Real Humans of Morgan Stanley: Kevin Connors, Wharton ’18, Media & Telecom Associate
Morgan Stanley has three business units: institutional securities, global wealth management, and investment management. It is the third largest bank in the world, based on investment banking revenues in 2019. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, hear from Kevin Connors about the appeal of investment banking, his MBA journey at Wharton, and the culture he found at Morgan Stanley.
Kevin Connors, Wharton MBA ’18, Media & Telecom Associate at Morgan Stanley
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Saint Joseph’s University (Finance and Economics)
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Wharton, 2018, General Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 Years, Consulting; 2 Years, Startup
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2 Years, Investment Banking
Why did you choose to attend business school?
The brand, the network, the exit opps, and the opportunity to chill out for a bit.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Wharton meets all of those criteria: The brand speaks for itself anywhere in the world, particularly Asia. The school is large enough that you can build a small tight network or go broad—it’s your choice. Any career you want to jump into from corporate to buyside to advisory (consulting/banking) to startups. It’s all there. And of course it’s b-school, so hanging out is also fun. After a few years in the workforce, reflecting and comparing notes with classmates on what you did/didn’t like is helpful as you think about career, life, and the intersection of the two.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Accounting with Professor Armstrong prepared me for my current role in investment banking.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at a local PE shop during the school year and at an investment bank during the summer. I knew I wanted to do investment banking, and wrote about that desire in my b-school applications, so the internships simply served to reinforce those desires.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I was solving for two things: First, learning the most amount within an exceptional training program. Well that sounds like a canned answer. But b-school taught me I learn the best in environments where the people aren’t awful but rather where the people are great—they’re folks I’d invite to my wedding. I just can’t focus or tolerate the job when the people aren’t cool. So when you fizzle that down a bit that’s what I solved for: folks who were trying to hang and explore a few warehouses in Brooklyn on the weekends. Second, brand matters. The most successful investment bankers or financiers today started at a handful of shops. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Pressed employers a bit more—students at top b-schools have more power than they think and should be comfortable asking hard questions.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
The job and the people are as advertised. People said the job would be tough despite whatever job you did pre-MBA or however smart you thought you were. They were right. The people I met and the way they represented themselves and the firm were completely transparent and consistent with how they act in the office.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Travel more. Stay out later. Maximize every moment. Take out more debt.
What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
The work the firm does is relevant and the people I work with make me feel relevant.