While Federico Consuegra ’18 was an economics major, his liberal arts education allowed him to study numerous subjects beyond the economy: history, philosophy, literature, religion, and languages. Additionally, he was a varsity football player and a member of the Student Finance and Investment Club, the Newman Catholic group, and French House. All of his education, both in and outside of the classroom, built professional skills that he now wields with great proficiency as a mergers and acquisitions advisory analyst for Citizens Bank. Consuegra discusses the importance of learning languages, the value of cold calls, and how economics is truly a social science.
Describe what you currently do. How has your experience been so far?
I work as a mergers and acquisitions advisory analyst for Citizens Bank. Essentially, my team helps corporations, business owners, and investment funds acquire or sell companies. We advise them on how much their companies are worth, negotiate with potential buyers, and manage the due diligence of the acquisition. My day-to-day job consists of building financial models in Excel, creating presentations on PowerPoint, and coordinating with different service providers to ensure an acquisition goes smoothly. The work is definitely challenging, but opportunities to learn about finance, business, and corporate strategy are ample. I get to be around many smart and successful people. That is probably my favorite part of my role: the opportunity to interact with and learn from the CEOs and CFOs of important corporations and organizations.
How did you end up in your current position?
Through hard work and a lot of luck! During the spring of my junior year, I decided I wanted to work in mergers and acquisitions. I began networking through LinkedIn and the alumni database with Oberlin alumni who worked in roles similar to what I wanted to do, in hopes of landing an internship or a full-time job. Oberlin alumni were extremely helpful, and with their assistance I was offered interviews for various roles in mergers and acquisitions. Unfortunately, the industry is very competitive and I was not hired for any of those jobs. So with graduation quickly approaching and no job yet secured, I started making cold calls. I happened to call the right person at the right firm at the right time. Coincidentally, my boss from a former internship (also an Oberlin alum) was very well acquainted with this firm, so having him as a reference helped. I was offered the opportunity to interview and was hired as an analyst on their mergers and acquisitions team.
Why did you major in economics at Oberlin?
My original plan was to major in 3-2 engineering. I wanted to obtain an economics degree with my three years in Oberlin and then move on to Columbia University, California Institute of Technology, or Washington University in St. Louis to finish my engineering degree. However, I realized that I really enjoyed economics and I couldn’t see myself practicing engineering post-graduation, so I decided to stay the full four years at Oberlin and focus on economics. Plus, I couldn’t see myself leaving Oberlin, my friends, and my football team a year early! I loved economics because it’s truly a social science. Math and statistics play a very important role, but one has to take into account the humanities side of what we study. At the end of the day, economics students are studying the interactions of humans (who aren’t always rational).
How did Oberlin help you build skills for academic, personal, and professional success?
Oberlin gave me the opportunity to become a well-rounded individual. In addition to economics, I was able to study history, philosophy, literature, religion, and languages. Because of my broad knowledge, I believe I have the ability to relate to many of our clients in ways my peers can’t. I took advantage of my time at Oberlin by studying Spanish, French, and Arabic. This set me apart from day one! My first week on the job, some coworkers were working on an acquisition of a Mexican entity and needed documents translated urgently, which only I was able to do. I saved my firm thousands of dollars and weeks of time by being able to translate these documents. More recently, I was tasked with helping a French company acquire a competitor in the U.S. Being able to speak French fluently helped me immensely because I was able to communicate with and understand our clients much more effectively. And, I must add, when it comes to the hard skills of accounting and finance, Oberlin prepared me to go toe-to-toe with the best of the best of accounting and finance majors!
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