After finding her career path, Alexa LaRue offers fellow students experiential learning in sales and trading, and potentially be recruited by banks.
Alexa LaRue came to Northeastern unsure of exactly what she wanted to study. She spent most of her life before then competitively figure skating, going from one competition to the next.
When she arrived at the university, she considered sports law and sports medicine, before thinking back to her love of another sport, soccer.
Like many kids, LaRue, now a fourth-year business administration student, liked playing FIFA soccer video games. But the appeal of the games wasn’t the sports play for her; it was the building of the teams and trading of the players.
“I would play manager mode and I was obsessed with buying and selling players,” she says. “I would play for hours and I was like ‘Wait, this is kind of like buying and selling stocks.’
“I just stuck with it and I really enjoy it,” she continues. “I enjoy waking up every single morning, making my coffee, and reading the economic news. I watch my stocks on Bloomberg as I do my homework.”
LaRue threw herself into the finance world, joining student groups like Bull and Bear Research, Northeastern’s student finance research team. LaRue is also a member of Women in Finance, a Northeastern initiative designed to educate, empower, support and mentor students exploring careers in finance, and Huntington Angels Network, a student-run group that connects Northeastern-affiliated ventures with venture capital firms and angel investors.
LaRue also did co-ops that helped her explore her interests within finance. She did a co-op with Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest independent investment management firms, followed by a semester working as a private investments co-op at Raptor Capital Management, investing in early-stage companies and working under the group’s managing director. She also did a summer abroad at the London School of Economics.
“Our co-op program is amazing,” LaRue says. “We are … a hub for students that want that opportunity to work in finance. … I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am today without my co-ops. … I was 19 years old and thrown into the world of finance and it was awesome being able to have that experience in working in corporate life at such a young age.”
LaRue found her true passion for sales and trading when doing a simulation that lets students enact a day on the stock market. She found she was good at it … until her finger slipped and she sold 40,000 stock shares instead of 40 as she had intended.
“I freaked out,” LaRue says. “I was so upset with myself that I did that because that’s a mistake that in the real world, you cannot do. And that was my first time having exposure to a stock trading simulation, and in the moment I was upset that I hadn’t had any exposure to it in the past.”
LaRue walked up to the simulation organizer and asked how she could get involved in bringing such simulations to Northeastern.
LaRue’s latest endeavor is bringing these same simulations from AmplifyME to Northeastern to help other students find their stride. The two-hour events teach students more about what it’s like to work in finance by giving them the chance to try their hand at sales and trading or investment banking.
The simulations, which are run in partnership with Morgan Stanley, also identifies students who perform well and offer them additional training and potential connections to banks for jobs. In doing so, it allows students to make connections based on their skills instead of just their background.
In October, LaRue ran her first Finance Accelerator at Northeastern, drawing in over 125 students. She is running another one (an M&A Investment Banking simulation) on Feb. 6 that has already hit capacity, with 80 students signing up.
Up next, she’ll spend the summer working as an analyst at Morgan Stanley, a position she obtained thanks to her co-op experience and Northeastern’s alumni network.
“At Northeastern, we care so much about experiential learning, and having the opportunity to bring this experiential learning platform to the university and to students for free is something I wish I had when I was a freshman,” LaRue says. “Now being an older student, having the opportunity to bring that to my school just means so much to me.”