‘Working on a Team Is a Relationship Worth Investing In’: Advice From an Assistant Vice President

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Edna Mariñelarena

Photo courtesy of Moody’s.

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“The company culture and flexibility have been key to me staying at Moody’s,” says Edna Mariñelarena, Assistant Vice President, Analyst in Moody's Global Infrastructure Finance Group. Mariñelarena covers a portfolio of regulated electric and gas utilities, interstate natural gas pipelines and power-generating companies, including waste-to-energy and nuclear.

As for her team, Mariñelarena describes them as a group of “extremely talented individuals who are not only passionate about the work we do, but also [about] sharing and teaching one another, which makes for a highly collaborative environment. It is truly a special environment that I know doesn’t exist everywhere.”

This collaborative spirit has allowed Mariñelarena to thrive and grow her career while staying at Moody’s. Read on to learn more about her career growth and her advice for advancing your own career.

Why did you first join Moody’s?

I started at Moody’s in 2011, right after I graduated from NYU Wagner. In my last semester, I took a debt finance course where I learned all about the rating agencies and, in particular, Moody’s role in the capital markets. I was a policy concentration major, and Moody’s interested me because I saw it as the intersection of finance, policy and politics — exactly what I was looking for. 

So, when I saw a job posting for an Associate Analyst within Moody’s US Public Finance Group, I jumped on the opportunity. Now, almost 11 years later, with four promotions and experience working in a variety of roles within the company, I’m still at the forefront of finance, policy and politics, a seat I’m still extremely excited to occupy. 

What has enabled you to develop your career without job-hopping?

Although I’ve moved around the company several times, I was promoted twice within one team. The key to advancement within your team is to ensure that you’re not only meeting your manager’s expectations — you’re exceeding them.

Having regular performance conversations with your manager is key to understanding what you’re doing well, what you can improve upon and what else you can do for your manager or team to enhance your experience and thereby grow into your next promotion. You are a resource to your manager and team. Don’t be afraid to ask what it will take to get promoted and hold your manager accountable, just as much as they hold you accountable for your performance. Working on a team is a relationship worth investing in just as much as it’s worth investing in yourself.

What excites you most about your role?

I started as an Associate Analyst within the Local Government ratings group, where I was responsible for covering ratings and research primarily in the Southeastern states. I really enjoyed working on the team; I was rating local entities, such as school districts, cities and counties, which were issuing bonds to finance a variety of projects that would either encourage economic development or improve upon the ongoing operations of the entity that would then translate to a better quality of life for residents. 

Since I studied public policy in grad school, getting to see how government entities executed their capital project programs was exciting. To see what cities and counties are doing for their residents was a policy major dream. 

Since 2019, I’ve worked on the Utilities Team covering a portfolio of both regulated and unregulated investor-owned utilities as well as intrastate natural gas pipelines and power-generating companies. I enjoy working in the utilities infrastructure industry because it’s fascinating to learn about not only how power is generated but the measures the industry is taking to decarbonize and produce electricity from cleaner fuels in a manner that can be affordable to every customer. 

I also managed a team of associate analysts in between ratings teams. I found managing rewarding because it allowed me the opportunity to grow my people skills. Being a manager is hard work, and I was thankful to Moody’s for investing in me by putting me through a rigorous managerial training program to support my success in the role. 

What’s something you’re especially good at at work?

I have high emotional intelligence and am a natural in social settings. This skill has helped me be successful in an otherwise dry field. A big part of my role is customer service, which means holding a lot of in-person meetings, either by hosting meetings at our offices, traveling to conferences or meeting with companies at their offices. I not only enjoy this high degree of people interaction, but I’m extremely good at managing meetings and conversations that support my analysis of the credit risk profile.

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?

The best quality of the best boss I’ve had was listening and meeting me where I was. Many times, when we go to a manager, they think we want them to magically fix the situation; however, in actuality, we want to be seen and heard. Help us by teaching us and guiding us how to overcome this obstacle; don’t just fix it for us. 

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?

I’ve been given a lot of career advice, but the piece that has stayed with me and become my mantra is that I’m ultimately the driver of my career. I’ll go as far as I can take myself. An employer will provide opportunities, but unless you prepare yourself for them, you won’t get too far. It’s a never-ending road — you invest daily in yourself and your career. 

You’ll always be learning and growing, as you should, because we live in an ever-changing world that requires us to adapt. So, don’t wait for someone to create an opportunity for you — go out there and make one for yourself! 

What’s something you think most people don’t know about Moody’s that they should? 

The value of volunteering within the many Business Resource Groups led by employees. Not only do these groups work to coordinate and plan events geared to supporting diversity and inclusion, but they also provide a great opportunity to network and meet people from all over the world (given the highly global nature of our company). Volunteering with these groups also helps you strengthen many skills that can be easily transferred to your day-to-day job function and advance in your career. 

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