Profile: Richard Satawa

Currently: Financial Analyst, General Motors Asset Management

My life after school went a in a direction that one might not suspect with a Liberal Arts background. I pursued a career in finance given my interest in the stock market, investments, and greatest of all interests, how corporations function. I had never considered this career path as I did not have the gift of great math skills which I initially believed were critical to a career in the investment/financial industry. What I learned was that in the finance side of the industry working with numbers all day is the role of the accountant, but in the investment world there are many other important and necessary skills needed way beyond math. For example, you need people skills; you will come in contact with all kinds of people with many different personalities. Communication skills are huge, given the involvement with clients and senior management. Oral and written communications are colossal in the investment business. First when you are not on the phone with clients or interacting with peers, then you’re writing important e-mails that need to be direct, precise, and as short as possible.

My investment career was given a impetus by a helpful mentor who pushed me in the right direction to land an interview with the largest corporate pension fund manager based out of the financial mecca of the world, the prestigious 5th Avenue in New York City. After great preparation my day long interview process began at 9:00 AM and adjourned at 4:00 PM. I met with four managers and one director and all the skills learned through those courses with Dr. Cooper and Spiral Education served me well.  I must have made an excellent impression. I say “excellent” because if it wasn’t excellent why did they offer me, a history major with no financial background from a small private university in New Hampshire, an internship positions with a $120 billion pension fund manager? Five months later I received a full-time offer. They told me it was because of my written, verbal, and physical presentation was just that good!

Sprial Education taught me how to:

  • Dress as a respectable gentleman;
  • Effectively communicate in every form as a business professional;
  • Break the bad habit of using those three all-too-common words: “like”, “um”, and “you know” which only display a lack of proper verbal communication skills;
  • Work alongside others with differing strengths and weaknesses;
  • Be a leader always acting with integrity;
  • Manage a heavy work load while producing results;
  • Utilize the past as a valuable asset in the investment world since the past is studied, analyzed, and dissected in order to predict future investments.