Daniel Ugalde, a Zicklin undergraduate majoring in finance, was the salutatorian, or second-highest ranking student, of the Class of 2023. He sat down for an interview with Zicklin News.
“My parents always instilled in me the idea that education is important,” says Daniel, who was born in Ecuador and immigrated to the United States at age five. “They came here so that my brother and I could go to college, which in Ecuador tends to be expensive and very limited.”
By high school, Daniel already knew he wanted to study business. When it came time for college, the Zicklin School was the obvious choice for the usual reasons: its strong academic reputation, affordable tuition, and easy commute. (Daniel lives in Queens.) But he didn’t know until he matriculated that Baruch also has a wealth of campus organizations to help students.
Daniel joined the Baruch chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), a national organization whose goal is to help Latino students break into finance and investment banking, and eventually worked his way up to his most recent post as ALPFA’s president. He also joined the Baruch Investment Management Group, which imparts technical skills in finance by giving students a real portfolio of $1 million to manage.
With the help of the Starr Career Development Center, Daniel won an internship last summer at Blackstone that led to a full-time offer as an analyst in the investment company’s real estate debt strategies group. He will also attend the weeklong Harvard Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP), (“it’s like an MBA bootcamp”) to see if he eventually wants to pursue an MBA degree.
As salutatorian, Daniel wrote and delivered a speech at the Baruch Student Achievement Awards ceremony in May, in which he quoted Bernard Baruch: “The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.”
“That’s something I’ve realized recently,” Daniel says. “Throughout college, I always wanted older students to tell me about all the mistakes I should avoid, but even when I avoided those, I made other ones. Now I see that it’s all part of the learning process—it builds your character.”