My story starts in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, where I grew up.
My childhood was idyllic. I never thought I'd leave the Heights. Well, maybe just for college. When I was searching for colleges, I only looked within a hundred miles or so. I wound up going to Villanova.
I stayed there for four years and earned — their word, not mine — a finance degree with a minor in political science.
After that, I went to work on Wall Street. I had a menial job at Paine Webber to start, but then I got my first real Wall Street job at Lehman Bros. (before its collapse, of course). I worked there in Global Corporate Equity Derivatives as an accountant, believe it or not.
Honestly, I hated the job back then. I didn't know how spreadsheets worked — yes, even with a finance degree. (Now I'm a Microsoft Excel nut. I think it’s one of the most extraordinary things ever invented.)
After that, I moved to Credit Suisse, who sent me to London — the center of global operations for banking. I was young. Not only did I love the city for being a Candyland for alcoholics, but I also needed the international experience to cancel out my mediocre grade point average to get into a top 25 U.S. business school.
Somehow, though, I stayed for a decade, until I discovered London Business School. There I earned a master’s (HA!) degree in finance.
My next job was as a futures broker, which I utterly loathed. When I had enough, I took a year off — pub crawling around London and pissing away my bonus money. Then I figured out that I needed a new job.
So I went to work for a company called 7city Learning, where all of the best finance trainers were working. I had no idea about any of that, but imagine walking into the 1927 Yankees locker room and being taught how to hit.
I spent my time teaching all the traders exams, the graduate programs of the various big banks and then the CFA Level 1 review courses. Yes, that's the only level I've passed. I hate that exam. I never really wanted to run money anyway.
In 2009, my boss asked me to move to Singapore to help build the business in Asia. Then I went to work for another financial training company where all of my friends had migrated.
Around the time I was getting bored of Singapore, my old bank asked me to work at talent development for them in Hong Kong. Nearly three years later, I moved to the Philippines, where I started an EdTech startup called Finlingo.
Along the way, I’ve racked up a ton of qualifications — I am a CAIA, FRM and CMT, amongst a few other things — but they don't mean anything.
All that matters are my experience, my connections and my takes on things. So every day I'm going to do my snarky best to inform and entertain you.