Sinpeng is curious: What do people want? Why? How do they get organized? How do they communicate? How do they navigate an oppressive system to make their demands?
She may only be a college sophomore, but Marianne Brunet is comfortable taking on U.S. presidents.
In one of a handful of sophisticated pieces she has written for Advisor Perspectives, a company that provides investment strategy insights to financial advisors and wealth managers who work with high-net worth clients, Brunet challenges the notion that small businesses drive economic growth in America.
“In my research, I found U.S. presidents often claim this to be true,” says Brunet. She also found the notion is misleading, at best.
In the piece, Brunet, a mathematics and economics double major, lays out the case that the over-emphasis on small businesses in political rhetoric stems from research that is “plagued with statistical errors” and fails to account for important controls, like the age of the business and the high rate of failure for small businesses.
“Marianne has written several articles about finance and economics that were well received,” said Robert Huebscher, a 1976 graduate of Connecticut College and CEO of Advisor Perspectives. He said Brunet’s work, which includes interviewing subject-matter experts, such as professors and professional analysts, and obtaining documents from archives and libraries, is the type of scholarship typical of undergraduate thesis projects and master’s degree work.
Brunet’s other pieces compare China’s economy today to 1920s France and analyze the potential impact of a shortage of water on China’s capacity for economic growth. She is in the early stages of conducting research for her next piece.
A native speaker of French who hails from a small town in Canada, Brunet has always been interested in business. She spent the summer after her freshman year as a capital markets intern on Wall Street and met Huebscher through the College’s job shadow program, through which students can spend a day with an alumnus working in their field of interest.
Huebscher says he was impressed by how professional, articulate and thoughtful Brunet was during their meeting. “I saw that she would be a good fit within our culture,” he said. He offered her a part-time position as an associate editor for the company’s publication. Working remotely, Brunet writes articles on finance and global economics, completes market analysis for data reports, prepares presentation materials for the investment community and performs statistical data analysis for clients.
At Connecticut College, Brunet has also impressed her professors. Economics Professor Edward McKenna says he has only had a few students who are able to converse about economic subjects in the way Brunet can. He says her statistical knowledge is quite sophisticated and that she seems very comfortable undertaking independent research, which “is truly unusual” for a sophomore.
“Acquiring these kinds of research skills will open a wide range of opportunities for her,” McKenna said. “She is also quite far along in the development of her mathematics major, and the combination of economics, statistics and mathematics will open many doors for her.”
Brunet plans to pursue a career in finance and is leaning toward asset management. Huebscher said she is on the right path with a liberal arts education, which he says is the best background for a finance career.
“Few finance professionals can communicate clearly and persuasively in writing, yet that is an essential skill in finance,” he said. “Institutions such as Connecticut College teach students to think critically, ask good questions, collaborate and communicate original and insightful findings. Those skills are valuable in any profession, and especially so in finance.”
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