Douglas Ebanks

Douglas Ebanks, MSc Financial Analysis and Fund Management

I had just finished BA Economics at Exeter and loved the experience. I had played rugby for the 1st XV and was living with a great group of friends many of whom were staying on for another year. I was in two minds about what I wanted to pursue careerwise so I figured why not stay on for another year and continue studying.

I enjoyed the people and sport at Exeter. I thought the atmosphere and experience was great.

I spent about a year unemployed. I was on a 12 month program and I didn't dedicate much time to job hunting whilst I was on the course. I wrote my dissertation over the summer, handing it in on September 7th, 2015. I didn't make sufficient time to do the number of applications I probably needed to do and as a result by the time my thesis was written I was behind the curve on applications. I found I really struggled to get traction with getting interviews; from September 2015 to May 2016 I had three interviews total, all for positions that I wasn't overly keen on and I didn't get an offer.

In May 2016 I reached out to a firm in the US that I had interned at previously and they offered me an interview. In September 2016 they offered me a position and sponsored me getting a J1 visa. It took me about three months to actually get the visa and I started working in December 2016. I'm currently an associate at a lower middle market credit fund, Brightwood Capital.

I enjoy the variety of companies that I get to look at, the people I work with and the ambience of the office. I' currently in an environment where I'm learning a lot and developing.

On reflection I think my undergraduate degree helped me more than my masters did. There's two reasons for that; firstly, I was a lot more engaged in some of the undergraduate modules I took and secondly what I'm doing now has very little to do with portfolio management / optimization, which was the crux of my masters course.

In general, I think my studies gave me an environment where I could develop my own worldview and gave me a framework for breaking down and analysing problems.

If you want to work in Finance, especially on the investment side, do an internship and on that internship perform well enough so that they offer you a job. It's a long and difficult process if you spend your summers on other pursuits.

I will apply for the H1B visa in April and hopefully I will be able to stay in the US for at least the next few years. I'm enjoying where I'm working currently and I think this is the best place for me to be to develop a network and longterm career skills.

It all comes down to performance, which you shouldn't leave to chance. Applications, interviews and internships are vitally important opportunities to demonstrate your abilities.