April 26, 2023

Elias Carson: UDC Scholarship Recipient Questionnaire

Elias Carson: UDC Scholarship Recipient Questionnaire

Carson Elias

Tell us a little about yourself – where did you grow up, what are your hobbies and interests, what year are you in school, and/or when did you graduate?

 I grew up in the quiet town of NE Washington D.C., on 4th and G St., near the old North Capitol UDC-CC campus. Nature is my first love, so my hobbies always include Herpetoculture and horticulture. I also really enjoy cooking new foods, even though I don’t think I’m as good as I should be. And lastly, I love to study financial markets and economics. Specifically, topics related to behavioral econ. This is my Senior year in school, and I have one more semester before earning my bachelor’s.

What are you studying in school and why did you choose that major?

I am currently studying Finance at UDC and I chose this major simply because of my passion for financial markets and economics. Before enrolling at UDC or any college for that matter, I spent a lot of time scrolling through Investopedia articles and reading Bloomberg subscriptions (I first subscribed at 19) trying to quench my curiosity. From there I knew that studying it wouldn’t bore me and challenges wouldn’t deter me.

How did you hear/learn about the Structured Finance Foundation scholarship? What about the opportunity that seemed interesting to you?

 I first heard about the SFF scholarship from a classmate named who encouraged me to apply. What really interested me about the opportunity (aside from the dollar amount) was the connections SFA had throughout the financial services industry as well as the work SFA has participated in.

What does being selected as a recipient of the scholarship mean to you?

 Being selected as a recipient has 2 meanings for me. The first is an acknowledgment of my hard work and dedication to my educational goals. It serves as a sort of reassurance that I have been on the right path. It also serves as a sign that I should continue toward my master’s degree sooner rather than later. This award shows that I should trust in myself and not let financial restraint prevent me from achieving my goal.

How will it help you achieve your academic, personal, and career goals, both in the short term and down the road?

 In the short term, this award will help me by ensuring my tuition for my final semester is covered, allowing me to dedicate more bandwidth towards my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. It also will help me down the road by giving me a headstart on taking courses toward my master’s and alleviating some of the costs associated with the degree going forward. It would help personally by alleviating a lot of the stress associated with finding ways to fund my education. As someone who has paid their first 3 years out of pocket, not having to worry about it my senior lifts a huge weight off my shoulders. It will also assist me professionally by providing me with the funds needed to take some electives before graduation that can be used to strengthen my professional skills.

Where does your interest in finance/structured finance/business stem from?

 It’s hard to say exactly where my interest in finance stemmed from, but I know the first time I felt I had to learn more about it. It was when I saw a market ticker stream across the front of a Booz Allen & Hamilton building on my way home from work. Seeing those red and green numbers slick across the screen interested me for weeks. My curiosity eventually led me to Bloomberg News, and although I didn’t understand what a bip was or even what they were talking about at first, I continued to watch and slowly learned via Investopedia and immersion.

It also could stem from my experience during the 2007 financial crisis. My parents lost their jobs and had to sell our home during the meltdown and that experience stuck with me growing up. Since then, I always wanted to know why those unfortunate events occurred almost simultaneously and how exactly they came about.

What are other ways the partnership between SFA and UDC could be impactful to you and your fellow students?

The SFA recently conducted an info session at UDC, and I felt that was extremely impactful. It not only taught students about the scholarship opportunity but also about the opportunities at SFA and what the structured finance industry is. Another way to have an impact on UDC students is to have some of your members speak to students about opportunities in the structured finance industry or at their firms.

Are there particular aspects of SFA’s work that are especially appealing to you?

The advocacy work SFA does on behalf of its members is an interesting aspect to me, as are some of the research projects the organization does. As someone born out of the financial crisis, the mortgage-backed assets part of structured finance and the work SFA does there also interest me (specifically non-investment grade MBS).