Lara Branton ’07 is a senior research associate at Altegris Investments in La Jolla, CA. In addition to her recent Rady MBA and degree in economics from UC Berkeley, Lara has seven years of experience in hedge funds and investment management. She is also a member of the professional financial organizations 100 Women in Hedge Funds and 85 Broads. At Rady, Lara was a charter member of the investments club while working continuously at Altegris. The Wire caught up with Lara for our first spotlight on 2007 alumni.
Wire: How has Rady impacted our job function and success?
Branton: I ghost write for our company newsletter and I was asked to write on Harry Markowitz’s modern portfolio theory. I was currently enrolled in Harry’s Portfolio Theory course and because of this, I was able to add interesting nuances to my article, such as Harry’s affinity for Descartes. For me, Rady was more than a MBA program. It was truly a resource for my work. What I appreciate most, however, is my professional maturity and growth. Prior to Rady, I had only worked with like-minded people in finance. At school, however, we worked in diverse groups where I learned new conceptual approaches. My way of doing things wasn’t always ideal. Working within groups has given me a broader view in the workplace.
W: What class (or classes) do you retrospectively view as the most valuable?
LB: Statistics and investments were the most valuable classes to me. Many other full-timers had statistics experience but I did not. Now I use statistics frequently at my job and the applied way in which Professor Eppel lectured helped me tremendously. I recently taught a hedge fund portfolio manager how to run a regression. He needed to calculate an alpha figure and then annualize it, which I had learned in Quantitative Analysis and Investments.
W: How have your goals changed since graduation?
LB: My goal has always been to have a good work/life balance. I want to enjoy what I do professionally, while not sacrificing what really matters: my family, personal life and even my dog. Being a full time MBA student and full time employee wasn’t easy, so my immediate goal is to take life down a notch, travel as much as work permits, and enjoy the San Diego summer.
W: Anything you’d like us to know about?
LB: I would like to thank my employer, Altegris Investments, for being so supportive of my schooling. Without their flexibility, I would not have survived the past two years! I also want to say thanks to my Dad, who encouraged me to apply to the MBA program. Thanks Dad!