Since graduating from Princeton, Julie Silcock ’78, has made quite the name for herself in the world of finance. Silcock is currently a Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey , an international investment bank and one of the top M&A advisors for US transactions, in the Southwest and Southeast regions of the U.S. Previously, she was the head of Southwest Investment Banking for Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and has also served as a managing director at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette’s Investment Banking Practice in Dallas and Bear Stearns & Co. in Dallas. Together, she has over 25 years of experience in financial advising.
Unlike many Princeton graduates who went to work in finance, Silcock started out as a Comparative Literature major, with an emphasis on Latin and French. She was introduced to the world of finance during her senior year at Princeton, when she went to a career colloquium for investment banking. She said she was also introduced to the scene through her sister, who received her MBA from Harvard University and her brother-in-law, who worked for the prominent investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Silcock says that the more she learned about investment banking, the more interested she became. She says she enjoys investment banking because the people she met were exceedingly well spoken and the business was legitimately interesting to her. “It was not just lending out money,” she says. “It was advising companies, buying or selling other companies, and raising capital.” She also says that she was impressed, finding the work to be much more creative than she originally believed. One of Silcock’s favorite aspects of investment banking is trafficking with CEOs, giving advice that can have a major impact on the company.
Silcock is also one of the few women who have risen to a high rank in the world of finance. Despite the many challenges that women face in investment banking, Silcock says that her experience has been different from that of most women. She says that she has “always ignored the glass ceiling, ignored the fact that I’m a woman in business and that there aren’t that many.” She also says that unlike many women, she was not torn between work and family. She says that her husband was very supportive and despite working long hours, she has able to spend time with her two children.
Last year, Silcock came to Princeton University to speak about the changing landscape of investment banking. She gave a brief history of the history of investment banking from the 1920s to present day. She spoke about how financial crises are the result of banks being addicted to risk and high leverage.
Today, there is new regulation that attempts to replace Glass-Steagall, but Silcock argues that it is costly and ineffective. She says that Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, the two main forms of regulation today, are causing many companies to stay private. This in turn, leads to huge companies gaining access to large pools of private capital. Silcock is still unsure of how everything will play out in the next few years, but she fears the continuation of this trend could lead to another crash in the future.
Betty Liu is a freshman writer from North Carolina. She joined The Financier this fall and can be reached at email@example.com.