From an early age, Alex Andrino ’18 BSBA (Finance) had a knack for business and finance. In fact, you could probably say that by middle school, running a business was a piece of cake for her, so to speak.
That’s when she found her passion through a cake decorating class at a local art store. She gave what she made to friends and family members as gifts. “People liked the cakes so much that they started asking me to commission birthday and wedding cakes for them,” she recalls. “I started getting so many requests that I built a website and Facebook page so I could begin taking official orders. Pretty soon my customer base covered most of the Phoenix area.”
It was this passion for baking and decorating that led her to find a new passion—finance.
“Given the popularity of my business, I learned about pricing strategies, cost structures and basic accounting at a young age,” she says. “Though I was originally planning on pursuing art school, I found myself enjoying working with data and numbers, which led me to pursue an education in finance.”
A few years later, Andrino earned admission with excellence at Eller, which gave her the opportunity to start taking upper-division courses as a second-semester sophomore. While at Eller, Andrino was highly involved in the Investments Club as well as the Wall Street Scholars Program, through which she went on a group trip to New York City to network with alumni and visit companies.
“I enjoyed meeting individuals from a variety of roles within the finance industry,” she says. “I was surprised to find that not everyone was in investment banking or sales and trading, and they inspired me to explore the more non-traditional routes and products in the finance industry.”
The Wall Street Scholars Program also put her on track toward her current role. In 2018, a contact in the program introduced her to a few employees at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which led her to complete a summer internship in New York City with the company.
“Eller was extremely helpful in preparing me for this internship—especially in regard to time management,” she says. “The biggest challenge during my first semester of professional admissions was trying to stay on top of all of the deadlines in my class and stay involved in extracurricular groups. There was no wiggle room to procrastinate or manage my time poorly. By the end of the semester, I had fine-tuned the skillset needed to manage such a busy schedule, which I was able to bring directly into my internship.”
After graduating in December 2018, she relocated to New York to begin a full-time role with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an investment banking analyst in their Natural Resources Group, where she provides advice to clients who are looking for ways to raise capital or grow their businesses organically.
And she is also preparing for the next step in her education—the MBA program at Harvard University. She was admitted through the deferred admission 2+2 program, which allowed her to lock in admission but defer the beginning of the program for two years in order to gain some professional experience.
Though Andrino does not see baking and cake decorating in her professional future, her creative side might make another appearance.
“Creativity is what led me to business in the first place,” she says, “and I hope to use my creative skills in the future—maybe through the lens of entrepreneurship and the development of new business ideas. At the moment I am just keeping my options open for future opportunities.”