During the summer of 2020 we launched a series of conversations with alumni to hear their memories of Trinity and catch up on what they’ve done since leaving. Matt from ARDO spoke with Mary Wang (2009) and you can read her story below. You can find more stories here.
What was it that made you want to study Economics at Trinity?
I was really interested in Economics as an A Level student. I thought that by studying it, I would learn more about the world. It’s such a broad subject and I think that’s reflected in the courses I took for Economics as well. I didn’t just focus on the maths side of things, I also got very involved in the politics, the public, and the labour side of things. It was a good subject to learn more about the world but also to practice both my maths and essay writing skills.
Where did you live whilst at Trinity?
I was in the Wolfson Building for first year, then I moved to Burrell’s Field for second year and Whewell’s Court for third year.
At Wolfson I had a nice en suite, which I was very lucky to get, and then at Burrell’s it was a shared house. Being so close to the Sidgwick site, which is where I had most of my lectures, it wasn’t too bad for me. Whewell’s for third year was great, although the buildings were a bit older so it was a little cold in the winter!
The great thing about Trinity accommodation is that, wherever you are, you’re still so close to the centre of Cambridge that it’s easy to get to where you need to go.
Were you a part of any clubs or societies?
I was part of the May Ball Committee in my final year – I was the Food Officer. At University level, I was a Blues Player for badminton and captained the mixed team for a year. I was also president of an Asian Society in my second year.
Do you have a favourite memory?
Honestly too many. My 3 years at Trinity really shaped me into who I am. I’ve made friends for life, and would say I’m closer to my University friends than my friends from back at home. I think it’s a function of the fact that, at University, not only are you living in such close quarters with everybody else, but also because everyone is a top performer. It’s a fantastic social network to be part of.
Do you have a favourite part of Trinity?
I really like the Cloisters. When you matriculate it’s all laid out beautifully, and when you graduate that’s where you have a buffet. I have fantastic memories tied to the cloisters.
Could you talk us through your career?
I currently work in investment banking. When I look at people in the year above me, a lot of those Economics graduates did go on to do banking or consulting. I took a lot from their experiences as well as following in their footsteps to see how I could get into banking. Saying that, I would say I fell into banking rather than always wanting to go into banking.
When you are part of Cambridge, and part of the Economics course especially, you have so many banks and consulting firms that zone in on you at careers fairs. That’s how I got talking and started networking with people and different representatives from various firms. I found that I gelled with the Sales team in a bank relatively well. Through that I got a spring internship in my first year and then through this I got a summer internship. I got a job offer on the back of that. For me it was relatively smooth sailing because I didn’t really need to apply anywhere else after my first year.
I still work within investment banking but just a different role now. I started off in Sales and now I work in the Capital Markets team. Instead of speaking with investors every day, and trying to sell them financial products, now I originate those products a bit more.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It was my old Head of Sales, one day I was stressing over something, who told me ‘you should only stress about something that you can control.’ There are so many things that are outside of your control that you cannot keep tabs on. When you think about how to move forward with something, just think about how you can do the best for yourself and what’s in your control and then plan from there.
Are there any achievements that you are most proud of?
I am really proud that I managed to be part of the May Ball Committee in my final year because it was a lot of time management. When you’re trying to get the May Ball sorted, I was speaking to 20 or 30 different food contractors, but at the same time revising for my finals.
The other thing I’m quite proud of is managing to navigate my career within banking. I mentioned that I started off in sales, but I think the academic in me wanted to learn a bit more about the theory behind corporate finance. I decided to take the CFA exam (chartered financial analyst), which gave me much better grounding for my current role. I’m proud of how I’ve managed to navigate my career to where it is today, and I’m much happier with where I am now.
Do you have any advice to give to a current student?
Take part in as many different social things as you can.
For me having that network of Cantabs after University has been so useful, not just for my career but also for my own wellbeing. We have so many Trinitarians living in London, perhaps working in banking, but also in start-ups and everything else. You can meet people relatively easily, you can catch up with them and reminisce about the old days. There are also quite a few Trinity alumni societies around the world.
I think being able to make friends and maintain those friendships over the years is really rewarding.
Recorded in August 2020
If you want to get involved and share your story, please get in touch with Matt and Rachel at [email protected]