Kyla Scanlon Blog | My Reason Why | Talkmarkets
CAP Associate at Capital Group
Contributor's Links: KylasScanlon.com

Majored in Finance, Economics, and Data Analytics with 5+ years experience in options trading. Focus on fundamentals, with special interest in equity valuations and macroeconomic analysis.

My Reason Why

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019 4:56 PM EST

In two days, I move from Louisville, KY to Los Angeles, California.

I graduated from undergrad with honors that I could have never dreamt of, selected as the Ogden Scholar and the Robert Jefferson Scholar. Ogden Scholar is the top undergraduate academic honor across the entire graduating class, and Robert Jefferson honors the top business student.

I also received awards in my individual majors, Finance and Economics. I spoke at graduation, nervous, excited, all the things in between. I celebrated successes with my friends, and traveled to Florida and Minnesota, went to concerts, spent time with people I love.

Awards are great, and I am beyond appreciative for all of the support I have gotten from them. But the true awards came from the lessons learned, from the late nights studying, from the research projects, to the team leads, to the internships, and to the friendships cultivated along the way.

It’s a process. And now, I am a college graduate.

Now, I move. Now, I enter the “real word”. Western Kentucky University was very good to me. I learned a lot about myself. But I fell down, a lot.

University experience sometimes feels like one big trip up a giant flight of stairs (thank you to my dear friend Francis for that analogy). You think that you’re moving forward, and something (usually yourself) will get in your way, and you end up falling flat on your face.

I learned a lot from the times that I was flat on my face.

I learned a lot from the times that I let others down. When I didn’t pull for the team. When I pulled too much for the team. When I was bossy. When I was controlling. When I wasn’t bossy enough, and my voice wasn’t heard when it deserved to be.

When I was wrong. When I was right, and I let everyone know it. When I sacrificed quality for quantity. When I put my health at risk. When I decided that I knew more, but really, I knew nothing.

There are a lot of mistakes that I learned from.

But there are also a lot of things I did right, that I don’t give myself credit for. There’s a lot of people that guided me along this path, that I don’t give enough thanks to.

To the professors who taught me that I have unlimited potential, but also taught me hubris. To the professors who sharpened my love of learning and who challenged me to truly embrace the process. To the advisors who let me make mistakes, and helped me to fix them afterwards. To mentors who guided me in my personal and professional life. To the friends who were by my side when the going got rough. To my family, who is a silent force of nature, constant in presence.

They all shaped who I am today, helped determine to connect the dots between x and y, and helped me evolve as a student, friend, professional, and as a person.

As I make this move in less than 48 hours, I want to remain focused on what I went into finance in the first place for.

My passion for the field has become almost a meme in my everyday life – people joking about how often I talk about companies, my articles, my podcast, or some random finance fact that I’ll interject into everyday conversation.

But I love it.

I went into finance because of the challenge. Because you can never, ever solve this puzzle. You can run all the DCFs in the world, and the market will still ebb and flow. It’s human nature and math, at the intersection of the world economy and micro factors.

It’s endlessly stimulating, full of question marks and big answers, exclamation points and frustrated sighs. It can be emotional, it can be mechanical, and it can be all of the above.

I know my world view will change as I go on this next step in life. Los Angeles is no Louisville, and Capital Group will be unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Having this sort of opportunity, coming from a town in Kentucky, from a state school, is more than I could have asked for.

But I am excited.

I recently read “The Little Prince” again by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and one part of the book really stuck out to me.

“”The Little Prince is visiting planets across the solar system. “The fourth planet belonged to a businessman. This man was so much occupied that he did not even raise his head at the little prince’s arrival.

“Good morning,” the little prince said to him. “Your cigarette has gone out.”

“Three and two make five. Five and seven make twelve. Twelve and three make fifteen. Good morning. Fifteen and seven make twenty−two. Twenty−two and six make twenty−eight. I haven’t time to light it again. Twenty−six and five make thirty−one. Phew! Then that makes five−hundred−and−one−million, six−hundred−twenty−two−thousand, seven−hundred−thirty−one.”

“Five hundred million what?” asked the little prince.

“Eh? Are you still there? Five−hundred−and−one million−− I can’t stop… I have so much to do! I am concerned with matters of consequence. I don’t amuse myself with balderdash. Two and five make seven…”

“Five−hundred−and−one million what?” repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question once he had asked it.

The businessman raised his head. “During the fifty−four years that I have inhabited this planet, I have been disturbed only three times. The first time was twenty−two years ago, when some giddy goose fell from goodness knows where. He made the most frightful noise that resounded all over the place, and I made four mistakes in my addition. The second time, eleven years ago, I was disturbed by an attack of rheumatism. I don’t get enough exercise. I have no time for loafing. The third time−− well, this is it! I was saying, then, five −hundred−and−one millions−−”

“Millions of what?”

The businessman suddenly realized that there was no hope of being left in peace until he answered this question. “Millions of those little objects,” he said, “which one sometimes sees in the sky.”

“Flies?”

“Oh, no. Little glittering objects.”

“Bees?”

“Oh, no. Little golden objects that set lazy men to idle dreaming. As for me, I am concerned with matters of consequence. There is no time for idle dreaming in my life.”

“Ah! You mean the stars?”

“Yes, that’s it. The stars.”

“And what do you do with five−hundred millions of stars?”

“Five−hundred−and−one million, six−hundred−twenty−two thousand, seven−hundred−thirty−one. I am concerned with matters of consequence: I am accurate.”

“And what do you do with these stars?”

“What do I do with them?”

“Yes.”

“Nothing. I own them.”

“You own the stars?”

“Yes.”

“But I have already seen a king who−−”

“Kings do not own, they reign over. It is a very different matter.”

“And what good does it do you to own the stars?”

“It does me the good of making me rich.”

“And what good does it do you to be rich?”

“It makes it possible for me to buy more stars, if any are ever discovered.”

“This man,” the little prince said to himself, “reasons a little like my poor tippler…” Nevertheless, he still had some more questions. “How is it possible for one to own the stars?”

“To whom do they belong?” the businessman retorted, peevishly. “I don’t know. To nobody.”

“Then they belong to me, because I was the first person to think of it.”

“Is that all that is necessary?”

“Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me: I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them.”

“Yes, that is true,” said the little prince. “And what do you do with them?”

“I administer them,” replied the businessman. “I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of consequence.”

The little prince was still not satisfied. “If I owned a silk scarf,” he said, “I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven…”

“No. But I can put them in the bank.”

“Whatever does that mean?”

“That means that I write the number of my stars on a little paper. And then I put this paper in a drawer and lock it with a key.”

“And that is all?”

“That is enough,” said the businessman.

“It is entertaining,” thought the little prince. “It is rather poetic. But it is of no great consequence.” On matters of consequence, the little prince had ideas which were very different from those of the grown−ups.""

As I move forward in this next stage, I hope that I always retain my love of finance, of numbers, of asking why. I hope that I always remember my reason why. And I hope that I never get too busy with matters of great consequence.

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Ayelet Wolf 3 years ago Member's comment

Congrats on graduating and good luck this new stage of your life!