Alumni Spotlight: Tyler Gibson (’10)
As an eighth grader, Tyler Gibson (’10) wasn’t sure he wanted to come to Maggie Walker, but he decided to make the leap and try it out. He ended up particularly enjoying his classes with Mrs. Williams, Mr. O’Bryan, Ms. Arnold, and Mr. White. As a senior, he had to choose between the United States Naval Academy and a full ride to Morehouse College. He chose Morehouse, and headed off to Atlanta, GA. He knew he’d made the right choice almost right away. His time at Morehouse was an immensely formative period of his life.
What would Tyler tell a current MLWGS student considering applying to Morehouse? “Do it. You’re not going to get an experience like it anywhere else.” Brotherhood is the guiding principle of the school, and the formation of that bond starts right away, in your freshmen dorm, which he explains, is almost like a mini-fraternity. Though he now lives in New York, he also grew to love the city of Atlanta. His college friendships are still very strong, and he sees his New York-based Morehouse friends often. A few even work directly across the street from his office.
As a college freshmen, Tyler felt academically over-prepared, which, while he admits perhaps led him to study less than he should have at first, also gave him the confidence to engage in meaningful conversations with older students and professors as soon as he arrived on campus. One such conversation had a major impact on his future. In the Intro to Macroeconomics course he took second semester of his freshmen year, he found himself debating the professor about the cause of the 2008 economic crisis for nearly the entire class period. Realizing this was not what just anyone would do in an intro-level class, he changed his major to Economics that day.
Tyler has lived in New York City and worked in finance for the past three years. Immediately after graduating from Morehouse, he worked for two years in JP Morgan’s Leveraged Finance group, where he clocked 80-100-hour weeks doing everything from advising companies on debt financings for mergers and acquisitions to raising funding to talking to investors. He joined a hedge fund last year in April as a junior analyst covering metals and mining, automotive, and waste services companies.
He now has what his girlfriend jokingly calls a “dad job,” the kind of job you know is a good job but where you’re not sure what exactly it is. Day to day, he explains, he is selecting which company’s debt to invest in, based on his own exhaustive research. That self-directed research is his favorite part of the job. “If tomorrow I just want to learn about coal companies in Newcastle, Australia, that’s part of my job description. I can learn as much as I want to learn about a niche sector,” he explained. The most difficult part of the job is managing the information pouring in at all hours from banks, government officials and agencies, and other hedge funders. Though he is now working 60-hour weeks instead of 100, the job is still quite demanding.
Tyler hopes to continue in his current position as a junior analyst for another year or two, and then to move up to being a senior analyst, which would involve more responsibility and ownership of his industries. It’s the kind of job, he explains, that someone could stay in happily for decades, honing their expertise in their particular area, while also opening up opportunities to more client-facing roles and fund management.
Tyler’s advice to someone getting out of college and looking for their first job in finance is, “Know what you want at the end of the day.” A lot of people go into investment banking because they think they’ll make a lot of money and be wildly successful, he explained, but “people who come for the money end up miserable in three months, whereas the people who go in and say, ‘My life is about to suck for the next two to three years, but I’m doing this so I can get to this industry or this type of work,’ and who can see that they’re heading toward the light at the end of the tunnel are more successful and happier.”
What does Tyler love about New York in addition to his close circle of friends? “It is the only place in the world you can get whatever cuisine delivered to your door at 4 in the morning.” What’s not to love about that? Tyler recently moved out of the East Village to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene. While he was a little sad to leave Manhattan, he’s enjoying the quieter, cleaner environs of Fort Greene. His new apartment building has dedicated its first ten floors to the community, and it includes a branch of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, and more.
What would his advice be to current Maggie Walker students? “I think the biggest lesson I learned, especially at Morehouse, is whatever it is you’re thinking about doing, whether it’s, ‘Should I try this major or this job or this fellowship?’ Just do it. The only reason I’m where I’m at today is because I just did it. I had doubts, but I did it.”