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Spotlight on: Apara Sivaraman, T'17

February 17, 2019 | By Sabrina Hao and Cole Zaharris

Apara Sivaraman currently works at J.P. Morgan in the Leveraged Finance Investment Banking group. Prior to that, she did summer internships at Accenture and Cisco. Apara graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Distinction, a minor in Finance, and a certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).  Heavily involved in BOW, she was on the Executive Board for three years and served as President during her senior year. During her undergraduate career, Apara was also a part of Dukes and Duchesses and a member of Cooper House. Apara currently lives in New York City.

Apara

Why did you decide to take a leadership position in BOW? What did you learn from being President?

BOW provides so many incredible resources and opportunities for its members, and I gained so much from BOW during my first year. I wanted to be part of an impactful leadership team and become more involved in an organization that I loved being part of.  Leading BOW taught me so much about entrepreneurship, management, and teamwork. Being President of BOW was the most rewarding experience I had at Duke, and I am so proud of the way that BOW always continues to grow and evolve. My favorite part of being President was getting to know many of the incredible members better through the events and mentorship initiatives.

Briefly describe your current job position.

I am currently an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan in the Leveraged Finance group, covering companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. I get to work with companies on debt financing transactions, and I get to learn about capital markets.

What drew you to banking initially, and what keeps you there?

I wanted to learn about several different businesses models and learn fundamental corporate finance skills since finance is a critical part of any business’s success. I love the rapid pace of learning and working on high-impact projects. It is a very dynamic environment, and every day offers something new. I wanted to learn as much as possible in my first job out of college, and investment banking provides a great platform to do that.

There are stigmas that come with investment banking. In what ways has your experience been different from your expectations?

Though there are challenges that come with the job, I’ve had several opportunities that I never imagined having so early in my career. I’ve had the chance to interact closely with C-level executives, and I’m encouraged to speak up and contribute in meetings with very senior people. Keeping a positive attitude also makes all the difference!

How has mentorship played a role in your career?

I’m lucky to have great mentors at J.P. Morgan and outside (including a few BOW alumnae!). I go to my mentors for candid feedback, career perspective, and general advice for navigating the workplace. Having mentors I can confide in and use as a sounding board has significantly improved my work experience.

What is something you are trying to learn right now?

On a personal note, I’m trying to learn to be a better self-advocate and to be more confident! Professionally, there are always new projects at work, and I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the companies I work with and about corporate finance in general.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy long-distance running and exploring New York City!