Jose Leon
Portfolio Management Associate, Principal Global Investors, Des Moines, Iowa
Jose Leon

Financial steward

After earning an associate degree from a community college, Jose transferred to Northwestern to continue his studies in business–finance. He says Professor Post was instrumental in making his transition a smooth one and ensured that Jose would complete his bachelor’s degree on target. A Northwestern alumni connection proved to be valuable to Jose’s post-grad success. Today he works for a top global investment firm and is well on his way to becoming a chartered financial analyst.

What does your job involve?
I work within an equity asset management boutique at Principal Global Investors known as Aligned Investors. My primary responsibilities are helping the portfolio managers implement investment decisions, manage cash flows, and monitor compliance with client-driven and regulatory guidelines. A fair amount of my time is also spent answering client questions on the investment process and preparing marketing materials.

What led you to pursue a finance major?
I became interested in finance after taking a personal finance class offered at my high school. The class did a great job of taking abstract mathematical concepts and breaking them down into tangible behaviors. It’s common for people to think of finance as crunching numbers all day, and while that belief is not inherently wrong, it is incomplete. Finance is about the proper stewardship of resources—and in asset management, the stewardship of another person’s resources. This frame of reference gives the work a real sense of meaning when you know that someone else is entrusting you with their hard-earned money and counting on you to help them fulfill their goals.

How did your Northwestern education prepare you for your career?
My degree provided a solid foundation of industry fundamentals, giving insight into the business operations of portfolio companies and preparing me for the Level I CFA exam. Northwestern also created alumni connections to fields I was interested in and put me in touch with one of my current colleagues. Who you know gets you to the table; what you know keeps you at the table. Northwestern supplied me with both. 

In what ways did NWC impact your faith?
Discussions during chapel and in the classroom gave plenty of opportunities for people with different opinions to share their thoughts and experiences. These discussions strengthened my faith and provided additional perspectives on things I hadn’t previously considered. Most importantly, Northwestern taught me that we honor God by living lives of excellence—a meaningful life is lived by serving others as best you can.