Welcome to the maiden edition of the Getting-To-Know-You (“GTKY”) interview series, a segment of the blog where I aim to feature promising movers and shakers in various industries and geographies, to understand how they got to their career positions, their career journey so far i.e. the tools and resources that helped get them there including challenges and opportunities. On this maiden edition, I will be featuring one of my bosom friends who is doing great things here in New York; we go way way back to high school. Recall in my new years resolutions post (click here), I alluded to surrounding one’s self with positive minded, progressive friends and family? Well, this lady right here is one of such and I’m sure you will concur with me after reading the interview. Talk about someone who is so supportive of my being a blogger — I asked if she’d do this for me and she found time from her super busy schedule to oblige me…no ifs, buts or questions. So what are you waiting for? let’s jump right in.
Q: kindly provide a brief introduction i.e. what do you do for a living – give your current title / position, the name of the company you work for, location of the company, marital status and children, if any and their ages.
A: My name is Nogie Udevbulu and I am a Managing Director with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, New York, NY. I am happily married with 2 children — a 3-year old son and an 18-month old daughter.
Q: Tell us a bit about your college journey i.e. what college / university did you obtain your first degree in, how did you decide to study that particular course / degree and how did you transition from college life to your first job upon graduation.
A: I attended Baruch College which is part of the City University of New York. I obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Investments. I chose finance because I’ve always loved the idea of being a banker (even though I didn’t understand what it meant). I had the opportunity to do a summer internship at Deutsche Bank in the summer before my senior year which then led to more opportunities in financial services in my senior year. I received an offer to work at Lehman Brothers in their operations analyst program in New York.
The very beginning:
Q: Ok let’s rewind to the very beginning. Tell us about your family background and how this helped shape the professional woman you are today.
A: First generation Nigerian American, I was born in New York but was raised in Lagos Nigeria. I come from a family of 8 children and I am number 6 in line. My dad was a banker for over 20 years in Nigeria and my mom was a serial entrepreneur who employed all her children as her workers (with no pay). Growing up in Nigeria was fun and challenging at the same time but I’m glad my childhood life started out in Lagos. I am particularly grateful for the time I spent in boarding school (where I met this blogger 😀). Boarding school was a training ground and it prepared me for life in New York when I came back.
Q: Tell us about your current job. How long have you been at the Company? What has been your career path? what keeps you motivated and what’s the most memorable event about the job so far?
A: I lead the Global equity index strategy team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I have been with the company for almost 12 years joining after my obtaining my MBA from Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.
Memorable events are plenty: One that sticks out is helping a client plan out a multi-billion dollar portfolio transition trade.
A day in the life of:
Q: If we could peek at your work schedule, what would a typical day look like i.e. from waking hours to when you go to bed at night (we know no 2 days are typical but give us an idea)
A: morning meetings with teammates, phone calls or physical meetings with clients, quantitative modeling and lots of research work.
Q: what keeps you up at night regarding your job?
A: Nothing to be honest. Sleep is very important to be effective for the next day. Put in your very best and don’t leave for tomorrow what can be done today. That’s my mantra
Tools and resources that helped in shaping your professional life:
Q: what tools & resources would you say helped make you succeed professionally? In other words, if you were to advice a college candidate on how to get your job and excel, what would it be?
A: This is a loaded question – but I’ll start with this:
Knowledge is power, however wisdom will guide you to the right knowledge.
The internet is your friend if you use it wisely. Back then the library was my friend and so I did a lot of research on the various finance jobs and what they entailed. Based on my research, I knew I was going to get an MBA even before I graduated from college.
Networking: This is very essential and it does not come naturally (particularly for women). Practice networking until becomes a habit. It is through networking that you can fine-tune your story and get the right people to guide you to your dream job/career.
Family and Friends Support Network: Your support network is very essential, you want to be surrounded by people who will encourage and cheer you on as you progress. You also want to be around people who will gladly serve you humble pie should you get carried away. As for friends, there is a saying that goes “if you want to be smarter, then you have to be the least smart amongst your friends.” In other words, you want to be around friends that challenge you to do more and strive harder.
Paramount skills to have:
Q: what technical and soft skills are essential to working as global equities index strategist?
A: Great Communication and verbal skills, Analytical, Attention to detail, and a hunger to learn.
Q: what do you wish you knew about your industry before entering the field?
A: I wish I knew it was an ever humbling environment 🤣 No room for big heads.
Work / Life balance:
Q: is there any such thing as work/life balance in your current career field? How do you balance yours, how do you hold the fort and prevent burn-out?
A: well it depends on how we define work/life balance. I believe in seasonal times. There are times when one aspect of your life takes precedence over the other and its ok as long as you recognize that situations don’t last forever.
Q: in a second life, what profession would you pursue and why?
A: hmmn.. good question. I probably would have been in some form of media/entertainment role; definitely not in front of the camera. Probably producing shows /events. I enjoy entertaining and watching others have a great time.
Q: when not working as a equities strategist, what do you do in your spare time (I am assuming there is time to spare somewhere, somehow)?
Q: if you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you wish you had with you?
A: my bible for sure…(with God’s words I call forth anything I want), a sunhat and a pair of sunglasses
Q: famous quote you strive to abide by?
A: All things are working together for my good (personalized Romans 8:28)
Q: how do you define success?
A: Success is knowing your calling and fulfilling it.
Q: what’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: closing my eyes as I type this (KILL BILL – the whole sequel) don’t ask me why. I just love it.
Q: Hearty breakfast or sumptuous dinner?
A: Very hearty breakfast.
Q: if you could have a Saturday morning all to yourself (haaa heaven!), what would you do?
A: Wow! Spend two hours in worship mode, then have a nice hearty breakfast at a lovely restaurant in SoHo; afterwards go to the Hudson river and just boatwatch for an hour and write down whatever comes to my head during that period. Then off to the spa for a nice hot stone massage. (You said a whole morning. My morning will start at 5am.)
Q: What is next for your career? Where do you see yourself in 2 – 3 years?
A: Hmn.. still thinking about that but it would entail uplifting and encouraging women of all ages. In 2 -3 years- at my Bank, helping a lot more clients and mentoring Junior bankers.
There you have it. I had so much fun interviewing Nogie and I’m sure you will all agree with me that this is one woman with head screwed on tight. She is an inspiration to many, including yours truly and I thank her for her time and insights into her profession and sharing tips on how to be as successful on this chosen career path — mentorship, humility, hunger for success, supportive network of friends and family. This last picture with former FLOTUS says it all — Nogie is definitely going places!