Alumni Profiles

Akane Otani

Stock Market Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
BER 17

What do you do at The Wall Street Journal?

I cover the U.S. stock market, chronicling the daily ebb and flow of major indexes, as well as the ways central banks, politics and corporate news are moving financial markets around the world. I also appear on the Journal’s podcasts and contribute to our real-time coverage of the markets on the Dow Jones Newswires.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Writing in a way that’s faithful to the numbers, but also interesting to readers who aren’t hardcore markets nerds. Also: writing in a way that adds value. Any Wall Street analyst can look up what the S&P 500 did on a given day. My job is to report stories that take readers beyond that—whether it’s by taking a step back and examining how broader forces are changing investor behavior, or by combining text with charts and interactive graphics.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

My A-hed, a quirky feature story that runs on the front page of the Journal, which gave readers a glimpse at a summer camp where seven and eight-year-olds learn about supply and demand dynamics, foreign exchange and personal investing. Another piece I’m proud of: a text-graphics mash-up breaking down how negative tweets from Trump affected the stock market.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student?

I held two internships: one as a breaking news intern at CNBC, the other as a markets intern at The Wall Street Journal. At CNBC, I gained a deeper understanding of how the broadcast news industry works and how web-focused teams work with anchors and producers to turn two-minute segments into engaging, online reads. My internship at the Journal was like taking a crash course in the financial markets. I wrote about everything from bets in the options market to investors’ reaction to Brexit and learned how to produce clean copy under tight deadlines.

What did BER do for you?

I got a chance to hone my writing, research and reporting skills in the classroom and then apply everything I learned at NYU in fast-paced newsrooms around New York.

 

Want Your 7-Year-Old To Be a Banker? There’s a Camp for That
Akane Otani

Wall Street Journal

Think a Negative Tweet From Trump Crushes a Stock? Think Again
Akane Otani

Wall Street Journal


Meenal Vamburkar

Reporter, Bloomberg News
BER 15

What do you do at Bloomberg?

I cover oil companies and markets. Specifically, my beat includes pipelines and refiners, but I’ve written about everything from the crude futures market to small drillers in Oklahoma.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Keeping up with a steady stream of stories. We’re expected to respond to breaking news and cover earnings while also working on enterprise stories. That means always having ideas to pitch. It can be difficult to come up with new ideas about the same pool of companies and not rehash the same themes. So you look for different ways to write it: the broader story about opposition, the big takes on high-profile projects, the added idea that even expansions to existing projects face hurdles, etc.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

The broader stories with human interest or that meet at the intersection of politics and government. I’m also proud of some of the big-picture coverage about the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline battles. They’ve been high-profile, contentious projects, and I think our stories captured the economic and political conflicts without getting bogged down in all the shouting.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student?

I interned at Debtwire, on the Municipals team. I knew nothing about municipal bonds when I started and was thrown into a pretty technical job. Tackling that learning curve was a good experience in itself — because it can be intimidating! I also interned at Money magazine, which was the opposite in many ways. Covering personal finance in a conversational way forced me to adopt a kind of writing style I’d never used.

Internships can also be a way to figure out what you *don’t* want to do. I realized Debtwire wasn’t the kind of organization I wanted to work at, but I was surprised to discover my interest in munis (which I never would’ve considered).

What did BER do for you?

The best thing about BER is the professors, who each bring something different to the table, be it advice on framing a story, connecting us to other people in the industry, or simply offering advice when you’re going crazy with applications and projects. The long-form class was especially helpful to learn how to think through a narrative and structure it. The program cultivates a community of alumni and keeps them in the loop. Separately, I needed the Stern classes. I had absolutely no background in business, so the finance and accounting classes were valuable.

 

Keystone XL Foes Don’t Mention Climate in Red State Pipeline Battle
Meenal Vamburkar

Bloomberg News

‘Pipeline Purgatory’ The Goal as Activists Take Fight Local
Meenal Vamburkar

Bloomberg News


Katie Lobosco

Writer, CNNMoney
BER 14

What do you do at CNN?

I write news and feature stories about student debt, saving for retirement, and anything else that affects your wallet for CNNMoney.com’s personal finance team.

What is the hardest part of your job?

It’s a constant challenge to know when to keep reporting out a story and when it’s time to put it aside and move on to something else.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

I wrote a series about some same-sex couples still waiting for their spousal Social Security benefits nearly three years after the landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. One widow finally began to receive her survivor benefits after I profiled her.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student and what did you learn?

I interned at WNYC where I learned how to effectively pitch a story to an editor as well as how to record and edit an interview for radio. Over the summer, I interned at CNNMoney, where I wrote a ton and got a lot faster at covering breaking news stories.

What did BER do for you?

I learned how to structure a story in BER’s writing classes and at Stern learned the basics of investing. I also met some great people who have become lifelong friends.

