Walking by the colorful, scrolling stock ticker in the college’s Financial Studies Center, Ramsey Ochoa was enthralled by the display showing companies and stock prices.
Ochoa, a graduating senior from Laredo, credits fate with that life-changing experience. In high school he was randomly assigned to an accounting class, which led to him attending a UIL competition at UTSA. Following the competition, he began reading about business and knew instantly that he wanted to study finance at UTSA.
After attending Texas A&M International for one year, he transferred to UTSA to pursue his dreams.
“Finance is telling a narrative with numbers,” said Ochoa, who will be one of the first graduating members of the college’s Business Honors Program this December. “I preferred that over accounting which is principle and rules based.”
Once on campus his plan was simple—find organizations related to finance and get involved. Although he was intimidated when he attended his first meeting of the Investment Society with over 100 participants, his fear soon dissipated, and he introduced himself to the officers. One semester later he was elected vice president of the executive board.
Ochoa has not slowed down during his time at UTSA. Heavily involved with the Investment Society, he served as a junior and senior analyst with the technology sector, and he also taught valuation and investment banking classes to other students.
“The Investment Society provides a multitude of opportunities for all majors,” he said. “From analyzing stocks to learning to code in Python and Java, there is something for all students.”
Finance faculty members Ron Sweet, MBA ’91 and John Toohey inspired Ochoa and provided him with a high-level educational background in finance. Sweet taught an honors finance course that was enriched with applied experiences he brought into the classroom from his years at USAA. Toohey’s special topics course covered debt and leveraging, which proved useful during one of Ochoa’s internship experiences.
“Ron Sweet believed in me when I came to UTSA and gave me credit for what I did in his classes,” said Ochoa. “He allowed me to be a role model for other business students.”
Ochoa was also a member of the Forum of Finance and competed in the National Investment Banking Competition in Vancouver, just prior to the pandemic closing the borders. He was also a Distinguished Business Student and was active with the college’s Business Honors Program as a student ambassador.
“The Business Honors Program gave me the opportunity to talk about my experiences with incoming students,” he said. “I was able to perfect my elevator pitch and gain access to a wide variety of corporate recruiters throughout the program.”
Ochoa interned with Vaquero Global Investment the summer before his junior year analyzing bonds in high-yield emerging markets. Then that fall he was selected to participate in J.P. Morgan’s leadership conference in Chicago. After six rounds of interviews he was chosen for their summer internship program in 2020.
As a corporate client banking and specialized industries summer analyst with J.P. Morgan’s Houston office, he learned about oil and gas companies and the drivers impacting their financial analysis. While the internship was conducted virtually, Ochoa still found ways to make an impression with his colleagues.
“I set up coffee chats with senior managers at the firm,” he said. “I made a point to reach out to my team frequently and network with students from other universities. My goal was to outperform in this role.”
Ochoa’s plan worked, and he was hired as a corporate banking analyst for J.P. Morgan’s oil and gas group in Houston after graduation.
“The vast resources at the UTSA College of Business like the Bloomberg terminals and the Center for Student Professional Development are a catalyst to success,” he said.
Landing a job in investment banking and corporate finance is just the start for Ochoa. Once he establishes himself professionally, he would like to give back to students in his hometown by establishing a scholarship to help others succeed.
“I was able to beat the odds coming from a border town,” Ochoa said. “UTSA helped me achieve my dreams.”