melinda mraz '01

 

economic interpreter

%521%right%Mindy Mraz '01 works in the global economics group at Lehman Brothers in New York. Her official title is research analyst, and she reports directly to Ethan Harris, the chief economist for the company. "He's always telling me, 'You know, I think you can go ahead and call yourself an economist, because that's essentially what you are,'" she said with a laugh. "But I still feel weird saying it."

Mraz's days are spent on the sixth floor, which is a much calmer, quieter atmosphere than the hustle and bustle of the trading floor on Level 4, where fellow Colby alum Drew Matus '95 works. Working with the four other members of her group, Mraz interprets economic data and figures out how various developments affect the fixed-income markets. She's also responsible for interacting with other departments in the firm,as well as clients,and keeping them abreast of current news.

When she's not doing that, Mraz is working on longer-term research projects. "Sometimes it feels a bit like I'm writing a paper for a Colby class," Mraz said. "But the audience is quite a bit different. And unlike my economics papers, where I would keep checking to see if I'd made it to the designated page count yet, these clients want the reports to be pretty short."

Mraz finds it exciting to attend industry conferences sponsored by various agencies and companies, where she frequently meets people whose work she has followed. "Sometimes I'll realize that the speakers are actually the contributing authors to textbooks I read in college," she said. "It's interesting to talk with them and hear their thoughts on the industry."

She appreciates the fact that her job is varied and that projects change from one day to the next. "It also doesn't hurt that it's my job to keep up with what's going on in the world,it's kind of fun to be forced to read the newspaper as a part of your job."

As an economics major, Mraz figured finance was the logical next step after Colby, so she accepted a job at Dove Consulting in Boston. After two years there, she was looking for a change of pace, and both New York and a move to Lehman Brothers made sense to her. She loves her current job, but she's been thinking about a possible next step.

And who knows? This next step might just be . . . card-making.

%522%left%"I really enjoy finance, but I do have a creative side that is currently going untapped," she said. In her spare time, Mraz creates her own cards, buying plain card stock from paper stores and then decorating the cards with ribbons, patterned paper, calligraphy, or whatever else strikes her fancy. She uses the cards as her own stylish personal correspondence, sending them to her parents, friends, and relatives. She's done workshops in calligraphy and plans to take a letterpress-printing course this spring.

To be sure, Mraz isn't looking to leave finance any time soon, but she's certainly not ruling anything out. "My friends are always encouraging me to do more with this, which I always used to view as a hobby," Mraz said. "Maybe I'll do more with it at some point. I would really enjoy the entrepreneurial aspect of starting something on my own."

Eventually, the Maine native, who grew up in Fort Fairfield (population 3,500), would like to return to her home state. "I love living in New York, but it's an easy place to get caught up and forget what your real priorities are," she said.

One of her co-workers at Lehman Brothers recently shared with her his own career philosophy: "He said, 'When you go to a bookstore, which area do you head to first? Whatever you answer, that should be connected to your line of work.'"

And what area does Mraz head to when she visits a bookstore near her Upper West Side apartment?

"Well," she said, looking a little embarrassed. "It would have to be the card section. But not just in bookstores,drugstores. Basically anyplace there are cards, I'll spend a long time browsing."

, Mackenzie Dawson Parks '99