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Real Humans of Morgan Stanley: Josh Feit, Cornell Johnson ’19, Investment Banking Associate

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The investment bank and financial services firm, Morgan Stanley, is headquartered in New York City, and has offices spanning 41 countries across the Americas, Europe, MENA and Asia.  The industry titan advises hundreds of millions of people a year and has trillions in assets.  The scope and scale of Morgan Stanley can seem daunting, but at the end of the day, Josh Feit, Johnson MBA ’19 and investment banking associate, credits the company’s people and culture for their success.

In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Feit highlights how Cornell Johnson prepared him for a career in investment banking, and how the culture at Morgan Stanley overflows into their recruiting.

Josh Feit, Cornell Johnson ’19, Investment Banking Associate at Morgan Stanley

Josh Feit, Cornell Johnson ’19, Investment Banking Associate

Age: 30
Hometown: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Brown University, Electrical Engineering
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 2019, Investment Banking Immersion
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years, Electrical Engineer (Robert Derector Associates)
Post-MBA Work Experience: 6 months, Investment Banking

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Like many, I graduated from college without a clear career path in mind. I applied to several jobs and landed at Robert Derector Associates (RDA), a small engineering consulting firm focused on commercial real estate design where I was able to work with clients ranging from global technology companies to niche private equity firms.

During my six years at RDA, I developed a passion for both real estate and client services but felt that I needed a change. As I began considering the next stage of my career, I determined that I wanted to shift into a finance-focused position and, with no prior finance education or experience, business school was the logical next step.

Why Cornell Johnson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
From an academic standpoint, Cornell’s industry-specific immersions were a huge draw for me. I valued applicable, practical coursework that could afford me the chance to build skills that I would immediately put to use in the workplace. From a less career-focused perspective, I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and had worked in Manhattan so I was excited for a change of scenery for a couple of years.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The professional club, Old Ezra, and the coursework. The second year students running Old Ezra and the career management center did an awesome job helping me navigate the recruitment process. Not only did they help prepare me for interviews, but they provided me with an invaluable support network.

The investment banking-related coursework also offered hard skills that proved invaluable during both my summer internship and full-time role following graduation. I felt that the Investment Banking Immersion was thoughtfully curated and tweaked – from the pre- and co-requisite courses to the individual projects – to keep me engaged and provide me with foundational knowledge to kickstart my career.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at BofA Securities in their Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging group. I had a terrific summer experience working on various projects and transactions that reaffirmed my decision to pursue real estate investment banking following graduation.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
The people and the day-to-day work. Throughout the recruiting process, Morgan Stanley bankers demonstrated a clear focus on maintaining a consistent culture, which is rooted in its four core values [Doing the Right Thing, Putting Clients First, Leading with Exceptional Ideas and Giving Back]. In terms of the daily work, Morgan Stanley’s investment bank and real estate group are industry leaders, particularly within less commoditized areas of the banking such as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
This is very cliché, but cast a wide net and stay open-minded. If a job opening interests you, whether it is the industry you are recruiting for or not, dig into it and understand it better. Worst case scenario, you understand what you don’t want to do.

I started at Cornell with the thought of potentially pursuing a career in real estate development. Coming from the construction industry, it would have been a more natural career to pursue. I quickly realized that I appreciated the fast-paced nature of investment banking and real estate development was far slower with projects often taking years or even decades to complete.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Taken more classes outside of the business school. I took a law seminar during the fall semester of my second year on real estate transactions. It turned out to be one of the most relevant and useful classes during my time at Cornell.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
The emphasis we put on employing diverse people who fit our culture. It is amazing how aligned the people at Morgan Stanley are when searching for new hires. I help with recruiting for Cornell and the real estate group (we recruit directly) and there are many highly qualified students that we pass on because we don’t feel that they align well with our values and strategy.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Relax and enjoy it! Don’t get too caught up in the inherently stressful recruiting process. If you put in the work, you will land a great post-MBA position where you can thrive. MBA programs provide a unique opportunity to spend two years in the middle of your career to explore your professional and personal interests.

What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
The people. I valued them coming in and value them even more now. I feel intellectually challenged every day by exceptionally driven individuals. It is an unbelievably stimulating and respectful work environment.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.