After three years in the Investment Banking division, Ambreen can easily identify her favorite deal to date: her very first IPO for a major online retailer of pet supplies, the largest e-commerce IPO in the United States at the time.
“It culminated with my very starry eyes at the New York Stock Exchange, where the CEO was ringing the opening bell. He came down, found me in the crowd, and gave me a high five,” she says. “It’s something that has always stuck with me and made me excited to work on other contracts for the company.”
Ambreen grew up in India, Mongolia and China until her father, a former diplomat, moved the family to the United States. She went to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as an undergraduate, where she studied Industrial and Operations Engineering. “I had no training in finance. I was more into technology,” she says. But an interest in business led her to earn an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
After an internship at Morgan Stanley in the summer of 2017, she joined the firm as a full-time associate in the Investment Banking division in 2018. She is currently a Vice President of the Technology Investment Banking Group, working on transactional transactions. IPO and M&A and provide advisory support to software and Internet companies.
When I joined I thought, “Wow, there’s so much to learn and do, where do I start?” There is excitement, but there is also nervousness. And on my very first elevator ride that day, who is with me other than Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman! I said a quick hello, and he said, “Congratulations. Welcome to the firm. My door is always open.” It was a great introduction to Morgan Stanley and very revealing of the culture.
When I was young, I fixed all the computers in the house – any broken electronics, really. I’ve always been interested in technology, but discovered that I also love business and got my MBA after completing my undergraduate degree. Having a background in both, and an interest in investment banking in particular, led me to my current role at Morgan Stanley.
I think the biggest change from when I started to now is the confidence I have and the ability to talk more and really engage with people. I didn’t want to constantly sit behind a computer for too long, so it was important to develop those skills. Yes, a lot of what we do is to ensure that our work product and our analyzes are accurate, but I made a conscious effort not to get confused. I learned early on that people appreciate what I have to say, so I made sure to speak up and that really helped me in my career.
The absolute top for me – since the start of my interview period, throughout my internship and even until now – is Caren Byrd. She’s a managing director of the Global Power and Utilities group, and she’s one of Morgan Stanley’s longest-serving managing directors. She is fabulous at nurturing the young ladies in the practice. You can go up to his office and grab some of the candy on his desk and just chat. She was even one of the first people to congratulate me on my wedding day. Work isn’t just work at Morgan Stanley, it’s people who care about my life.
I would say that no matter your background, what you studied or what you did, there is probably a place for you here if you have the will and the drive to learn. Someone with an appetite for the analytical, data-driven side of business decision-making is important. And just as important, someone should have a vested interest in thinking strategically about businesses and how they work financially, how they work in the short and long term. All of these things are essential, coupled with a thirst for advising the CEOs and CFOs of some of the biggest companies in the world.