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Natalia Baez envisions herself working in philanthropy to help students receive college funds. Photo: Courtesy

From McDonald’s to Goldman Sachs

Lafayette student Natalia Baez shares her experience as a low-income student who made it to Goldman Sachs.

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Born in the Bronx, New York, Natalia Baez, daughter of Dominican immigrants, received a full tuition scholarship to attend Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. 

She experienced her father’s near deportation—a moment that marked her advocacy for immigration justice and love of law. 

“I wanted to save my community and the world,” admits Baez, who acknowledges the large Latinx community in the South Bronx. But as it often occurs, deportation, a painful experience among immigrants, is more common than many people realize—immigrants fuel the local economy and collectively contribute $100 billion in earnings each year, as reported by Scott M. Stringer, former New York City Controller in 2019. 

Her passion for law led her to intern at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, supporting case development. Although she notes this was not immigration law— the law firm has highly experienced litigators and lawyers. 

Despite her interest in immigration law, she soon realized this career path was not for her and that the intense work hours made her feel like “I was doing it more for personal reasons instead of enjoying the career and passion for law.” A bittersweet moment that positioned her closer to her newfound passion: economy and sociology, discussed later.  

In her senior year of high school, Baez received the Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship (2019-2023), given to individuals with extraordinary leadership potential that allows students who receive the scholarship to be an early decision for Posse’s partner colleges and universities. She also received The Madison Square Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship (2018-2023) for $25,000 a year—with Posse and Inspire, Baez attended Lafayette College for free.  

Photo: Courtesy

When you get thrown in the fire, you learn how to navigate.

“I would do it all over again”

Baez notes that during her first semester in college, the diverse course selection exposed her to economics and cultural anthropology—courses that did not interest her. However, a visiting professor saw the potential in her, “a corporate woman,” as he referred to her—this professor motivated Baez to continue with economics—later double majoring in Economics and Anthropology and Sociology. 

Baez continued to take courses of interest during the pandemic— the lack of employment opportunities led her to McDonald’s. 

After working at the fast food restaurant during the summer of Freshman year, she acquired internship opportunities at Moelis & Company, Bank of America, and later at Goldman Sachs. 

“Working at McDonald's has helped me prepare to be more social and learn how to collaborate and talk to people,” Baez assures. 

Although the Dominican is sad to part ways with Lafayette, she emphasizes, “I would do it all over again” because “I have met the most intelligent people, and it’s been so stimulating for my mind and soul.” 

The devoted learner engulfed in a state of ecstasies, where serenity was the right way to live life, experienced Costa Rica as a study abroad student—undeterred by the recent pandemic or the potential of another shutdown, she just wanted “to live life like this,” free to let herself roam around and explore to become more culturally aware.   

After experiencing Costa Rica, Baez took a summer internship at Goldman Sachs as an asset management operations intern. 

Making it Big in Corporate

In 2021, Baez participated in the Hispanic/ Latinx Possibilities Summit, a 5-week program focused on learning more about careers at Goldman Sachs through interactive workshops. The following year, she became an intern at Goldman Sachs Dallas branch. 

As an asset management operations intern, she submitted time-sensitive payment contacts to a third-party contractor to rebuild workflow for same-day funding. After her internship, she was offered full-time employment in Dallas, which she accepted. 

Enthused by the emotional and financial support she received while navigating many challenges, Baez credits this for leading her “to get through all the obstacles and get the success that I did have.”


 

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