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Mariano Azurduy: From Bolivia to Wall Street

Business Student Most Proud of His Diverse, Supportive Network
Mariano Azurduy: From Bolivia to Wall Street
Mariano Azurduy of Tarija, Bolivia, graduated May 18 and will work as an investment banking analyst at Jefferies Group on Wall Street in New York City.

An unexpected trip during his high school foreign exchange year led Mariano Azurduy of Tarija, Bolivia, to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. On May 18, he graduated with degrees in finance and economics, ready to start his career on Wall Street.

“My 'American family' in Columbus, Nebraska, thought it would be good for me to tour the university, and I instantly fell in love with the campus and the College of Business,” he said. “Nebraska’s incredible sense of community and spirit really attracted me. Whether it’s cheering on our teams, participating in university events or simply walking through campus, there’s a sense of belonging and pride shared among students, faculty and alumni alike. This welcoming environment, coupled with the excellent reputation of the College of Business, made my decision to study here an easy one.”

Focused on starting a career on Wall Street, Azurduy majored in finance and economics.

His parents' careers in management and entrepreneurship sparked his interest in business. Once again finding himself so far away from his friends and father, Juan Ramon Azurduy, and mother, Lorena Castellanos, as well as his two younger brothers, Luis Felipe, 20, and Joaquin, 17, Azurduy knew he needed to begin building a community on campus right away.

“Starting college as an international student is particularly challenging because, unlike many domestic students whose high school friends may choose different majors or universities but still share a common cultural context, I came to campus without any connections at all. Despite this, I quickly began forming relationships with professors, fellow students, faculty members and professionals. From each interaction, I gained something valuable — be it a professional connection, insightful advice or a new friendship,” he said.

He attended Dean’s Office Hours and met Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance. After their discussion, the dean introduced him to Susan Berke, executive assistant to the dean.

“Mariano said his father taught him to ask for opportunities, and he wanted to know if there was an opening as a student assistant in the Dean’s Office,” said Berke.

He started is as assistant and after training during the summer, he was promoted to the lead student/peer manager position. He hired, trained and coordinated the student schedules for six student assistants.

“Motivated by my ambition to break into Wall Street, I joined the Wall Street Scholars of Nebraska, a recognized student organization at the college, as a sophomore,” he said. “They supported me and provided insights on the industry, bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world application.”

Berke said the connections Azurduy made in the organization helped him find an internship at Skyline Advisors in Omaha. Soon he was working 20 hours a week there.

“Mariano had a clear goal to work on Wall Street, and all his choices revolved around that. He wanted to continue to work in the Dean’s Office but realized that to pursue his goal he needed to take other opportunities,” said Berke.

In his junior year, he served as president of the Wall Street Scholars. Although he was initially nervous about leading the organization, he challenged himself with the new role.

“The experience taught me that effective leadership isn't about having all the answers but about being willing to learn continuously. This role not only became an opportunity for me to pay it forward but also spurred significant personal and professional growth, equipping me with robust skills for my future career in finance,” Azurduy said.

Ready for his next opportunity, he applied for an internship at Jefferies Group in New York City. Officially selected, he spent last summer as an intern on Wall Street.

“It was a truly transformational experience. Witnessing firsthand the competitiveness of the U.S. job market, I saw how well the university had prepared me to thrive in such a dynamic environment. This experience not only sharpened my professional skills but also boosted my confidence and solidified my career aspirations,” he said.

His successful internship led to him being offered a full-time position as an investment banking analyst at Jefferies Group. During his senior year, he continued to develop key soft skills and gain a comprehensive understanding of various financial products and the economy.

He took the Investors With Purpose course (FINA 464), featuring industry experts who led discussions and shared their real-life experiences. After each class, the conversation continued over dinner with the guest speakers.

"Being mentored by successful professionals and having the opportunity to ask questions openly was invaluable. In finance, being well-prepared and networking are crucial, yet it can be challenging to find professionals willing to dedicate time to mentorship or even a short conversation. The immediate access to a network of highly successful professionals in the course was remarkable," he said.

Looking forward to his future, Azurduy shared how he was most proud of the diverse and supportive network he built while in college, on and off campus.

“My plan is to continue growing my career at Jefferies Group because it offers a fantastic environment for professional development, especially in such a dynamic city. While I'm not entirely sure what the future holds, I'm eager to absorb as much knowledge as possible from industry experts on Wall Street,” Azurduy said. “I'm looking forward to facing new challenges and seizing the opportunities that come my way, as I believe they will help shape my career and personal growth in the years to come.”

Published: May 15, 2024