Tools of the Trade
Bilal Mustafa ’19 first became acquainted with the subject of finance at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, where he was enrolled for two years before transferring to Hamilton College. At Hamilton, his interest in the stock market blossomed, as Mustafa realized he much preferred learning about the economy outside a formal education structure.
This summer, Mustafa is putting his financial knowledge to the test, interning at global markets and financial advisory firm StormHarbour. StormHarbour is one of a handful of firms that specializes in the Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) space, a financial instrument Mustafa was eager to learn about. And, as an organization with a flat organizational structure, it seemed likely that Mustafa would have the opportunity to interact with seasoned professionals who have decades of industry experience.
At StormHarbour's New York City office, Mustafa split his time between the investment banking (IB) and sales and trading (S&T) divisions of the firm, expanding his knowledge of securitized products, risk, and markets. Responsibilities on the IB side are predominately research related. For every potential transaction, company and industry research needs to be conducted (Google, Preqin, Capital IQ) and condensed into a pitchbook (powerpoint).
On the S&T side, Mustafa had fewer responsibilities, but more opportunities to learn. “I hope to pursue a career in either trading or asset management. My time at StormHarbour has improved my understanding of the nuances of securitized products, risk, and markets, essential skills for anyone who wishes to work in this industry,” he said.
Concentration: mathematics and economics
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
High School: Karachi Grammar School
As an intern, Mustafa spends most of his time in S&T reading the news (WSJ, Zerohedge) for information on the market and Primers for knowledge regarding the firm’s products. Toward the end of his time at StormHarbour, he had the opportunity to model and price a commercial mortgage backed security. “I am interested in securitized products in general, as they are an interesting concept and the function they serve investors (they provide various risk return profiles) is nothing short of genius,” Mustafa said.
In the future, Mustafa hopes to merge his interest in fixed income products (fixed income products pay a fixed amount of money periodically) with his passion for economic trends and the broad market. “Fixed income products (bonds, mortgages, loans) appeal to people who view the world through a macro lens. I find macroscopic topics such as monetary policy, international trade and inflation fascinating,” he said.