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Flying on His Own

At Queens, Eric McCarthy '11 pushed to learn more. Now he's on Wall Street.

Eric McCarthy '11Eric McCarthy '11 specialized in finance and minored in mathematical economics. He knows numbers. Working as an associate in Morgan Stanley's commodities finance division, he has to pay close attention to data. He analyzes revenue and losses on transactions by the bank's oil traders while keeping an eye on market and economic conditions.

With his penchant for data and strategic decisions, he bills his choice to come to Queens as a "funny story."

He'd already been accepted at two Georgia schools, but at the one college fair he attended he approached one table- Queens'. Invited for a visit, he and his mother came one Saturday for a quiet campus tour. "It just felt so good," Eric recalls, and decided Queens was the right fit. "It's the only decision I've ever made in my life that doesn't have a logical reason."

Following his intuition worked out. At Queens he felt nurtured, especially by the faculty. "I had great professors there who really believed in me and gave me great advice," he says.

One was Gary Powell, associate professor of finance in the McColl School of Business. "Eric was one of the most energetic, hardworking and capable students I have ever had the pleasure to teach. He was never satisfied with learning only what was expected," he recalls.

Never being satisfied helped Eric land at Morgan Stanley upon graduation. He attributes his success to hard work. When first interning at the firm, Eric and the other interns were told:

"Everyone here is smart. You're not going to differentiate yourself by being smart. It's your work ethic."

Eric also learned this lesson during his junior year abroad at the London School of Economics. "That experience for me was really rigorous," he says. He struggled to keep up academically for the first time in his school career. Most nights during exam term he was in the library until dawn to learn advanced math and finance concepts.

The data-driven experience in London, paired with Queens' liberal arts focus, helped shape him into the man he is today.

"One of the things that I appreciated most was that Queens encouraged, and the professors allowed you to have, intellectual freedom," he says.

"Queens allowed me to fly on my own."

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