 

‘I Fought for Two Years and Finally Got My Social Security’
Katie Lobosco

CNNMoney

A Cybercriminal’s Guide to Protecting Your Identity
Katie Lobosco

CNNMoney


Anders Melin

Reporter, Bloomberg News
BER 14

What do you do at Bloomberg?

I cover executive compensation for Bloomberg News.

What is the hardest part of your job?

To think two steps ahead of the news cycle and try to anticipate the butterfly effects of certain events or changes is very tricky. But if you get it right, you’ll be ahead of everyone and set up to own the story.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

In September 2017 I broke the news that three Equifax executives had traded stock shortly after the company had discovered what would eventually be one of the largest cyber breaches in U.S. history. The story made an impact in the sense that it’s reshaped the aftermath of the hack to focus partly on the company’s governance and reporting structure, not just on its cybersecurity measures. Earlier in the year, I broke news about the compensation paid to Vanguard Group’s CEO Bill McNabb. Before that, the firm’s executive pay had remained a closely guarded secret for two decades.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student?

Debtwire, Reuters and CNN. The most important lesson was there are few rules restricting how journalism is made

What did BER do for you?

BER connected me to a network of financial reporters at different organizations, which eventually helped me land a job I enjoy tremendously.

 

Three Equifax Managers Sold Stock Before Cyber Hack Revealed
Anders Melin

Bloomberg News

How Well Does Running Vanguard Pay?
Anders Melin

Bloomberg News


Anita Balakrishnan

Technology Reporter, CNBC Digital
BER 16

What do you do at CNBC?

I write for CNBC.com covering technology companies, specifically tech stocks/IPOs and emerging hardware at Apple, Uber and Snap.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The chase to get scoops provides a bunch of different types of challenges. If you’re very competitive, you can feel haunted or obsessed with getting scoops, and get burnt out or start to make mistakes. If you are the type to become discouraged if you lose a story or ruffled by competitors/sources, you have to motivate yourself to get back out there. There’s always a balance with your editor between being in the office and writing copy, and being out in the field getting sources or doing other promotion like speaking gigs or TV interviews. I find these are the most difficult areas to navigate at this stage in my career.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

I’m blessed to have a job where Icontinue to produce my best work; what was at the top of my portfolio a year ago might not make the list today. At first my goal was to become proficient at fast-breaking news, especially earnings releases. When I was promoted to covering Apple earnings (the biggest publicly traded company by market capitalization) that was a big moment for me. Lately I’ve stretched beyond that into more stylistic pieces and analysis. I profiled Snap COO Imran Khan andUber co-founder Ryan Graves, as well as a Jet.com shareholder who got very rich. Lately, I’ve been trying to focus more on scoops.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student and what did you learn?

I interned at CNBC.com and USA Today Money. I think the number one thing I learned was how to best use my editors’ time. In school you might get days, sometimes weeks, to put together a story. On the job, you might have hours, sometimes minutes. You need clear priorities on how much time to devote to reporting, fact-checking, writing, and visual elements. Each publication, and sometimes each editor, has its own expectations. It’s your job to figure out what that is.

What did BER do for you?

Through BER I got access to people and resources that I couldn’t have gotten on my own. The New York media scene, especially in business news, is very insular. Having ambassadors usher you into that world can be very helpful.

 

How Imran Khan Became the Secret Weapon Behind the Year’s Biggest Tech IPO
Anita Balakrishnan

CNBC Digital

How Ryan Graves Became Uber’s First CEO
Anita Balakrishnan

CNBCDigital


Diana Ransom

Features Editor, Inc
BER 05

What do you do at Inc?

As features editor,my biggest task is to manage major packages. I work with just about every member of the team, from development and art staff to video and editorial.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Coordinating all of the people and tasks that go into any one project.

Tell us about the stories you are most proud of.

I’ve worked at a number of places, including SmartMoney (which was owned by the Wall Street Journal), Entrepreneur.com, and now Inc. When I was a reporter at Smart Money, I felt good about stories I wrote on McDonald’s franchisees feeling burdened by the obligation to participate in national promotions. I also wrote a piece about Geico’s roadside assistance policy, which led to the company changing it. And I won an award for a piece I wrote about Goldman Sachs’ small business program, which was considered an apology from CEO Lloyd Blankfein for the firm’s role in the financial crisis.

Where did you intern when you were a BER student and what did you learn?

Fast Company magazine, the New York Daily News, and the Christian Science Monitor. I learned how each of these publications worked and how to write for them. It was also the first time I did a man-on-the-street-style series of interviews, which was absolutely a learning experience in NYC!

What did BER do for you?

It opened the door to a career in journalism to me.

 

Food Fight: Franchisees Caught in the Middle
Diana Ransom

SmartMoney

The 70% Discount on Goldman’s $500M Gift
Diana Ransom

SmartMoney

 

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