At 19, Ricardo Rivera is now on his way to become a fine business leader, just like his three older brothers. A sophomore at Loyola University New Orleans, he was awarded a paid internship at Morgan Stanley through the Richard B. Fisher Scholars program. This summer he will work at Morgan Stanley's institutional securities and information technology department.
Born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Rivera has been a consistent scholar. After earning a scholarship to study abroad, he recently earned another two-year academic scholarship. Despite his accomplishments at a young age, Rivera feels that he owes them from his older brothers, Fernando, Osmin, and Jorge, who have all attended Loyola University New Orleans and have helped him pave the way for his love of business.
"My main goal is to have a career in finance. Fernando, the eldest, has always been a mentor and a role model for all of us," said Rivera. "We were motivated by seeing his passion for the markets and his ambition to succeed." Fernando works at Goldman Sachs, while Osmin and Jorge work at Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase, respectively.
Rivera also credits his father, an agricultural engineer and his mother, a chemical engineer, for the wonderful support he and his brothers got growing up. He said that they were never pressured to perform at a certain level academically but it was his father who always reminded them that, "every effort they put in life would be rewarded." Now Rivera looks back and knows his father was right and it was all worth it.
"My mother was the one who would always help us with our homework regardless what it was and taught us that education was the key to success," he added.
Rivera found out about the program through a fellow business student, Laura Reynolds, who is also a Richard B. Fisher scholar. The program is designed to aid qualified undergraduate, underrepresented minority students.
His research work with finance professor Ron Christner, Ph.D., strong interviews and a 4.0 grade point average, Rivera said, contributed to his selection for the program. He was also invited to intern this summer with Goldman Sachs in New York. "Loyola has prepared me by giving me the tools to analyze the market and understand the trends that are more predominant these days," he said.
For a young man who had never been away from home for so long, how was the experience of moving to study abroad?
Rivera said that because as children they always traveled to the United States, it wasn't such a cultural shock to settle in New Orleans. He saw this as an opportunity for being on his own and gaining independence. He studied abroad previously during the summer when he was still in high school, so he had some idea of what if would entail. He always manages to get back to San Pedro Sula, though, especially on school breaks.
"Ricardo has always been more mature than most individuals his age. As the youngest of four brothers, he learned to act and behave as a mature and responsible adult from a very young age. Ever since Ricardo was a freshman, he has been preparing for his successful trip to Wall Street," brother Fernando said. "Determined as always, he has cultivated the knowledge and experience that allowed him to earn not only one but two internships at investment banks with unparalleled reputations. As an older brother, it fills me with pride to see my youngest brother, Ricardo, stand out at such an early age by being selected through very competitive internship selection processes."
"Fernando, Jorge, Ricardo and I come from a very close-knit family in which most of our moral values, work ethic, and desire to succeed were born. We owe a great part of our success to our parents, Osmin and Sara, and the education that they provided to us. Our education at Loyola University New Orleans has also been a pillar in our formation as individuals and as professionals," Osmin added. "From the initial financial seed planted by Dr. Ron Christner, Associate Professor of Finance at LU, to the many classes, conversations, and participation in clubs and organizations, Loyola University was the spark that ignited our passion for Finance and the capital markets."
Finally, Jorge echoed that their parents' guidance coupled with their Loyola experience has led them all to their successful careers. "My parents and our faith in God have developed in us a very unique and valuable characteristic, humility. This value has allowed us to develop a variety of relationships, from which we have learned a great deal (our teachers at Loyola, our mentors at our internships, as well as our co-workers).
Ricardo is a goal-oriented guy, whose perseverance, hard work, and dedication have led him to a well-deserved initiation of a successful career, Jorge continued.
"I agree with Fernando, that Ricardo has always been one step ahead. I admire that at his young age, he is so interested in Wall Street and how it functions. He is constantly asking us how markets are performing and how the economy is developing. I am pretty sure my brother is following the right path to a successful career and am very proud of him," Jorge said.
An inspiration to the local Hispanic community, Rivera is slated to graduate in May 2011.
Brenda Melara is a writer for El Tiempo New Orleans.
Photo of Ricardo Rivera by El Tiempo New Orleans; photo of Wall Street sign from wikipedia.org.
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