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Working on Wall Street Inspires UT Honors Student

Published: July 09, 2013
Abraham Rahmanizadeh ’13 is spending his summer working 16-hour days in Manhattan in Barclays investment banking group.
Abraham Rahmanizadeh ’13 is spending his summer working 16-hour days in Manhattan in Barclays investment banking group.

Abraham Rahmanizadeh ’13 is spending his summer working 16-hour days in Manhattan in Barclays investment banking group. It’s intense work but definitely worth it.

“The days fly by because they are so invigorating,” said Rahmanizadeh, a finance and accounting double major from Pembroke Pines, FL.

The skyscrapers of New York City, the other high-achieving and driven interns working with him and the buzz of Wall Street are all surreal and inspiring.

“I am overwhelmed because there’s so much being thrown at us that we need to learn, and unlike school, 99 percent isn’t good enough to pass the test,” he said. “The learning curve is extremely steep, and I am challenged each and every day which makes it exciting and fulfilling.”

The road to Wall Street didn’t start this summer. Rahmanizadeh began his journey last year. He was interning for Raymond James in Tampa where he heard a guest speaker. Following up with her after the presentation, she suggested with his interest in investment banking that he should consider applying to the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which, according to its website, “provides superior educational and career programs to young people from under-served communities to maximize their opportunities for college and career success.”

Rigorous would be an understated way to describe the application process. In addition to the multiple interviews, he attended a 15-person workshop where Rahmanizadeh met executives from firms like Pantheon and CCMP Capital who provided feedback on case studies Rahmanizadeh analyzed his way through. In the spring, he studied online modules to pass all 14 preparation tests for SEO. His first two weeks in New York this summer included additional training.

“If you get into SEO, you know you’re going to get an internship with a top level bank,” said Rahmanizadeh. “I thought if I got into any of those banks I’d be on top of the world.”

When he was offered a spot in the investment banking group at Barclays, he knew it was his offer to lose. The paid internship with housing at the nearby School of Visual Arts in Manhattan was a dream come true.

While his career path is clear now, it took Rahmanizadeh a while to realize his passion. He said he wasn’t a very good student in high school, not finding anything of interest until a business course he took that included an assignment to play a stock portfolio. He loved it, and started playing stocks with his own savings.

“I found something I love to do,” said Rahmanizadeh, an Honors student who breezed his way through his finance courses. He’ll be a first-generation graduate when he walks across the stage to get his diploma in December.

His father is from Iran and his mother is from Colombia, and they came to the U.S. to work hard and give their children all the opportunities they could, Rahmanizadeh said. So he’s making the most of every moment.

“Personally my experience has been life changing. I was immediately surrounded by the best and brightest SEO summer interns and given the chance to network with hundreds of other professionals in the field,” he said. “Professionally, I have already grown more than I ever have in the past just being in the environment and soaking in my surroundings. It’s essentially information overload, and I just need to take in every bit that I can.

“I have realized how far I can push myself and the distance I am willing to go to accomplish my goals.”


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