Investment banker Alan Mitchell ’85 shared with Mays Business Honors students the keys to winning in his career: expertise, confidence and competence.
He told the students they are building the resumes of their lives with every project and job they take on. “Take every position as a way to advance yourself and provide yourself with an entry into the next level of your career,” he said.
That type of progression is important to someone considering being an investment banker, Mitchell asserted. Most people first gain experience in other areas of banking. “To succeed as an investment banker depends on how popular and well-liked you are and how well you have built relationships throughout your career,” he said. “You get to sit with CEOs and CFOs — the senior management at companies — and tell them what they should be doing. You’ve got to be a likeable person who is also resourceful and thoughtful.”
Mitchell received a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Texas A&M University and an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School. Between the educational programs, he served as a senior manager in the audit division of KPMG’s Financial Institutions practice.
Mitchell began his investment banking career in 1994 in the Global Communications group at Salomon Brothers. He continued working in telecommunications at Salomon Smith Barney and Citigroup, where he became a managing director in 2001.
In 2005, he joined Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), which he described as the fastest-growing investment bank and the largest real estate investor in the country. He is currently a managing director in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications group at Wells Fargo Securities, and lives in New York. Throughout his career, he has served his clients on numerous merger and acquisition and capital raising transactions across all of the telecom sub sectors.
Mitchell said his experience as a recruiter gave him a perspective from the other side of the interview table. “From their vantage point, it’s about who they want to work with,” he said. “Think about how you package yourself to make other people interested in you and where you want go. What I always tell people is to find something you really enjoy. If you can’t get excited about your job on an internship or when you first start, you’re really going to hate it over the long run.”
About Mays Business School
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.