain foil. The engagement and mutual attraction here might just make sense because of the disconnect.” Now that I think about it, my parents might actually fulfill that stereotype (my mom didn’t work in fashion, but she studied interior design; my dad works in finance). I’d like to think I got some of my mom’s creative genes and I’m not a complete “calculator-for-brain foil.” I took Graphic Design one year in high school, and I loved typography. My favorite assignment was creating a 3D block letter. I specifically remember having so much fun experimenting with different cerulean blues and golds while watching the Royal Wedding. I love colors (rose quartz – or “glossier pink” as you and I would call it – is still my favorite). But just because I love something doesn’t mean I’m good at it – the perfect middle ground for me would be something in the creative field with a business/finance angle.
Q: What excites you about banking and where do you see it going?
I'm still trying to figure out where I want to take my career. I'm only 23 but in a city and industry so full of hustle, I feel a lot of pressure to know exactly what my next steps are. I don't specialize in an industry yet as an analyst, but I've been on several Consumer / Retail projects now and I've had the chance to speak with different clients in the industry.
There are a lot of interesting and exciting challenges right now, especially in Retail - it's no secret consumer habits and preferences are changing rapidly, and companies are scrambling to adapt to this shift. It's been really cool to be able to listen to top executives strategize around these issues, and I would love to continue to take part in that conversation in this pivotal moment in the industry.
Q: You're in one of the most demanding work settings, what is that like? What gets you through your hardest days?
It can get tough for sure, but I know this is an incredible opportunity and it's a privilege to have this role. I've had the chance to work with some really great senior bankers who care about the juniors' development, and I've been getting more interaction with senior executives at client companies. It's the best feeling when the client recognizes the team's hard work.
Q: What advice do you have for other women in a male dominated industry?
I think it's easy (and completely natural) to focus on differences and to be scared of them. I remember being really nervous when I found out I was the only girl out of my 6-person intern class (side note: I actually became really good friends with the group and had the best summer with them). I just wanted to blend in, but I've slowly realized that being different can be a good thing and diversity is appreciated. I've also met some awesome women at work, and we do a lot of fun things like dinners and workout classes together. I definitely feel like I have a solid group of women I can turn to.
"I've slowly realized that being different can be a good thing"
Q: What is something you always make time for even in your busy schedule?
Working out! Just kidding - I wish, but I'm unfortunately not one of those people. This might sound silly but I love getting my nails done. It makes me feel like I have my shit together. I'm introverted so I also enjoy the alone time. I'll try to get one every weekend but if I don't make it for whatever reason, Tenoverten opens early, so sometimes I'll pop in for a quick one before heading to work.
"I love getting my nails done. It makes me feel like I have my shit together"
Q: What are you most proud of?
I've always been the baby of the family so it's a pretty big deal for me to live alone in NYC, away from my family. Over the last few years, I've learned to become independent and trust myself more. Honestly, I think that's one of the hardest things to achieve. I'm obviously still learning a lot about myself and have a long way to go, but I'm proud of taking the first few steps!
Manicures are magical.
Acknowledgment is extremely powerful in the work place.
Woman are always stronger together.