Kalumi chats with Arielle Kogut, a financial analyst at a New York City hedge fund. This badass babe is always up to date on the latest trends in fitness, fashion, food and the markets. We caught up with the brunette beauty on a typically busy day near her Manhattan pad, where she let us in on some beauty secrets and what it takes to make it in the fast paced world of finance.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up an hour away from the city, in a small town called Peapack Gladstone in New Jersey. Beautiful area but quiet. I always knew I wanted to live in Manhattan...
Tell us about your schooling?
I went to the Pingry School in New Jersey, I loved it. It Helped me create a strong foundation to work hard and really push myself, not just in the academics but in sports and in the arts as well. I went to Columbia for college, which was incredible - so many opportunities at my fingertips. I loved how diverse I found the campus, walking around the great lawn and hearing not just one but a myriad of languages, different cultures and perspectives. Very inspiring.
Growing up, what did you want to be? Did you always have a clear idea?
Growing up I wanted to be an entrepreneur, inspired by my family. I’ve always done well at problem solving, managing and execution, especially under pressure, but I’m still working on the idea needed to start my own business...
Tell us about your journey to investment banking and finance.
When I turned 18, I started bartending at a fine dining restaurant - I enjoyed creating a rewarding experience for people and also learning about cocktails, wine and food. I also have a tremendous interest in photography, so started off my career with a photography internship at Vanity Fair and then at a stock photography agency in Soho. By the time I arrived at Columbia, I decided to apply to run the Columbia Bartending Agency, a fully student-run business that has existed since 1965. In this role, I took the helm of the company and managed everything from handling the logistical operations to the financial budgets and marketing outreach with the help of a great student staff. I enjoyed this entrepreneurial experience and thrived with it - we doubled profits that year to over six figures!
So, what happened next?
After managing the bartending agency, I decided to take an internship at a boutique investment bank in New York. I went into investment banking not knowing if I would love it or hate it, and I loved it - the office was always buzzing with energy, and I was blessed with incredibly supportive mentors at the firm. Eventually I graduated Columbia and hopped on board the investment banking world for the next three years. Each day was intense and filled with a different challenge to be solved through delving into the financials and interworkings of the companies and lots of face time with the executive management teams. I was so inspired to work through the decisions (right and wrong) made by these executive management teams, especially after coming from managing a small business. Eventually I dreamed of taking the next step in my career and did so by moving to the buyside, where I work currently as an analyst at a hedge fund. Now I work through the companies I was previously selling on the sellside and evaluate them from an investment standpoint - it’s an incredible 180 degree continuation on my learning. I am grateful to work with an incredible team and so lucky to be learning something new every day.
What's it like being a female in your business? In a male dominated environment?
My day to day at the office is filled with meetings with executive management teams of companies we are potentially interested in investing, and often it may just be me + the CEO, CFO & COO of the company ready to pitch their story. I’ve learned how to handle myself but at first it was definitely intimidating. Walking into the boardroom to conduct the meeting myself, more often than not completely outnumbered by the accomplished men (and sometimes women) that represent the executive team. Then it’s up to me to grasp the business strategy and be able to ask the right questions. It’s become part of the thrill and what makes my career so exciting, however - disproving - or should l say improving - any stereotypes about men dominating the finance world. I am happy to be one of a (slowly) growing number of women working in finance, and I am grateful to work with such a kind and respectful team that supports me.
If you could, what is something you would go back and tell your younger self?
There’s a sense of eagerness I had growing up, and I would have reminded myself that everything happens for a reason and life eventually works itself out in its own way. "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray," as it’s sometimes hard to remember.
How do you keep a balanced life (i.e. Working out, love life, friends) with your busy work schedule?
Through organization! Even after I’ve left the office, I rarely stop working - but I love what I do so I don’t mind. My schedule is a lot to balance but I truly enjoy handling a schedule that’s jam packed and exciting, and I’m currently trying to find ways in order to wake up earlier and be more productive in the early hours. To be honest, my workouts keep me going - I’m doing something active almost every day, whether it’s running, spin, yoga or boxing - and this creates an underlying rhythm in my life. I adore my friends and usually meet up for a fun outing after work or on the weekends. I am very close with my family and see them often. And there’s nothing better than climbing into the arms of that special someone at the end of a long day!
What does beauty mean to you?
Not being afraid to be who you really are. Mornings heading to spin class in spandex and no makeup! Decisions supported with dedication and passion!
Advice for other young women?
Stand up for yourself, follow your beliefs, and always be respectful. Don’t ever take anything for granted.
What makes you happy/ what do you do on your day off?
I live to learn and to travel. I’m always learning at the office, and try to educate myself on everything from wine to vintage cars or architectural design off the desk. I love experiencing different cultures and getting out of my comfort zone when I’m traveling - it keeps me on my toes and also keeps me grounded and grateful for what I’ve been able to achieve thus far. I try to experience the area as a local would do - which takes some good research beforehand. And similarly, I love meeting interesting people and staying healthy through fitness and clean eating. Kalumi fits into my life perfectly!
Thanks for the amazing advice Arielle! Keep kicking butt in your industry!