No matter how long you’ve been an Everygirl reader you’ve probably noticed one glaring, giant, in-your-face similarity among all the Everygirls we feature in our career profiles: they’re all incredibly driven and hardworking. Spoiler alert: today’s profile is no different. Mina Yang, Vice President at Performance Trust Capital Partners, credits hard work as the key to her success. “Hard work cannot be replaced and can rarely be ignored.” Mina also attributes her work ethic with leveling the playing field in an industry dominated by men. “I believe the respect that each teammate garners is based on their work ethic and product”
Although the University of Michigan alum was unsure of her career aspirations during college, Mina chose to study economics both out of personal interest and because she thought an economics degree would offer versatility in the job market. That strategy paid off for Mina as she landed her first position as an analyst with Performance Trust right out of college and has worked her way up the ladder since.
Along with successfully navigating the deep and often turbulent waters of finance, Mina is also a new mom to a baby boy, Hank, now 4 months old. Keep reading to learn about the ins and outs of finance, what Mina’s working days are like, and the one item she can’t leave home without (hint: it’s probably not what you think!).
Full Name: Mina Yang
Current Title/Company: Vice President, Performance Trust Capital Partners
Educational Background: B.A. Economics, University of Michigan
You received your B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan–what about this field piqued your interest? Was there ever a time that you considered switching your major in college, or did you always know that was what you wanted to study?
Economics has always been an interesting field of study to me. I was most interested in how governments utilize economic indicators and how those affect monetary and fiscal policy. I also felt that Economics was a great foundation that could help me find a wide variety of jobs–similar to a business degree. I was unsure throughout school what industry I wanted to work in; however, I had wanted to study Economics from the first day of classes.
You came to work at Performance Trust right out of college in 2004 and have been there ever since! Tell us about landing the position. How did you hear about the job, and what was the interview process like?
I heard about Performance Trust through networking during my last year in Ann Arbor. Performance Trust has changed a lot since I joined. The company, employing around 40 professionals, had three primary owners and a different name when I interviewed. Today, the company has grown to over 200 employees. The interview process was not as intense as a Wall Street firm. A standard interview consists of several back-to-back interviews along with cognitive and mathematical tests. Culture has become a much bigger part of interviews today and Performance Trust was no exception. Our values (Integrity & Excellence, Teamwork & Results) are embodied in our employees and our work. The culture was the primary reason I joined and have stayed here for 9 years.
In what ways has your role at Performance Trust changed since you first started out? What have you found to be the key to a successful career these last nine years?
My first role at PTCP was an analyst. An analyst fills in the gaps between the needs of the sales people and the client; the duties encompass providing underlying investment analysis, accounting, and due diligence documentation for your sales team and institutional clients. I now function in a sales role and utilize an analyst who provides me and my clients with investment analysis. The growth from an analyst to a sales role is not always a natural transition and has taken time to develop the skills to interact with clients and articulate sophisticated data into an understandable message.
I believe there have been three keys to my successful career here at Performance Trust: hard work, results, and differentiation. Hard work cannot be replaced and can rarely be ignored. That being said, hard work must produce results. Differentiation is key. Performance Trust has spent a significant amount of energy to differentiate itself in our market to provide our clients with results and strategies that meet the needs of their respective institutions. The success that comes from differentiation applies at an individual level as well.
Hard work cannot be replaced and can rarely be ignored. That being said, hard work must produce results. Differentiation is key.
Tell us about your current position at Performance Trust. What are your daily responsibilities, and what kind of hours do you typically keep? Take us through an average work day for Mina Yang.
My current position at PT consists of a sales role. Through our Shape Management based approach in fixed income investing, I not only sell bonds but also educate clients on different sectors and market environments to provide them with the best opportunity to make decisions that benefit their institution. My average work week has changed since I gave birth to my handsome son, Hank. My hours have not changed much (~40-50 hrs/wk), but he is a primary focus in my life.
The first thing I do each morning when I walk in is review fixed income markets, headline news, and upcoming economic numbers. Throughout the day, I review street offerings and call on clients who are looking for investment opportunities that fit the strategies we have set in place for their investment portfolio. One of the refreshing attributes of my job is that each day is different; the markets change daily. Some days are very busy with client meetings and strategy execution and other days it can be more subdued.
Finance is often thought of as a field comprised mostly of men. What was it like when you first started out in the field and had to prove your expertise? Were you ever intimidated by working with mostly males? If so, how did you overcome that?
I have been among a handful of women at our firm for nine years! We do our best to find talented women who are interested in our industry. One of the first things I learned out of college was that I was not an expert. College provides you with the tools to be successful in a professional environment. It taught me an underlying foundation of knowledge to prepare me for a job and how to work on a team. At Performance Trust, I was trained not only during market hours but participated in an after-hours training program for my first few years. I had to display a strong work ethic, develop industry and banking knowledge, and produce results; much of this comes with time.
I am not intimidated by working with mostly males. I have a very calm demeanor and my male colleagues treat me with respect. I believe the respect that each teammate garners is based on their work ethic and product.
I am not intimidated by working with mostly males. I believe the respect that each teammate garners is based on their work ethic and product.
What characteristics would you say are most important for someone to embody in order to succeed in finance?
I would say that there are a few things that are important for someone to demonstrate (some are learned and some are inherent in your personality): Hard work, calm demeanor, and agile and quick thinking. And it helps to be great with numbers.
When many people imagine working in finance, they immediately think of Wall Street in NYC. What made you decide to start a career in Chicago instead? Did you ever consider relocating to the East Coast?
It is true that many people associate finance with Wall Street. Finance is a very diversified industry. Financial services range from advisory, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, investment banking, brokerage (many types), trading, and even community banking. While the highest end may be considered New York or Chicago, finance happens all over–including small communities. Chicago is the second city in many regards, but it is also the second biggest finance metropolis. I really wanted to move to Chicago because I love the city, and it’s reasonably close to family.
You’re a new mom! Congratulations! How has your current work routine changed if at all since having a child? Any specific ways you balance your work life and role as a new mom?
Thank you! Henry (Hank) is now 4 months old. My work routine has not changed materially since he was born, although I did take a quick maternity leave. I am grateful to have my mother to fill in and help me so I can stay ahead at work.
Have you received any advice from other working moms that has particularly resonated with you?
The best advice I received was to utilize your parents! My parents have been very helpful with Hank. They love spending time with him and it gives me a break to clear my head and have a little time for myself.
Be persistent with your leads and learn as much about the companies as you can when applying.
What advice do you have for girls looking to start a career in your industry?
My advice would be to utilize your networks to meet professionals in a variety of financial services positions. Finance is a very diversified industry and it is very hard to gain insight otherwise. Another piece of advice is to be persistent with your leads and learn as much about the companies as you can when applying.
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
I would tell my 23-year-old self to relax and see the big picture. I have learned that professional growth is not linear.
Mina Yang is The Everygirl
I am currently drinking decaf because I’m breastfeeding. My normal order would be black with sugar though.
Aidan or Big?
Item you can’t leave home without?
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order?
Winona Hawkins, originally from Harlan, KY. We would skip lunch, and have some Wild Turkey and talk about raising kids and dealing with guys like Raylan Givens.
And since you already have Henry, can you tell us what it’s been like balancing work and motherhood?
I took a short maternity leave after I gave birth to Hank. My work schedule hasn’t changed much since I have come back. I begin and end each day with my son – I treasure those parts of each day! I enjoy getting up early and seeing his smile each morning. The biggest change has been to my social life!