Building her Global Network
BSBA Finance, MIS, and Operations Management ’11
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Throughout high school, Sarah Trainor was active in business clubs, and expected to go into advertising. Then she caught the finance bug.
“I started watching CNBC with my father after school every day,” she said. “We would watch all of the stock market shows, like Mad Money, Closing Bell, and Fast Money. They were so exciting and we were able to bond while discussing market movements and potential investments.”
During her senior year at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, she began to narrow down her college choices, researching and visiting schools. “I remember first visiting Eller in February of 2007,” she said. “I met with Dave Wietecha and several faculty members. The portfolio management thesis track appealed to me, and Dave showed me what my four-year plan would look like. It was a great day, and as I walked around McClelland Hall, I felt that I belonged there.”
Trainor also spent the night in the honors dorm and met current students. “I wanted to attend a college that was intellectual, serious, respected, but also fun. UA fit the bill. When I returned home after the visit, I told my parents that my mind was finally made up.”
She continued to work toward her goal of a finance major, but added MIS and operations management, both of which have been assets at her internship with Raytheon’s business process management team in the Training and Systems Support group. “It’s an interesting fusion of finance and MIS, so it’s a good fit for me,” she said. “Working at Raytheon has taught me a lot about teamwork and how a big company functions day-to-day. I’ve also learned a lot of hard skills here: Excel VBA, SAP, Microsoft Project, and several other enterprise tools. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with upper management quite often, and recently presented my projects to the CFO and other finance leadership.”
Trainor has also built her resume through her own company — a photography business — and research projects with Eller faculty members Amar Gupta in the NEXT research area and Hsinchun Chen in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. “I was able to join by expressing an interest in their research and submitting my resume,” she said. “There are so many opportunities for Eller students if you can just go out and find them.”
She is also a Flinn Scholar. The Flinn Foundation-funded program provides tuition, room and board, study abroad funding, and networking opportunities to top Arizona scholars. “With the help, I’ve been able to have a variety of study abroad experiences,” Trainor said. In 2008, she spent a month in Hungary and Romania, and in 2009 spent the summer studying in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece as part of the Forum-Nexus Study Abroad Program. The Flinn Scholars program also helped finance a trip to see Warren Buffett in Omaha with the Financial Management Association in 2007.
“Most recently, the Flinn sent me to Chicago to study the options market firsthand on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange,” she said. “I just got back from that trip and it was so amazingly informational and helped me to further decide what I want to do in my career.”
As for what her career might entail, Trainor is still defining that perfect job. “I am definitely interested in the portfolio management field and I want to work for a smaller, more boutique company,” she said. “I have a strong interest in emerging markets and would love to work overseas, analyzing new investment opportunities in Central/Eastern Europe and Asia. The potential return in those markets is exciting, and I want to be involved in finding those companies with interesting ideas and high growth potential.”
She’s also interested in the intersection of technology and finance. “It would be great to work in the finance department of an innovative technology company, or with an investment firm that has a focus on innovative tech companies,” she said.
As she approaches her senior year, Trainor continues to build her network. “I’ve been able to connect with several former Flinn scholars from firms and industries that interest me; their network is huge,” she said. At Raytheon, she connected with fellow Eller alum Elisabeth Greene (BSBA MIS ’08). “She has been my buddy and coworker since day one, and she has taught me so much about life after college and how to succeed in a corporate environment,” Trainor said. “She has also taught me to think systematically and apply my MIS logic to everyday job situations. Going forward, my experience with Beth has been so helpful that I intend to connect with more alumni as I navigate the job search process.”