UVA Darden Mayo Center Scholar Pursues ‘Unmatched’ Opportunities in Future of Asset Management
By Kristen Keesee
For Mollie Laverack (Class of 2021), receiving the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management Scholarship— awarded to a student who has an interest in asset management and investing — solidified her decision to advance her passion as a finance professional at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Laverack studied at Duke University, where she majored in psychology, minored in Spanish, and received a certificate in markets and management studies. Upon graduation, she joined a client advisory team in private wealth management at Bessemer Trust in New York City, where she gained experience working with clients on investment strategies, portfolio recommendations, asset allocation and the day-to-day capital markets outlook.
“Working at Bessemer Trust was a great experience and opportunity to deepen my understanding of finance,” shared Laverack.
After nearly three years at Bessemer Trust, Laverack sought to broaden her expertise and joined American Express as a senior analyst in merchant financing product management.
“Ultimately, I knew that I wanted go to business school, but I also felt that I could benefit from added work experience,” she shared. “I was really interested in learning more about the intersection between finance and technology, a phenomenon that is so prevalent today, and the opportunity with AmEx gave me the chance to expand my skillset within product management and development, while also learning more about consumer behavior and different technology platforms.”
During her time at American Express, Laverack worked on a small team to design and launch lending options for small and medium-sized businesses.
As Laverack began to look at business schools, the case method approach immediately drew her to Darden.
“I was attracted to the case method because it really pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to speak up and voice your opinion. Every day, you are going beyond the facts of the case, and the method is very applicable to everyday life. If you are going into a meeting with a client, for example, you need to have a point of view and be able to voice that in a very clear and articulate way.”
Since arriving on Grounds, Laverack has attended several workshops and presentations hosted by the Mayo Center. In the fall, she will join Darden Capital Management as a portfolio manager for the Rotunda Fund, which focuses on investments through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens.
This summer, Laverack will take her talent back to New York City, where she will intern for Goldman Sachs as a summer associate in its consumer and investment management division.
“I like the fact that working in private wealth management combines the technicality of working in finance with the behavioral aspect of working with individuals on a daily basis,” Laverack said. “Having a background in psychology has also given me a framework to understand social behaviors and relationship management as a means to better serve clients’ needs and interests.”
What are Laverack’s predictions for the future of asset management?
“There’s definitely a disruption happening within the world of financial services and, particularly, wealth management,” she shared. “The mindset of investors is changing, and one thing that I’m very interested in is the fact that women, specifically, are looking for new types of products and investment services, and millennials are also a huge market. Ultimately, there is a tidal wave of asset inflow on the horizon, there is the strong need for new and innovative ways to communicate with advisers, and there is the desire to invest in products that represent more than just a dollar value to a portfolio. And in my opinion, this is an exciting and untapped opportunity.”
For Laverack, her time at Darden has already been transformational.
“Darden has helped shape me as a person, and ultimately made me a much stronger and more confident individual. I am so grateful to be here, and it has certainly been an unmatched experience.”
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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