When Hector Emiliano Morales, ’19 graduates this December with his Master of Science in Finance degree he will leave San Antonio for his dream job at Dimensional Fund Advisors, headquartered in Austin. As a full-time analyst, he will work with notable finance professionals including Nobel laureates.
I really enjoyed Corporate Restructuring with faculty member Michael Naquin. Although the workload can be significant, I liked that this class applies concepts from all areas of finance with current, real-life examples. I also enjoyed Corporate Valuation. We explored the art and science of valuing a firm which was especially interesting and challenging.
Since I joined the MSF program I have worked closely with Dr. Vipin Agrawal. He has gone out of his way to help students like me reach their academic and personal goals. Taking his Cases and Problems class in my undergraduate years really challenged and inspired me to keep exploring financial theory and practical applications. I have also gained a lot of valuable lessons from doing an independent study course with him and other graduate students.
How has COVID affected your studies or you personally this semester?
Online learning has surely been a challenge. It is difficult to maintain the same focus as there are much more distractions and things to do while learning from home. However, I have found that breaking the day up to work, study and do outside activities has really helped me be efficient and makes the time pass quickly.
What have you learned most from your program of study thus far?
My biggest takeaway from this program is that anything that you set out to do can be achieved, but not without putting in the hard work. Courses and material can be challenging, but by putting in the work you can succeed and most importantly learn in the process. I believe out there in the real world nothing comes for free, and by learning and making mistakes in school you can be better prepared to face those challenges. I also realized that you can never know absolutely everything in finance, but by asking questions and aspiring to learn you can continuously move forward and improve personally.
Any organizations or activities that you’ve been involved with in the COB or at UTSA?
I have been part of the college’s international immersion programs as well as participated in case competitions representing UTSA. Both activities were very valuable, and I highly encourage anyone to participate.
What are you watching, reading or listening to right now?
I really enjoy watching historical series and documentaries. I like learning about relevant characters, and how they shaped the world. I also love watching food/travel shows like the various Anthony Bourdain programs. They provide perspective and show interesting places and cultures. On the lighter side, series like Peaky Blinders are always entertaining.
On my reading list, I am currently reading Against the Gods which tells how statistics came to light and evolved around time. I have just finished Liar’s Poker, the classic Wall Street book, and my next read is Misbehaving by Rich Thaler, which tells the story of how behavioral finance came to be.
Professional work experience or internships that you’ve participated in
I currently work as a teaching assistant with the Direct Assistance program at school. Last summer I completed an internship in asset
management with Dimensional Fund Advisors working within their global client group.
What are your future career plans?
Upon graduation , I am really excited to be joining Dimensional Fund Advisors as an analyst. It surely feels like a challenge to be working at the same firm as the people who appear in the textbooks I read, but I am confident and looking forward to my new role applying all of the theory and practices I learned at UTSA.