My name is Gerome Cabrera and I was educated in the public school system, raised in a low-income family, and landed some quite competitive positions in the financial services industry.
I am a first generation Dominican-American and I was born in Brooklyn, but raised in Miami by a single mother earning below minimum wage. I narrowly survived the devastating 1992 Hurricane Andrew that demolished South Florida, I was accepted to Florida’s education program for the gifted at the age of seven for receiving a perfect score on the state’s mathematics exam, and I aced all my honor’s classes from primary to secondary school.
After living in Miami for ten years, my family moved to Queens, New York during sophomore year of high school. Everything changed. I attended a below-average high school, where I needed to retake a bunch of state required fundamental courses to re-enter the honors program by the end of junior year. While attending high school and to support my mother with bills, I packed grocery bags at the local C-Town Supermarket earning tips from customers. 20-hour weekend shifts amounted to $25. Besides meeting my future wife in high school, I also bombed the SATs and failed to see college admission results from my top two college choices because my college advisor forgot to mail in the applications. I settled for CUNY.
In college, I studied Mechanical Engineering while working part-time at Babies R’ Us. During my summer internship at General Electric, I decided to no longer pursue a career in engineering and “follow-the-money” in the financial services industry.
After undergrad, I attended Boston University’s M.S. in Mathematical Finance program thinking I will have a better chance of landing a financial services job. In my first semester, I realized that the most sought out analyst roles in NYC were advertised more for undergrads from the top universities in the country. I had to find other ways to get to myself through the door, like beef up my resume by working as an unpaid summer analyst at Merrill Lynch in NYC.
All these hardships and unfortunate events led to where I am at today. After three months in my first professional role as a Trade Settlement Analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), I landed a more sophisticated Market Risk Analyst position. The market risk role along with the downfall of RBS led to a Risk Management Consulting role at KPMG, which then led to an Investment Banking role at a small boutique on Wall Street, which then led to a data analyst role at Credit Suisse, which led me to my current role in Healthcare Business Strategy.
Along the way, I learned the many ins-and-outs of interviewing, networking, applying, personal branding, and many other career entry topics. In this blog, I will share my experiences that advanced my career and lead me up the corporate ladder.