Annie Brockett ’17 – From Teach for America to Alliance Bernstein

As I reflect upon my senior year at Davidson, I can feel the stress of my post-grad job search.  At the time, I was balancing a full course load with my final season of Division I Lacrosse. If I was sure of anything, it was that I was unsure about my future career. My peers seemed to be following well-worn paths:  law, finance, business, medicine, consulting, and the like. It would have made perfect sense for me to jump on this bandwagon. Both of my parents are lawyers, and both of my brothers were working at large banks on Wall Street. Law school seemed a distant possibility, and finance had potential.  

I remained open to several opportunities while narrowing my location preference to NYC. In my attempts to leverage the limited NYC finance network, Teach for America (TFA) became increasingly attractive. It was an opportunity for me to lean into the discomfort of the educational nuances I might have overlooked as a child, and to acquire a differentiated skillset that would set me apart in my future professional endeavors. TFA was the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever done.

After fulfilling my 2 year commitment to TFA, I decided to pivot to finance. The challenges I confronted while teaching in Brooklyn served me well in my transition to Sales and Trading at Alliance Bernstein. While teaching and finance may seem worlds apart, my interview preparation came easy given the plethora of anecdotes I could tailor to my process. I could speak to real-world experiences that put my strengths on display in a way that came off as polished yet authentic. While I didn’t have a finance background, I did have an eager spirit and unparalleled work ethic. I started at Alliance Bernstein in June as a Sales and Trading Associate on the High-Touch Institutional Equity Trading Desk. Each day I find myself in an uncomfortable, unfamiliar situation that forces my development and tests the steep upward trajectory I promised.

My best advice for Davidson students is to highlight your eagerness to learn. Davidson has gifted us with a unique liberal arts experience that sets us up for success in any opportunity we pursue. Be confident in what made you successful at Davidson but humble yourself to constructive criticism. Find ways to make yourself informed, marketable, and indispensable.

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