Santiago was born and raised in Florida and then lived in Colombia during his middle and high school years. His family is from Colombia, and as soon as conditions became more favorable, they moved back to their home country. After studying for his first two years of college in Colombia, Santiago moved back to the U.S. to study Economics at UVA. He’s currently working at Nomura, a Japanese investment bank.
Why Santiago chose UVA
Santiago’s UVA legacy was what brought him to Charlottesville; his grandfather and aunt were both UVA graduates, and his cousin was attending at the time. Santiago had played polo in Colombia, and UVA has one of the top polo teams in the country. He spent his last two undergraduate years at UVA, played polo, and decided to attend the M.S. in Commerce and spend a third year at UVA.
Santiago said studying in the U.S. gave him “more responsibility and freedom.” He loved the community feel and living on campus; in Colombia, he lived with his parents at home. For him, the college experience made all the difference.
Santiago spent a large portion of his time playing polo, but he always found time to take in the mountains, vineyards, and outdoor activities the town has to offer. “You really get the best of both worlds in Charlottesville—the nature close by and then the city-like nightlife on the Corner.”
Santiago’s decision to attend the M.S. in Commerce
The extra year in Charlottesville gave Santiago the practical experience he needed in Finance, as well as the time to prepare for a career in investment banking. He met people from all over the world through UVA’s international community, and he especially enjoyed applying business principles to his background in economics.
The value of the Finance track
“I chose Finance because you learn quantitative information. The track serves as a trampoline for my future,” said Santiago. He described Finance as “a steep learning curve that gives you exposure to the financial services industry and products.”
Through his track, Santiago learned modeling and valuation methods that were critical for his first job out of McIntire. As an Investment Banking Analyst for Nomura Securities in New York City, Santiago advises companies looking to acquire, merge, or issue debt or equity. He also frequently performs valuation analyses to determine the financial worth of various companies.
Santiago’s most valuable experiences at McIntire
Santiago’s favorite class was with Professor Maillet. “I learned important macroeconomics principles and how geopolitics affects the economy on a day-to-day basis— things like oil prices, political instability, and the stock market. It was all super interesting,” said Santiago.
“I found a lot of value in the Career Center,” said Santiago. He used Commerce Career Services to gain the tools and interview practices specific to Finance jobs. He also prepared on his own prior to attending McIntire. “The recruiting process for Finance is at the beginning of the year, so there’s a lot of studying to be done before you even come to campus.”
Santiago also discussed his GIE trip. He went to Turkey, India, and the Middle East. “I got to see two very different sides from an economic perspective, comparing oil dependent countries with those experiencing a market boom. I saw amazing entrepreneurial ideas everywhere I went,” said Santiago.
Santiago’s advice for international students
Santiago closed with some advice for international students who are considering applying to the M.S. in Commerce and moving to the U.S. for grad school. “If you decide that McIntire is the right fit for you, make sure you take advantage of all the resources and opportunities available. Network as much as you can because you’ll get the opportunity to meet interesting, intelligent, and unique people. Once you make these connections, be sure to maintain them. They’ll be great assets throughout your career.”