Next cohort (Fall'24) start date: September 28, 2024

James Becker

A TrendUp Now 2022 winter cohort graduate, now working as an investment banking closing analyst at Woodbridge International.

How did you find out about TrendUp, and how did it help you pivot your career path? 

So, I had a bit of a unique background, before TrendUp I was a machinist – I worked in the trades. I was always interested in Finance, but I really didn’t have the tools to pursue it as a career, so I got started by going back to school to study a master’s in finance. 

Just having earned my master’s degree and trying to make that switch into Finance I found that I was really missing some critical work experience, and so I was looking for additional avenues to develop my experience with internships. This was when I stumbled upon TrendUp Now, as a platform that had real boots on the ground in my target industries, specifically the buy side, hedge fund industry. 

Were there any stand-out parts of the TrendUp Now program that you felt added the most value to your finance skillset? 

Starting our learning in equities and then progressing on to derivatives and then futures, I found was extremely beneficial to really understand how to trade these products. So, I would say the progression through investment strategies was definitely valuable. 

On the other hand, the coaching from my mentor, Alex, was really helpful in developing the key soft skills for Finance interviews. We met roughly 6 times, and we had specific meetings about how to best present myself, which went a long way towards exactly how to break into this industry. 

As someone proud of my different background, compared to where a lot of other people in the space are coming from, the TrendUp Now program gave me the confidence and the ability to explain my path, how I got here, and why I deserve a shot within investment banking.

Can you explain a little bit about your current role within Investment Banking? 

Sure, I’m an investment banking analyst, more specifically a closing analyst at Woodbridge International. 

Essentially, once we have interested groups looking to purchase a company, I vet and support negotiations for these groups, working with anyone from an independent sponsor, all the way up to private equity. It’s crucial to ask the proper questions, to make sure that they have the resources and the strategic angle to make a successful acquisition. 

Actually, we just closed a deal today where the buyer couldn’t be more pleased with the group we brought on, and the seller couldn’t be happier either. So really, it’s fun more than anything in a way – fun and a real challenge. 

Was TrendUp Now a contributing factor to securing your role as an Investment Banking Analyst? 

Yes, I would say the big thing was being able to come into my interviews and have the confidence to say I deserve a seat at this table, and these are the reasons why I want to get here. 

Nothing came easy during this process and with TrendUp Now I definitely felt like I had earned it. The people that I was interviewing against may have come from more of a conventional story for the finance track, but I feel like they may not have been as hungry as I was. 

Initially as a student without any lengthy experience in finance, TrendUp was key as I pivoted and began to be assessed alongside peers who did have backgrounds in the industry. The program really acted as a catalyst for my career in this sense. I enjoy talking about TrendUp – I often talk about it to my coworkers and explain exactly how I got here. 

I’d like to express my gratitude for the opportunity! TrendUp isn’t necessarily an internship route that everyone knows about, which they should because I certainly felt it added great value to my career in investment banking. 

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