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Vicki Mermanishvili: From Biological Engineering to Credit Risk

Vicki Mermanishvili transferred her skills developed as a Biological Engineering major and Business minor into a career in Credit Risk.

While studying Biological Engineering at Cornell University, Vicki Mermanishvili fell in love with finance through her minor in Business.

“I realized that although I enjoyed working through the analytical aspects of the engineering courses, I was drawn to the fast-paced nature of business I discovered in my finance classes, where my efforts were visible more imminently.”

Inspired, Vicki went on to complete a five-year program where she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering and Master’s in Engineering Management, with a focus on more advanced finance.

“As part of the Master’s program, students were given the flexibility to select a concentration ranging from specific engineering disciplines to business-related disciplines and management consulting. With my interest in obtaining additional exposure to finance, I focused on enrolling in courses through Cornell’s S.C. Johnson Graduate College of Business and taking classes such as Comprehensive Financial Statement Analysis, Financial Modeling, Managerial Finance, Behavioral Finance, The Venture Capital Industry and Private Equity Markets. This experience contributed to my career path transition as the MBA classes had further solidified my desire to develop a career in finance and provided me with a foundation where I began using my problem-solving skillset from my engineering classes for finance-related tasks.” 

A new path

While Vicki knew the transition from Engineering to Finance may be challenging, she was confident the analytical and critical thinking skills she acquired in engineering would be transferrable to the right role.

Interviewing with Macquarie, Vicki discovered the company not only could see the value of her engineering skills but welcomed them. “Throughout the recruitment process, the Macquarie team emphasized how the company values diversity as part of their culture.”

Another aspect of the role that stood out to Vicki was Macquarie’s flat structure and the opportunity to be involved in meaningful projects, regardless of seniority or level. 

“I found that Macquarie had the same fast-paced feel that was so appealing to me at Cornell,” says Vicki. “I wanted to be involved in projects from start to finish and take on additional responsibilities throughout the process.”

A fast-paced industry

Vicki joined Macquarie in 2017 as a Credit Risk Associate in the Risk Management Group. The Risk Management Group brings an independent, expert and objective approach to managing risk.  

Today, she is a Senior Analyst covering the Commodity and Global Markets group, specifically the Commodity Finance business which looks to provide working capital solutions to commodity trading companies.

Throughout her career at Macquarie, Vicki has covered various Commodities and Global Markets counterparties and transactions, including trading opportunities with large, investment grade corporations or private equity funds, to secured lending facilities with small, weaker credit quality counterparties.

“This experience was fascinating as the coverage was so broad, and I saw so much opportunity to quickly increase knowledge and growth,” says Vicki.

Although this was a steep learning curve for me initially, Macquarie’s open culture allowed for speedy career development and offered substantial support from senior management."

As a result, Vicki says her responsibilities have expanded, and she has benefited from increasing autonomy in the role.


An expert in her field

During her time at Macquarie, Vicki has attended numerous site visits and several client meetings involving transactions for new clients as well as ongoing credit due diligence. “These experiences have particularly stood out to me as I have been involved in these client interactions early on in my career, which is generally uncommon in the industry.”

Vicki credits the strong relationships and daily interactions within her business group for this early, hands-on experience. “Given the high-touch nature of the business from a risk perspective, I have ongoing engagement with the Group and have quickly formed strong relationships with the junior and senior relationship managers as well as the deal management team for increased exposure,” says Vicki.

Vicki enjoys the true collaboration between the business, who are the first line of risk defense at Macquarie, and the Risk Management Group as  the ultimate goal of both parties are aligned.

A solid foundation

Building relationships is a strong element of the Macquarie culture, one that is instilled from day one. “The Macquarie Graduate Program brings together new hires from across the United States and across the various businesses of Macquarie. This offers an opportunity to meet many colleagues with different backgrounds and interests.”

Through the training program, Vicki received a solid foundation and understanding of the various businesses and deep technical training which she says she still relies on today.

One the most important things I’ve learned at Macquarie is to always be inquisitive. Given the size of the organization and the Group’s involvement in a variety of businesses, there is always the ability and the opportunity to continue learning."

Vicki says this natural curiosity has been particularly helpful at the start of her career given the transition from college to a new working environment and continues to be applicable several years later as Macquarie’s businesses may change based on the market conditions, as well as credit risk appetite for transactions.

“Having this intellectual curiosity is crucial to success generally, and Macquarie’s culture makes this easy as people are willing to help you and teach you when you need it.”

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