Brendan Bacarella


Brendan Bacarella ‘17

Title: Business Development Associate

Employer: Morgan Stanley  

Major: BA, Economics 


What do you enjoy the most about your position?

Interacting with clients.

What is a typical day like in your position?

Focus on markets, client calls, answering questions, portfolio management, and financial planning.

How did you find your current position?

I had an internship in the summer of 2015 for a financial advising team. While I worked hard to make good with the team members, I also worked on developing a relationship with other team members as well as the office manager. Towards the end of the fall 2016 semester, I emailed the manager expressing my interest in working for a team in his office. Developing a relationship with the manager allowed me to broaden my horizons to more than just the one team. I ended up getting started with a smaller team, only two people, which has allowed me to make a larger impact and grow my career quicker than I ever thought. 

Which undergraduate experiences (i.e. internships, on-campus leadership, living learning communities, faculty member, etc.) did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

My internships within finance helped a lot. However, I think my two public policy classes in fall 2016 helped me the most. What I learned in those classes, like the impact of tax policies and public spending, has helped me speak effectively with clients day in and day out. I have become a trusted source among ultra high net worth individuals when it comes to the economy and the markets in general. Dr. Erin Moody's impact on my learning and professional career cannot be measured. Her passion for economics is extremely contagious. To this day, I try to stay in touch with her to see what she is discussing with her students and the resources she uses. Even though I work for a major bank in Morgan Stanley, the best resources to learn come from teachers! 

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

The communication skills of presenting economic ideas has been tremendous. I present financial plans every day, and clients look to me for comfort when it comes to their retirement plan. Being able to thoughtfully discuss how an economic proposal from Washington DC might impact their retirement is crucial. Additionally, the way Dr. Moody taught me how to dissect a public policy proposal has been incredibly valuable in how I form my client recommendations. It also has helped me form my own political beliefs and driven me to fight for what I believe is right. 

What advice do you have for students trying to find jobs or internships in your field?

If you want to become a financial advisor or something similar, you do not need to be an expert on the markets themselves. I truly do not think reading yahoo finance articles every day helped me get to where I am. What helped me land internships, and my current job, was my knowledge of economic cycles and how those can impact a retirement plan. Clients do not care about day-to-day moves of Apple's stock. They care how the Build Back Better proposal will impact their retirement. They care how inflation impacts the economy. The more you know about how the sausage gets made, the better.  

Any other advice?

I cannot stress the importance of staying in touch with folks. For example, you are reading my words because I stayed in touch with Dr. Moody and continue to reach out to her to learn. I stayed in touch with the manager of the office to eventually land my first job out of school. If someone has made a material impact on your life, tell them and stay in touch.

Continue to want to learn. Continue to be a student even when GPAs no longer matter. The best part of my job is that I get to speak to a diverse group of individuals that have lived such different lives. You can learn something valuable from everyone, you just have to have the student mentality. It has helped me be a better financial advisor, but more importantly, a better person, and that is equally as important to clients.