Alumna secures spot on Wall Street two years after graduation

McDaniel College graduate in front of building in New York City
November 13, 2018

When Julia Wainwright arrived on Wall Street little more than two years after graduating from McDaniel, one of the first to congratulate her was her mentor, Rich Klitzberg ’63.

They’ve kept in touch since Wainwright ’16 interned during the summer between her junior and senior years with Klitzberg, the high-powered head of specialty investment firm Klitzberg Associates and Klitzberg Fund Solutions with offices in Princeton and Boca Raton.   

“That summer was amazing — he showed me the ropes of hedge funds, taught me how to build a network, helped me understand the basics and introduced me to so many people,” says Wainwright, who also credits Klitzberg and his associates with showing her that Wall Street success and high ethical standards can and do work together.

Before landing the position as Asset Management analyst in sales at JP Morgan Chase on Wall Street, Wainwright spent two years sharpening her skills at the company’s offices in Delaware. All along, the lines of communication between mentor and mentee have remained open, although these days their conversations have turned more to career advice, where they see the industry going and how Wainwright should position herself for success.

Klitzberg’s advice motivated her to push harder to move into a revenue-generating position. And that meant leaping onto Wall Street and into sales — where Klitzberg has been for almost 50 years, where he relishes “the ultimate challenge.”

“I think the main thing Rich has done for me is to believe in me, and he’s had my back and has encouraged me every single time I’ve hit a road block and I’ve hit a lot of road blocks,” she says. “A mentor like that is hard to find in any line of work.

“I have big expectations for myself, and his advice and encouragement only motivate me and make me think even bigger.”

But make no mistake. Wainwright earned her spot in New York City through hard work and the razor-sharp focus that began at McDaniel when she was a Business Administration and Economics double major with a Finance specialization.

As a junior, she was selected to compete in the College Fed Challenge, serving on McDaniel’s team for two years and presenting to a panel of judges on the overall health of the economy, GDP growth, the labor market, the business sector and the financial markets. An Honors student and recipient of the prestigious Ralph B. Price Scholarship, she was president of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society, a peer mentor and a business department tutor.

“I grew up at McDaniel with the professors in the business department mentoring me,” she said, explaining that on the Hill she learned how the market and economy worked. “I also learned how to speak about it — how to shape it into a story.”

Alumna secures spot on Wall Street two years after graduation
Rich Klitzberg '63 in the classroom during an annual campus visit.

Wainwright first met Klitzberg as a student in professor Julie Routzahn’s microeconomics theory class the day Klitzberg returned to campus to talk with students — an annual visit the entrepreneur makes as one of many ways he gives back to the college he loves. As is her way, she tenaciously pursued an internship, and Klitzberg, not sure how or even if it would work, reluctantly agreed.

Then, as is his way, he charged full steam ahead. Together they devoted indefatigable energy to Wainwright’s understanding of investing, arbitrage, specialty funds, high finance and the like — Klitzberg teaching her the words and phrases of his business, assigning her research into complex concepts and introducing her to industry leaders, wondering if “the kid would melt.”

Mentor and mentee seemed cut from the same cloth as Wainwright took notes, dug deep into research, asked constant questions and did anything but melt.

“These are not concepts for rookies but she worked hard to grasp what she could. You have to like that grit,” said Klitzberg, whose gift to the College made possible the Klitzberg Pavilion in Gill Center.

Klitzberg’s story — being first to create a consulting division within a brokerage firm and creating the first firm to deal with junk bonds and raise capital for hedge funds — crystallized her choice of career path. A year later, she graduated a College Scholar, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, honored with the Alton Dennis Law Award for Excellence in Economics and was listed among “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.”

Today, two busy years after earning her degree, Wainwright loves her work. She’s an analyst on a National Accounts team, an institutional-sales type position within JP Morgan’s U.S. funds business. It’s more demanding, she says, but also more rewarding. She has to stay on top of what’s happening in the market for sure but also what’s happening in the world to predict how the market will be influenced.

“JP throws a lot of information at us to make sure we are up to date on what’s happening — I learn 10 different things every single day,” Wainwright says. “One of the coolest parts is that I’m working with some of the smartest people in the industry. I work with them, go to meetings with them, hear them pitch to clients.”

She attributes her success to figuring out what she wanted and then pursuing it with every ounce of energy and determination she could muster.

“My advice to students is to think about what you like to do — Investments? Sales? Talking with people? — and start building networks, reaching out to alumni, family friends and anyone who knows something about what you want to do,” Wainwright says. “Don’t give up. Remember, if it was easy everyone would do it.”

With Klitzberg’s high-octane mentorship as an example, Wainwright has already begun reaching out to McDaniel’s soon-to-be-graduates. Last summer, during her final six weeks at JP Morgan’s offices in Delaware, she overlapped with McDaniel intern and senior Daniel Smith, and did, in fact, help influence the decision to offer him an internship.

“As my career moves along, I want to be a strong alumni presence, just like Rich has been not just for me but for the college as well,” she says.

Meanwhile, her mentor is still following her career — pushing, encouraging, cheering and coaching — from a distance, just a phone call away.

“There’s no room for oops on Wall Street,” Klitzberg says, explaining that he’s always available as she navigates career steps to success. “She’s very smart and is like a sponge.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, she’s going to be a star.”

 
 
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