Interview with Alumni: Bessie Yang’14 share her experience as a Equity Research Analyst
“Interview with International Alumni” is a new program consisting of a series of interviews conducted by the Babson Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and members of the Undergraduate Center for Career Development. This program will invite several international alumni to share their work experiences and career paths.
Graduation Year: 2014
Concentration: Accounting and Finance
About: Bessie Yang is a equity research research analyst and a member of the core portfolios at Boston Advisors. She studied in Donbei university in China and then came to Babson college for Master. From 2011 to 2012, she is the research assistant at Harvard Medical School. Then, she became the portfolio manager for material/energy at Babson college. She had 8 years of working experience and worked as equity research associate at Trillium Asset Management.
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bessie-yang-9201b044
Boston Advisors | Full Time
- Equity Research Analyst (Member of the Core Portfolios), Nov 2019 – Present
Trillium Asset Management | Full Time
- Equity Research Associate, Feb 2015 – Nov 2019
Pythagoras Investment Management LLC
- Hedge Fund Research, Jan 2015 – Mar 2015
Santander Ban, N.A.
- Market Risk Analyst, Sep 2014 – Feb 2015
Q: You took undergraduate school in China and came for graduate school. How did you adjust to the US environment and what resources did you use for job search?
A: I had a few months of exchange student experience when I was in undergraduate school in China, and that helped my English when I came here for graduate school. However, when I came to Babson, I still felt the pressure as I was doing a full-time master program for two years. Although classes were more intense and technical than those of classes I took in China, Babson offered courses in a friendly environment. Babson advised all international students to come for a two week orientation before school started to warm up and give us chances to get familiar with classes. That really helped me a lot. Secondly, Babson has a tight community. Whenever I ran into difficulties and sought help from senior students, they were always available for help. They were always welcoming and answered all of my questions, not to mention all faculty were approachable as well.
Job placement was one of the main reasons I chose Babson. When I did my research, I found out that Babson has a significantly higher job placement rate than that of many other graduate schools. We had about 20 Chinese students, and all of them ended up with great job opportunities in the US when we graduated. Some of my classmates became entrepreneurs and are making a fortune and en route to become millionaires. I used a lot of resources from CCD and know that CCD helps undergraduate students as well. I also reached out to alumni and asked for their suggestions. I actually got my first internship from the CCD department’s posting; one of the alumni was looking for an intern. All these resources have helped me tremendously.
Q: You seem to have a lot of internship experience, could you tell me more about how you got all the internship opportunities and why?
A: I came to graduate school straight from undergraduate school in China, unlike other people who worked for a few years and then pursue an MBA. They already had their career paths, but I didn’t have any. I had no clue what to do as a job seeker, so I thought at least I should apply for all available opportunities. In my mind, an internship is a relatively low-cost way to explore one’s true passion. Even if you don’t like the position, you only hold it for three to four months, and you can always switch afterward. In addition, it helps to build your resume. All my internship experience comes from connecting with alumni and using school resources. Luckily, I was able to find my career passion through one of those experiences.
Q: How did you convince your company about getting an H1B visa for you?
A: I know it is becoming harder and harder to get an H1B visa sponsorship due to the current environment. I also had a difficult time convincing prospective employers to sponsor my H1B visa. One time, I was rejected by a company because they are not familiar with the process of sponsoring a H1B visa, although we connected very well. Usually, bigger companies have more experience with the application process and do not consider it as a constraint when recruiting international students. During my interview with Trillium, I didn’t even mention the sponsorship, but the firm informed me that they would be happy to provide me a H1B sponsorship. I personally think that it might have happened mainly because the company appreciates diversity in culture and gender that I could bring as an international female employee. This could be an advantage for international students, especially with the recent BLM movement, since many companies are looking for diversity. I do understand that it is difficult obtaining an H1B visa sponsorship, but I believe everyone has great change as long as they continue to try.
Q: Your current job is in equity research, what do you think a student should have on their resume or what should they prepare in order to be qualified to get in your field?
A: This industry might feel like a private club, but it is really not. Firms are always looking for people with experience. They prefer people with finance experience because many finance skills cannot be learned in classrooms. Your resume should indicate what you have done and how you can contribute to the position you are applying for. When I was a student, luckily, I took the BCF class and got connected with a professor who used to be a CIO at Fidelity. I was able to gain knowledge of what an analyst in the industry should possess. From this experience, I was able to demonstrate my BCF research as an example during my interviews, and it spoke for itself.
From what I observed from my colleagues, if you have any industry specific background, it would open up a door to what is known as an exclusive sector, such as fixed income equity or investment banking. I personally know many of them entered the industry sector through this way.
Q: how did you know that equity research is something you would do as a job? Was that because you are good at it or because you really loved it?
A: when I came to Babson I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I took classes from different concentrations. Babson’s classes are really practical. You can expect many real-life based cases or projects. Through these classes, I just liked equity research. Maybe it is because I had a good professor to teach me. I felt lucky that I was learning and improving myself from him. Also it was the spirit of the class he passed on to me. He would bring a lot of successful cases and people to class and I just thought, what if one day I can become one of them? I would also ask myself when I looked at seniors who are doing equity research, would I be happy if I became one of them. I also started to try internships and told myself that I could always change if I didn’t like it. But it turned out equity research was a good fit for me and I really enjoyed doing it.
Q: How did you know that equity research is something you would do as a job? Was that because you are good at it or because you really loved it?
A: When I first came to Babson, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I took classes from many different concentrations. Since Babson’s classes are really practical, you are involved with many real-life based cases or projects. Through these classes, I found my interest in equity research, perhaps it is from a great professor who taught me. It was the spirit of the class he passed on to me. He used many real-life successful cases and invited influential people to class, which inspired me to imagine if I could become one of them in the future. I still feel very fortunate to have him as my mentor and learned from him. As I mentioned previously, I started internships with an open mind that I could always change if I don’t like it, but it turned out that I really enjoyed doing equity research and realized that it was a good fit for me.
Q: If you were to interview students, what would you expect from them and what would you really like them to have?
A: Since I am a graduate of Babson and received help from CCD, I try to give back to Babson. For example, whenever my firm has an opening position, I forward the information to CCD. Just like any other firms, I look for candidates’ interest and passion for the position they are applying for and whether they would be a good fit for the position. Not too long ago, our firm hired one of Babson MBA students for an ESG analytic research summer internship position. She was originally from Columbia with experience in the field and continued pursuing in the same direction. Along with her sterling academic performance, she has a great personality with good work ethics and communication skills. To me, she had the right background and interest. To answer your question, this is the type of candidate whom everyone is looking for. Students applying for the position should clearly indicate on their resume and during interviews why they are the best fit for the position and show their passion.
Q: Can you share some interesting aspects of your work?
A: What interests me the most about my job is that I get to learn about so many different industries and meet a lot of people. I still remember when I first started my job, I was sitting in the room with very smart and successful people, but I had to pretend I was a tough cookie by asking them a lot of questions. In reality, I was trying to learn from them by asking those questions. Looking back, I am sure they could tell I was new to the industry, but I appreciate they took me seriously. Everyday in my work, I get to talk to different CEOs, from selling EV cars to industrial automation machineries, which is definitely something that attracts people who are interested in the industry. And I am super passionate and believe in ESG investment, and my job fulfills that passion for me. And, I hope I can make an impact through what I do one day.