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Undergraduate Interview with Marina Siqueira

We recently got the chance to interview, Marina Siqueira '22, and ask her about her undergraduate experience, plans for her Murphy Scholar funds and future goals.

What have you been able to do/are planning to do with the Murphy Scholar project funds?

I plan to develop a project on the effects of mergers on product assortment. Here’s an intro to my proposal:

“A key concern for antitrust regulators has consistently been the effect of mergers on product prices: mergers can increase a company’s market power and therefore allow them to raise prices, decreasing consumer welfare, but they can also lead to cost-reducing efficiencies. However, price effects are not the only consequences of mergers. A lesser studied phenomenon is the change in product assortment following a merger. This question was briefly addressed by Atalay, Sorensen, Sullivan, and Zhu’s paper “Post-Merger Product Repositioning: An Empirical Analysis” in which the analysis of 61 mergers in the consumer-packaged goods market revealed that firms tend to narrow their product portfolio post-merger. This short analysis of a small number of mergers in one area leaves many follow-up questions unanswered.

The objective of this project is to expand the analysis of the product repositioning paper in three key ways. First, by increasing the number of mergers analyzed to over 300 in multiple consumer areas we can better assess the generalizability of the post-merger portfolio-narrowing trend. Second, we want to investigate the geographic distribution of product assortment: which stores and/or geographic regions suffer the biggest changes in a company’s product assortment. Are there any regions that products get added more frequently, and others that get dropped more frequently? Lastly, we want to assess whether product-portfolio changes depend on whether the acquirer and target are both present in the same market prior to a merger,  or if either was previously inactive. Do overlapping mergers frequently result in narrower product offerings compared to non-overlapping mergers?”

Why did you choose to study economics and what has your experience been like? Have you found your two majors complement each other in any interesting ways?

I chose to take my first Econ class (201 with Prof. Berger) in the spring of my freshman year and added an Econ major the following quarter. I chose to take on the major because Economics felt real and relevant and made world events make more sense. Born and raised in Brazil, economic slowdowns, crises, huge government deficits and, inflation (plus hyperinflation in the 1980s!) are far from uncommon, but without enough structure and clear instruction, it was hard to understand the roots of the hardships my country faced. With a more profound economics background, I felt able to understand and discuss the consequences of actions by both governments and private agents, and hopefully get a chance to interact with these dynamics in the future. Also, the structure and fundamentals of economics feel very intuitive and seem to me like an insightful way of describing our production and consumption choices when we have limited resources.

 Yes – Industrial Engineering (IE) and Econ are very symbiotic! They are both very mathematically rigorous, there are a lot of probability/statistics involved, especially when we look into econometrics, and both have profound real-life applications. I haven’t gone far in my IE degree since I switched last quarter, but looking at the supply chain, production management, etc. electives, I’ll probably be doing a lot of optimization, which essentially relates to the fundamental concept of economics as the allocation of resources in a world of scarcity.

What has been your biggest challenge as an undergraduate?

My biggest challenge has been making decisions about what classes or majors not to study. I started out as a Biomedical Engineering major, moved to ChemE two or three quarters later, added in an Econ major, then finally switched to IE; where I am now. I love learning and I really enjoy being challenged, and I do have to balance my desire to learn with the desire to design my curriculum in line with my plans for the future (and with graduating on time now!)  I want to do everything at once, which can be overwhelming… balancing classes and extracurriculars has been a challenge.

What have been some of your favorite classes?

I really enjoy macro, and I enjoy macro classes even more when they’re relevant to the time and context we’re living. I had the unique opportunity of taking 311 (intermediate macro) with Prof. Witte in spring 2020 when the economy was suffering great challenges from the pandemic and the government was acting to dampen these effects. We had great discussions about the Fed cutting interest rates, adaptive and rational expectations and, quantitative easing that were so relevant to the real-world.

I’m also taking Money and Banking now with Prof.  Walker and I’m enjoying all of the portfolio theory and models for money demand! It seems very relevant and connects prior concepts across multiple econ classes. In the future, I’d love to take Investments and Economics of Healthcare.

What are your plans after graduation/what is your dream job?

I interned with Bank of America’s Health Care Investment Banking team online during summer 2020 and got a return offer for this year, which hopefully will be in person in their beautiful Bryant Park office. I love the BofA team – everyone went above and beyond to make the best out of the online experience and support us as interns. I love the fast-paced environment – the external motivation and challenging environment drives and energizes me, and I’m super excited for this summer! After graduation, I plan on continuing in investment banking, at least in the short run, and probably getting a MBA (yes, I want to go back to university at some point soon!).

I don’t have a “dream job” – I feel that what makes a job your dream job is the people you get to work with and the relationships you form. I want to be in a challenging job where my work and skills are constantly developed and valued, and to me that doesn’t necessarily take a specific form. I want to experience multiple mentorships with people who care and can give good advice for my next steps forming connections that move my career forward. I want to stay in the financial sector, but the opportunities within this area are essentially limitless!

What would you tell first-year students interested in Economics?

Learn the basics and understand them profoundly; you can’t get away without them. They show up over and over again in every single class, and if you put in the effort once to learn the intro classes, you’ll save a lot of time (and perhaps bad grades!) in the future. So, the big idea is to understand things deeply, know how to operate them, graph them, etc. because they are extremely important!

Do you belong to any student groups?

Yes – I am a VP for IMG, the Investment Management Group where I manage a team in selecting a sector/stock and pitching it to the group.

I’m part of NUIBC, Northwestern University Investment Banking Club, and together with two other members, we’ve started a diversity branch of the group last year to support our students in the pursuit of careers in the financial services sector. Our group had mentorship programs, resume prep, and interview support that helped 10+ diversity students land summer and off-cycle internships in places across the world.

I’m also part of the global Brazilian Student Association (BRASA), where I’ve been fundraising to provide scholarships for diverse, low-income Brazilians to go to university internationally. I’m currently moving to the financial team in which I plan to organize/start preparing an endowment for our scholarship program.

 

 

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