Shannon Erdmann had two loves growing up: math and ballet. And while the two might seem incompatible, for Erdmann they complemented each other perfectly.
“People don’t realize ballet is very mathematical,” says Erdmann, who danced with the Pennsylvania and San Francisco Ballet companies before entering college. “It’s very rhythmic and precise.”
Erdmann left dance to study statistical science at UC Santa Barbara. After graduation, she worked as an actuary but soon longed for a job that combined ballet’s fast pace and math’s methodical problem solving.
Now a vice president at Guggenheim Partners, Erdmann credits Haas for helping her pursue both passions.
“The Haas MFE program teaches you to interview well,” says Erdmann. “Most schools don’t teach you the practical. It really prepared me for finding my dream job.”
A self-described spreadsheet enthusiast, Erdmann found the perfect fit in buy-side fixed-income investments, which combine inspired investing and careful science.
“The excitement was building an investment model and applying everything I learned at Haas,” says Erdmann. “You have to be creative in looking for deep value for investors and opportunities other investors would pass over.”
Erdmann also volunteers with the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council’s Women’s Network. A recent mother, she aims to make the network a resource to help junior women make inroads into the financial world.
“Even though women have made great advances, there are still very few women at my level or higher in most financial organizations,” says Erdmann. “Women have come so far and we still need to keep moving.” —MR
VP, Guggenheim Partners
Santa Monica, Calif.