Carol A. Curley, CFA. Carol is currently a Managing Director with Golden Seeds, an investment firm that pursues above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them. Carol is also President of The Charian Group, LLC, as well as a mentor to the Pipeline Fellowship and TechLaunch in New Jersey. Previously, Carol was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Westwood Management Corporation. Carol has held senior investment banking positions with Berkshire Capital Corporation, Prudential-Bache Capital Funding, and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. Inc.
Carol has served as an Adjunct Professor of Finance in the Graduate School of Management at The University of Dallas in Texas and at the Lubin Graduate School of Business at Pace University in NY. After graduating from Wellesley with a BA in Economics, Carol earned an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst. You can follow Carol on Twitter – @ccurley01 or through her Blog - http://womeninvest.wordpress.com/.
How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
When I began as a first-year at Wellesley in the fall of 1972, I was convinced that I would become an attorney. In addition to the Political Science class that I thought I would need to prepare me for Law School, I took introductory economics courses with the legendary Wellesley professors Marshall Goldman and Carolyn Shaw Bell. I was fascinated with the study of economics and decided to focus my studies and my major in that discipline.
How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
There is much debate about the value of a Liberal Arts education. In my case what Wellesley really taught me to do, through the exposure to so many disciplines, was how to think and how to be a problem solver. In addition to the strong academic background, which prepared me for both my professional life and graduate studies, Wellesley provides access to an incredible group of alumnae.
What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
I wear two hats in my work at Golden Seeds. The first is as an active angel investor in early stage businesses. In this role I spend a lot of time meeting with entrepreneurs and evaluating business proposals. I attend industry events and will frequently participate as a panelist on topics involving angel investing.
In addition to being an active angel, I run the Investor Training programs at Golden Seeds – helping new members understand the nuances of angel investing.
What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into the Financial Services industry?
If you are interested in pursuing a career in Financial Services, it is important to have a strong analytical background. As an undergrad, take courses in economics and math to prepare you to understand financial statements and economic trends. In many of the Financial Services tracks, an MBA or advanced degree is a requirement.
What do you wish you had known as a student?
There is a quote from Warren Buffett - “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” This is very appropriate for those of us looking back and offering advise to current students. I wish that I had known that careers, like life, do not follow linear paths and that it is OK to takes some risks and choose a path that may lead to a very different career experience. It is really important to love what you do as you spend a great deal of time with whatever your chosen profession.