Class of 2006
Majors: Finance and Philosophy
When he graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2006, Peter Bremberg didn’t expect to wind up working in India. After two years at a New York financial firm, though, the credit crisis was beginning to hit Wall Street and Bremberg was starting to consider other options. That’s when he was given the opportunity to work for a company funding microfinance institutions in India.
It was the perfect job for Bremberg, who had written his thesis on why microfinance works from both an ethical and a financial standpoint. Microfinance, he explains, is providing financial services such as small loans to low-income people, particularly those who wouldn’t be able to receive loans from traditional banks.
“Microfinance has existed for decades but the sector is becoming one of the more, innovative fields in the financial world,” Bremberg says. “The face of finance is changing, this is one of many new areas of social enterprise just starting to develop.”
Bremberg works with a team that helps microfinance institutions to raise the money they need to give out loans, linking them with investors and banks in India. The microfinance institutions in turn help millions of low-income families.
“It’s intellectually challenging and entrepreneurial work, and more fulfilling than Wall Street,” Bremberg says. “At my old company, doing well generally meant making wealthy people wealthier. Here we’re serving the low-income population.”
Internships the summers before his junior and senior years helped to give him a fuller understanding of how Wall Street and the financial world worked, and helped him get more out of his last two years of classes. They also made the transition after graduation go more smoothly.
“Getting your foot in the door is key,” Bremberg says. “Then, prove yourself.”
His thesis work with Professor Donald Materniak was also very helpful in his current work, because he was able to independently pursue and learn about something that really interested him, and now he is working in the very field he was studying.
Bremberg recommends that students interested in business and finance find something that catches their interest, and pursue it from day one.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there, in traditional finance as well as the new branches dealing with social impact, renewable energy, clean water… There are many opportunities in growing markets like India and poorer countries.”