In continuation of the MDIS’s tradition of inviting leading global experts on campus, the November 19 visit of Ms. Dilshoda Yergasheva, a Portfolio Manager at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) was no exception. Ms. Yergasheva, who holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School (HBS) and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Math and Economics also from Harvard University, delivered a guest speaker lecture as part of the International Finance module to the same cohort of final-year students of Bangor University.
Prior to addressing the specifics of “International Arbitrage and Interest Rate Parity,” the topic of the lecture, Ms. Yergasheva related her role at SSGA, the world’s third largest asset management firm with nearly $3 trillion under management, to the subject at hand. In her daily role of managing a portfolio of $100 million, Ms. Yergasheva utilizes various investment strategies, including hedging for currency fluctuations for the company’s clients around the world - corporations, governments, NGOs and endowment funds. While many of the textbook concepts may look too theoretical and arcane to the students, Ms. Yergasheva demonstrated how they are heavily applied in real life.
By her own admission, it is good to know the basics of currency arbitrage, but in real life arbitrage opportunities are very rare. For finance students, Ms. Yergasheva remarked, it is important to “keep pace with what is happening in major economies of the world - actions by the US Federal Reserve or Bank of England, for example, can have truly global repercussions for international financial markets. One of my tasks at SSGA is try to forecast how the announcements made by leading Central Bank Chiefs, like Janet Yellen, can move the markets.”
While students listened to the engaging lecture, some also wanted to know what it takes to work for a global hedge fund like SSGA. Ms. Yergasheva who has worked at the company’s four locations—New York, Boston, San Francisco and London—pointed out to the qualifications that hiring managers look for and, above all, stressed the importance of a solid educational background and a passion for finance which can be manifested in following daily trends in the stock and currency markets to get a feel for what is happening globally. And to those, who cautiously inquired about their “chances” of getting admitted to Harvard Business School, Ms. Yergasheva had a reassuring message: “Everything is possible— you never know, until you try.”