The Hawkinson Institute of Business Finance


Amanda Mahoski

Tim Larsen

Hedge Fund Analyst (Healthcare), Barclays Capital
New York , N.

Which year were you admitted to the Hawkinson Program?

Fall 2004, my sophomore year. 

How did Hawkinson help you achieve your career goals?

When I was admitted to the Hawkinson Institute, I knew relatively little about the variety of professions available at bulge bracket firms and I didn't know very many people in the business. Hawkinson provided me with a solid knowledge of the opportunities that may be available within the industry and connected me with key contacts within each division of major firms to provide me with further understanding of what potential careers I could pursue. Hawkinson also provided me with great resources and assistance, which helped guide me through the interview process. This was crucial as it is a truly unique and separate experience interviewing for particular positions within high-finance as compared to other jobs students from the University of Iowa may choose to pursue.   

What is the most valuable thing you learned through the Hawkinson Institute?

I think without a doubt the most valuable thing Hawkinson provides and teaches its scholars is that networking and peer support are the most critical asset—not only in the finance industry but also from a broader life perspective. These unique and strong relationships that Hawkinson helps create by connecting students through similar career goals and interests with one another as well as with alumni from the program is really remarkable. Additionally, the Institute mandates that the interview and job placement process is collaborative—not just competitive. This is the defining feature that separates this program from what other universities seem to offer. Particularly in these uncertain times in the economy, it is reassuring to know I have an extremely large and varied support system from which to draw employment advice and opportunities.

How do you stayed connected to the program and the business college?

I stay connected to the program by participating in the recruitment process for both juniors interviewing for internships as well as seniors seeking full-time placement. I assist all scholars with resume critquing and revision early in the recruiting season as well as guide them as to which positions they may be best fit for in terms of their long-term goals and preferences. I interview perspective candidates for recommendation to my firm's recruiting program, coach them on interviewing, and offer advice pertaining to what division I think best fits their interests, long-term goals, and geographic preference. I plan to always maintain a close relationship to the program. 

Where do you work? (Please list all relevant jobs since graduation as well as geographic locations and positions held.)

I currently work for Barclays Capital on their internal proprietary equity long/short hedge fund in New York. I work on the Healthcare team and cover the Specialty Pharamaceutical set of stocks. Prior to this, I interned at Lehman Brothers in New York, as an investment banking analyst in the Technology group. Before my work with Lehman Brothers, I had worked as an investments analyst at Merrill Lynch Global Private Client in Davenport, Iowa.

Please describe the responsibilities associated with your job or a typical day.

My job is to cover both broader macro as well as company specific trends and catalysts on Specialty Pharma stocks. I frequently talk to senior publishing research analysts and corresponding senior sales teams at all major firms on Wall Street to discuss their opinions on different names as well as conduct extensive research on certain drug indications and clinical trials in order to generate ideas on either buying or selling short certain stocks. I attend several major industry specific conferences as well as meet with CEO/CFO management teams in one-on-one meetings to ask questions about their business, upcoming drug launches, clinical trial,s and drug discovery in the pipeline, etc. 

In addition to these things, I have to use certain valuation methods to determine if a stock is fundamentally undervalued or overpriced compared to its peers or in general misrepresenting the potential for long-term value in the company. When I have an idea for a buy or a sell, I write up a 2-3 page summary of my thesis and supporting details and give this along with an accompanying working model of the company to my portfolio manager as a pitch for a position in our book. Hours are probably 70/wk on average. On a normal day, I get into the office around 6:45-7 a.m. and leave around 8 p.m. During earnings season, the hours are significantly more—though around the holidays and in traditionally slower trading periods, hours can be less.However, even when you're not in the office— you're always orking/thinking about ideas/positions because the market is always open somewhere.

Please list any advice you may have for current scholars

I think it is important to do something you are truly interested in—something you enjoy doing. I thinka common fallacy in the interview/placement process is getting caught up in branding/rankings, etc. I firmly believe no single employer or position is any better than the other (particularly given the current state of events). They are only different—it is most important that whatever you do is a reflection of your passion, interests, and long-term goals. Never take a job for the money, never take a job for the brand name, and never take a job that doesn't allow you to maintain who you are and what is important to you. The people you work with make all the difference—search for a firm where you can identify with the culture and personality of the people you'll be working with the most. And, most importantly, always reach out to the alumni in the program for advice or support—its a very unique and special resource available to you—and we're always willing to find time to help.