At 10 years old living in Peru, Nataly Cordova ’21 BSBA (Finance) ’23 MSF, first learned about the University of Arizona through one of her uncles who visited Tucson to explore opportunities in mining. He shared stories about a beautiful campus and meeting intellectual professors, and this inspired her to come to the United State for her education.
When Cordova was 14 years old, her dad was transferred to the U.S. for work. She began her research into colleges and the University of Arizona quickly stood out to her from other schools on the west coast. She took her family on five tours of the campus to make sure everyone was able to see her future home. “I loved seeing how everything looked–the meeting rooms, grad lounge, computer labs, the finance department. Everything looked so sophisticated, and it was a place where I wanted to attend school.”
Even though she was accepted into other schools, her research into the finance and economics programs helped her realize how much the Eller College of Management stood out amongst its peers. “Professors posted more research, all had PhD next to their name. When I toured, they talked about employers who hired here, and hearing a lot of them came to the University for talent helped me make that decision.”
After graduating Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor’s in finance and minoring in global business, she began working at Goldman Sachs as a Regulatory Transactions Analyst in Dallas, Texas. During her time with Goldman, she harbored aspirations of continuing her education by pursuing a master’s degree. “I like learning, education and partnering with different people who think differently. Eller had the program. I saw some who were in my class, went into a master’s program, and went on to pursue interesting careers, and I knew I could do that as well. So, I wanted to come back to Eller to hone those skills.”
As an international student, Cordova had to go through the process of the visa and was unfortunately not selected in the government lottery.
“Going into the lottery process and finding out I wasn’t selected was surprising, but this was out of the firm’s control and my control. Rather than being in a stage of not wanting to continue, I decided this was my motor to keep going and try something different,” she says. “I had seen the MSF, so I knew this was my next step. I researched universities in Dallas, looked at Eller, communicated with alumni, and even talked to someone who I ended up working with as a Graduate Assistant for the Finance Department. I saw more opportunities in Eller, and I would get to work with professors I looked up to, so I decided to come back to Eller.”
During her time in Eller, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, Cordova was part of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). She started her junior year as Operations Director and then became an Advisor her senior year.
“During this time, I was in charge of managing presentations for our eboard members and attendance of more than 40 members,” says Cordova. “It was a unique space to be in because I saw behind the scenes – how we ran our processes, how many students we engaged. I allocated metrics to the board, and we developed new marketing strategies and fundraising events. Even outside of the professional setting, we got to know each other and helped undergraduates get into the mindset of pursuing internships and developing skills to get them to reach their career goals.”
As a Graduate student, she has continued her involvement with ALPFA. “This has been a good space to be in because we have our annual U.S. National Convention. This time it was different, because I was able to mentor undergraduates going to the convention for the first time. I mock interviewed a few of them and reviewed resumes and LinkedIn profiles. It was nice to be in a space where I was looking out for other members going with me on the trip.”
In August 2022, Cordova was the Keynote Speaker at the ALPFA 2023 Ignite Summit. “This was very important to me because we talked about DEI. We brought in employees from different companies and industries, and they shared their point of view, what they were doing in the space, and why it was important. This was significant to me because I’m Peruvian, and there was not much representation. It was powerful to know we were in a position to help all Hispanics. The event was insightful and felt like the companies were taking us into consideration. There was a human aspect to it.”
During summer 2023, she did an internship with HKA Global Inc., a consulting firm focused on financial damages and forensic accounting. “I was in the financial damages team analyzing client engagement and damages and assigning financial values to it. There was a major retailer and supplier who were in breach of contract. The supplier was suing the retailer for not paying what they expected, making them lose their business. It was interesting because I got to see high level how we start analyzing those documents and connecting with legal counsel, and I learned the connection between law and finance.”
Cordova is in her third semester of her Graduate Assistantship for the Eller Finance Department. “It’s been a really good experience. I didn’t think I would be as passionate about teaching as I am today. My grandma was a teacher, and I saw her teach my brother when I was little. Now I’m in her shoes and see how students have unique mindsets and skillsets. Some can learn quickly, and others need more help. I teach FIN 360L which focuses on financial modeling. I’ve seen students with no Excel experience who were able to learn the formulas and shortcuts, bridging finance knowledge with Excel. These students are proficient now and landing internships based on these skills. Seeing that from a GA lens has been truly rewarding.”
As far as what’s next for Nataly, she recently accepted an offer from Goldman Sachs to return with the firm – this time, as a Senior Analyst on the Transactions Banking Operations team in Dallas, Texas. “I plan to stay on this team. I am someone who wants to progress, move into a leadership role, manage and mentor incoming analysts, and be able to innovate, learn, and grow constantly. I also look forward to eventually having my own company. I believe there are a lot of underserved people who do not know much about finance. I’d like to cover personal finance and help small companies learn how to get financing. I saw my parents grow up self-teaching finance to themselves – a lot of savings and budgeting. I want to teach others how to better manage those expectations, so they can have savings and investments to generate satisfaction and future growth. And a lot of small companies don’t have specialties in finance and accounting. Being in an advisory consulting role providing those resources would be very satisfying.”
When asked how Eller has prepared her for this future, Cordova responded, “This MSF program has helped me understand finance in a different way than before – from conducting and recreating research, learning Python and VBA, recreating finance trades, to working with faculty as a student and GA. If I’m starting something for myself, then there will be an exponential learning curve and resources to tap into. Going through this process, applying those skills, and learning new things on a constant basis is what will set me apart in this future.”
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