A fixture on campus with a penchant for mentoring underclassmen students, Vincent Tran ’18 is heading into the financial industry after graduation. Tran recently accepted an offer to become an analyst in the Financial Advisor Development Program at Merrill Lynch in Boston.
Tran, a sociology major, acknowledges his journey to the financial sector as a bit surprising. He said that a semester with Hamilton’s New York City Program ignited his interest and called that the starting point of a domino effect. As a first-year student, Tran wasn't sure what he wanted to major in, but became fascinated with a sociology course that taught him about wealth disparity in America.
“After that, it snowballed because the following semester, the NYC program was sociology-based,” Tran explains. As a component of that program, Tran held an internship with a local startup called League Apps. There, he successfully transitioned from a spring business associate to a summer associate to continue to gain experience in a city known as “the Mecca of startups.” During this time, he met his mentor at Merrill Lynch who helped him land a summer internship during the summer before senior year. This made him a competitive applicant for a full-time position after graduation.
Hometown: Quincy, Mass.
High School: North Quincy High School
Tran describes the job as “a long time coming in the sense that I first found out about the career path of being a financial adviser during my sophomore summer.” He credits this position, and League Apps CEO Brian Litvack, with opening many avenues for networking with established members of the financial and startup communities. This allowed Tran to set his sights on Merrill Lynch as an excellent next career move. Peter Laird ’91 and Daniel Heyman ’03 provided insight into the large wealth management firm’s company culture for Tran.
Tran discovered finance as a means of serving his larger goals to help others. When he began at Hamilton, Tran was drawn toward a career in law enforcement. He felt that this would be the most straightforward means of helping his community and affecting real change in people’s lives. But, as he continued to study where inequality stems from, Tran realized there were other ways to help. He “realized police only solve a small a part of the bigger problem, which stems from debt and poverty. So in theory, if you teach people how to manage and invest their money properly, then crime should go down,” he said.
In the long term, Tran hopes to facilitate this learning by eventually offering pro bono financial consulting for low-income families. He sees his past employment at companies like League Apps and his future position at Merrill Lynch as excellent training for this work. He feels that the confidence instilled in him as a Hamilton student will ease the transition, and credits the Sociology Department and New York City program as fundamental to his success.