Caroline Rector is headed to New York City. With dual degrees in finance and real estate, she is joining multinational investment bank and financial services firm Credit Suisse as a first-year investment banking analyst in the technology, media, and telecommunications division.

Rector is the 2019 Outstanding Senior in the Pamplin College of Business and a student in the Virginia Tech Honors College.

“When I look at my student accomplishments, I am most proud of having completed dual degrees. The discipline and time management skills I learned at Virginia Tech helped me succeed in achieving this goal,” Rector said.

“At Virginia Tech, I also learned the importance of creating balance in your life between personal happiness and academic/professional success,” she said. “And although I have yet to master the perfect equilibrium, I have come to find that fearlessly falling forward into new and challenging opportunities has led me to some of the most defining moments of my life thus far.”

One of those opportunities presented itself last summer. Having been recruited earlier by a women’s mentoring program at Credit Suisse, Rector secured an internship at the firm, which led to her full-time job offer after graduation.

Her internship included assisting analysts and associates in building discounted cash flow and other financial models for clients; researching and identifying potential acquisition targets for clients; and helping to construct pitch books and deliverables for clients.

Previous opportunities at The Kranefuss Group and Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Manassas, both in Manassas, Virginia, and 55 Capital Partners in San Francisco, also helped Rector garner real-world knowledge and skills.

An additional experiential learning opportunity came from the Student-managed Endowment for Educational Development (SEED), which Rector said is “by far the most transformational experience of my time at Virginia Tech.” SEED provides its members experience in investing through managing more than $5 million of Virginia Tech Foundation funds in stock market investments. It is one of the nation’s largest, entirely undergraduate-managed equity portfolios.

“The rigorous application process and steep learning curve that came along with membership during my sophomore year was my first taste into what would eventually become my future career goal. Through SEED, I found a group of like-minded students who have continuously challenged me these past few years,” said Rector.

As lead analyst for SEED’s energy sector since November 2016, Rector's group of three analysts have developed sector strategy, analyzed potential investments, and recommended trades based on research and valuation analysis.

As co-chair of recruitment since September 2017, Rector has made presentations to students during 40 different class sessions and interest meetings; reviewed applications; and interviewed 40 out of 150 possible candidates.

Her community service activities include providing guidance to mentees in the Virginia Tech Program in Real Estate on campus involvement, professionalism, academics, and potential careers in the field.

She has also served as a conversation partner at the Language and Culture Institute, giving international students an opportunity to practice speaking English.

Representing the Class of 2019 in the Student Hokie Club Leadership Council, Rector helped organize Gobblerfest and team-specific fundraising events and recruit more than 2,000 club members annually.

As Rector prepares to leave campus and Virginia, she reflects on her years at the university and what she will take with her as she embarks on her career. She thinks of Lugano, where she not only earned course credits but developed independence and intercultural communication skills.

“In so many ways, Virginia Tech taught me how to thrive in a collaborative and diverse environment, something that will have a significant impact on my future,” Rector said. “I have redefined how I listen to others and understand the importance of always being on good terms with those around you.”

Written by Barbara Micale; photo by Christina Franusich