Five Under Five: Refjola Malushi ’18
Accounting & Finance
Be open to everything Syracuse University and Whitman have to offer as you’re exploring your interests by getting involved early in organizations and building meaningful relationships with professors (i.e., go to office hours), alumni and your peers.
Our Five Under Five column features a Q&A with a Whitman School graduate of the last five years. In this issue, meet Refjola Malushi ’18, who grew up in the Boston area and now lives and works in New York City. Malushi double majored in finance and accounting at Whitman. Today, she serves as a senior associate at Barings. This role involves supporting capital solutions ranging from traditional senior debt to junior capital solutions. She helps private equity clients finance their middle-market buyouts, acquisitions and recapitalizations. As a member of the underwriting team, Malushi assists by providing diligence on the companies that receive capital from Barings and structuring the capital offerings for those clients.
What factored into your choice of majors at Whitman?
Although I tried to keep an open mind when selecting a major, I came to Whitman with a preference for finance and gravitated toward it more as I learned about different career opportunities while speaking with peers, alumni and professors. Although I wanted to focus on finance, I quickly realized that a strong foundation in accounting was important to having a successful career.
What experience from your time at Whitman was especially impactful in your career preparation?
I was an Orange Value Fund (OVF) analyst. OVF is a private investment vehicle focused on a value investing philosophy. The fund is managed by Martin J. Whitman Professor of Finance and Director of the Ballentine Investment Institute Fernando Diz and a select group of juniors and seniors who are a part of a two-year analyst program with a specialized curriculum. OVF provided me with an early view into the investor side of finance and hands-on experience through various case studies and real investment research. Although the professional development opportunities were invaluable, arguably more importantly, OVF provided me with a group of motivated and successful peers and alumni who were valuable not only while I was a student but also as I cross paths with them in my career.
What are your fondest Whitman memories?
One of my fondest memories was simply sitting in the Whitman atrium (Flaum Grand Hall) in between classes and experiencing the community of the School as friends and classmates passed by, with some of these casual interactions leading to lifelong friendships.
What advice would you give to first-year students?
Be open to everything Syracuse University and Whitman have to offer as you’re exploring your interests by getting involved early in organizations and building meaningful relationships with professors (i.e., go to office hours), alumni and your peers. Four years fly, so take advantage of one of the last times in your life where your main job is to be a student.
How do you keep balance in your life?
I’ve learned the importance of prioritizing mental and physical health, especially when things get hectic, to set myself up for success in other parts of life. I do this by going to the gym, cycling and balancing nourishing meals while still indulging in the great restaurants in New York City.
By Alison Kessler