For the Duke Financial Economics Center (DFE), each spring brings the opportunity to honor a number of seniors for their exceptional leadership qualities and commitment to mentorship throughout their involvement with the center. Directors John Caccavale and Emma Rasiel established the DFE Leadership Award in 2011 for this purpose. They are pleased to add the 2021-2022 winners to the list of recipients: Gianna Affi, Arjun Bakshi, William Bradley, Davis Jones, and Thomas Schaefer.
Coming from a wide range of academic interests and extracurricular pursuits, Affi, Bakshi, Bradley, Jones, and Schaefer demonstrate that Duke students with a passion for finance cannot be pigeonholed. This month we are highlighting each of them in a Q&A profile.
Davis Jones came to Duke from Greensboro, NC. He will graduate this May with an economics major with a finance concentration and a minor in environmental science and policy. A job in Citi’s Global Structured Debt group awaits him after graduation.
“Davis immediately stands out as someone who was always willing to help younger students, whether advising them on their résumés or holding office hours for finance courses,” said Rasiel. “Genuine and approachable, he has been a trusted resource to countless sophomores.”
How did your interest in finance develop?
After my freshman year at Duke, I did the Duke in Chicago Finance program. During this one-month program, I took ECON 370 Global Capital Markets with John Caccavale and participated in various educational events with finance professionals. This program introduced me to the many different careers that exist in finance and sparked my strong interest in the industry.
In what other ways have you been involved with DFE?
In the fall of my sophomore year, I took ECON 256 Practical Financial Markets with Emma Rasiel and John Caccavale. This class is a boot camp for students looking to go into the finance industry, and I found the material to be incredibly valuable when I started recruiting for jobs. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for this course the past two years, allowing me to continually be involved with the class.
Outside of the classroom, I’ve been to various networking and educational events hosted by DFE. These events were fundamental in helping me land a job in finance. I also met many of my mentors through these programs, all of whom have been incredibly valuable resources as I start my professional journey.
What events, programs, classes, and people have had the most impact on you as you’ve pursued finance? In what ways have they helped you grow?
Emma Rasiel and John Caccavale have had a significant influence on my choice to pursue a career in finance. They’re both incredibly engaging teachers. The way they have structured DFE programs with significant student involvement and visiting professionals from the industry makes the activities both valuable and enjoyable. Emma has helped me numerous times as I’ve considered the different avenues in finance and what the best career path would look like for me. John has instilled in me a passion for following the markets and exploring alternative careers in finance.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was also a regular attendee at the DFE Lunch & Learn series. This program allows students to have a casual lunch with senior finance professionals. Unlike other networking on campus, these sessions were always more intimate and allowed students to ask for career advice, as opposed to questions about a specific firm. They helped me “zoom out” and realize that there is no one career path in finance—everyone has a unique story for how they got where they did.
Of all of the contributions you’ve made through finance-related activities (both DFE and non-DFE), of what are you the proudest?
I’m very glad and proud that I’ve been able to be a teaching assistant for ECON 256 the last two years. It’s been a great opportunity to help other Duke students with finance recruiting and their coursework. I’ve also been able to mentor other students through this role, allowing me to give back to the Duke and DFE community.
Outside of finance, what other interests have you explored at Duke? What non-finance accomplishments are you proud of?
I have explored my interest in environmental science and sustainability at Duke. I’ve enjoyed taking courses such as Energy and the Environment and Theory and Application of Sustainability, both of which have piqued my interest in the renewable energy transition. I will be doing some renewable energy work in my role next year, and I hope that I can continue to address this issue throughout my career.
I’ve also helped start a company during my time at Duke called audiown. The company allows musical artists to sell ownership in their music to their fans. I never imagined that I’d help start a company in college, and I’m proud of how it has developed since its inception.
Watch the video below to hear Davis's advice for his fellow Dukies.