Name: Uka Battulga
City: San Francisco, CA
Company: Morgan Stanley
Industry: Investment Banking
Education: BA, Brown University
College Major: Economics
What drew you to the field that you work in?
The hard and soft skills that I would pick up over the course of two years. Over my freshman and sophomore summers in college, I interned at a few local companies in Denver, CO (my hometown). During those experiences, it struck me that I would like to run a company of my own one day but firstly, I needed to enhance my overall professional development and obtain a foundational understanding of corporate finance. Investment banking seemed like the fastest track straight out of college for me to obtain those skills.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were entering the workforce?
I wish that I knew earlier on to cherish my mornings. When I first started working, I woke up with a sense of urgency so I would take only 15 minutes to get ready before I sprinted off to work. I quickly realized that rushing myself in the mornings set the rest of the day to feel stressful and brisk. Now, I wake up earlier to get myself ready in a more meditative way.
Throughout the work day, it is hard to catch personal moments for yourself, so it is important to make sure that the first thing you do is for yourself before you give all of your energy away to your work.
What skills are most important in your field? What do you look for in employees?
Three imperative skills / qualities that junior teammates must have in this field are attention-to-detail, ability to work under pressure, and strong communication skills. Most projects require analysts to work with senior bankers and it is the analyst’s job to ensure that deadlines are met, the work product is of high quality, and updates are given to teammates throughout the life of the project.
When I was interviewing for my first job out of college, my priority was to join a small team that made every member feel valued and safe. Morgan Stanley itself is a global corporation and as such, the culture of the individual team, as opposed to the culture of the overall company, was what I focused on. Luckily, I ended up in a team in San Francisco where I feel comfortable asking questions and learning from my mistakes.
What do you love most about your job?
The amount of responsibility and trust that are given to junior teammates. On any given day, analysts are expected to hop between projects and ensure the correctness of all materials that senior individuals use in client meetings. While the amount of responsibility can seem daunting, it gets easier over time!
What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?
When I was undergoing college interviews as a senior in high school, I asked my Brown alum interviewer what his best advice was for students who were picking their courses at Brown. To which he responded, “follow the professor, not the class”. This piece of advice was applicable to my career as well - the most important decision-making factor has been, and will be, to ensure that my future employer and team is a strong cultural fit above all. If I am going to put in 80+ hours a week into my job, I want it to be for a team that I respect and trust.
What did you wear to your interview with Morgan Stanley?
Slacks, simple (not too high) black heels, a collared shirt, and a blazer. I made sure that pieces were clean and polished.
What do you wear on a daily basis to the office?
Since I am based in San Francisco, my office’s dress code is a bit more relaxed compared to our counterparts in NY. On a day-to-day-basis, I wear nice dress shoes, slacks / nice black jeans / skirt, and a nice blouse.
On Fridays, we wear “smart casual” - think tech company.
What’s your go-to power outfit? (i.e., what do you wear when you want to feel confident and powerful at work?)
On days when I need a little pick-me-up, I will wear:
- Heels that are higher than normal
- Fancier blouses (that I normally save for more formal occasions)
- Big pearl earrings
- A statement necklace against a solid-colored top
My power outfit serves a dual purpose of helping me relax in the morning before work and giving me the extra confidence throughout the day.
What is the biggest clothing faux pas you’ve seen a candidate wear during an interview?
Ripped jeans. It is incredibly important to show up polished to show the interviewers that you are taking the process seriously. It’s safer to over-dress than under-dress.
What was your first job?
My current role (investment banking analyst at Morgan Stanley)
Who is one woman you look up to?
My mom; she is the epitome of brains and beauty
What’s the best book you read recently?
The Last Lecture by Jeffrey Zaslow and Randy Pausch - whenever I feel stressed, I read passages of The Last Lecture, which helps me clear my head
What one item should every young professional have in her closet?
A black cardigan - I don’t know what is, but office spaces are so cold. It helps to have a black cardigan to help layer up. It’s versatile and comfortable.