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Impact Portfolio ❯❯ Maxine Ezenwa

Maxine Ezenwa


Wells Fargo


Undergraduate: Texas State University


Career Prep 2025

From Health Science Major to Aspiring Trader: Maxine Ezenwa’s Inspiring Journey into Finance

By: Day Rankin 

Maxine Ezenwa's journey from a health science major to aspiring trader is a testament to the power of determination, coaching, and seizing opportunities. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Maxine is currently a junior at Texas State University. Her story is not just about pivoting and pursuing her passion for finance. It’s also about breaking barriers and inspiring others to take the leap and follow their unconventional career dreams.

Growing up with immigrant parents from Nigeria, Maxine faced unique challenges when it came to navigating the U.S. college system. 

Although my parents went to university, they didn't obtain a degree here inside the United States. So, with that, we did not know what target schools were. I did not know that some schools are more prestigious than others, because my parents were not familiar with that once they came to the United States.”

Maxine said her parents had high aspirations for her, pushing her towards traditionally prestigious careers like becoming a doctor. When it was time for her to go to college, she initially pursued a health science major with intentions on fulfilling those dreams.

As she progressed through her studies, Maxine's interests shifted. She realized that her true passion lay in finance, a field that wasn't even on her radar before. Her friend Michelle played a crucial role in this transformation, suggesting that Maxine explore finance. Michelle also recommended Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) as a potential pathway. 

MLT Career Prep Financial Services Internship Kick off event for New York City interns -summer 2024 MLT Career Prep Financial Services Internship Kick-off event for New York City interns - summer 2024.

I applied to MLT and I originally thought I was not going to get in because I'm not a finance or accounting major. And then when I got into MLT, I was like, okay, this is one stepping stone into finance.”

Though Maxine's journey into finance was unconventional, her dedication and willingness to learn has set her apart. In 2023, she joined MLT as a Career Prep Fellow. The experience helped her prepare for interviews and introduced her to the world of finance. Coach Jai Greenfield, an MLT coach with 15 years of experience in finance, became her mentor, guiding her through the complex nature of the industry.

Pivoting with Passion and Purpose 

One of Maxine's motivations going into the program was to increase diversity within finance, especially in trading. She noticed a lack of representation, particularly for Black women, and wanted to be a part of changing that. 

I started my own club here at my university. It's called Black Women in Markets. I teach women about finance and the different asset classes of the markets just to see if this is something that interests them. I started it because when I first started taking finance seriously, I noticed that a lot of the clubs that I'm in are not dedicated to women that look like me.”

Maxine is also on the executive board for the Financial Management Association at the university. Her goal is to become a trader, breaking stereotypes and paving the way for future generations of women in finance.

Within months of her MLT experience, Maxine landed internships at prestigious firms like PEAK6, a hedge fund in New York. There, she worked as a trading and investing intern. Her typical day involved high-level learning and professional development, financial modeling, and project work. Maxine said the internship experiences also taught her how to embrace the challenges of the corporate environment.

The culture is something that's really different than what I'm used to. It's really hands-on, but at the same time you're doing a lot on your own. While before, the majority of my experiences were always working in a team. Within finance, just being in a professional setting with people who are older than me or are different age groups–we're all considered Corporate America. That is just something that's different, but it’s a good different experience.”

Despite being a health science major, Maxine's determination and the support of the MLT network has opened doors in finance. The network of Fellows, Alums, coaches, and partners helped her secure opportunities and feel like she’s thriving on the right path. 

Maxine Ezenwa at Millennium Management’s New York City office. Maxine Ezenwa at Millennium Management’s New York City office.

Her Future is Finance

Looking forward, Maxine plans to continue her journey in finance. She has secured an internship at Wells Fargo for equities sales and trading. Her long-term aspirations include pursuing a career in trading, possibly on the buy side at a hedge fund. She also envisions giving back to the community by coaching and mentoring future students pursuing careers in finance.

Maxine's advice to aspiring students is to never underestimate the power of learning, stay humble, and be open to mentorship or career coaching. For MLTers, she also emphasizes the importance of the program assignments and the guidance of coaches who have been in the industry, as they provide valuable insights and real-world skills.

The assignments actually helped me out during my internship and the recruitment process. In one of the assignments, we practiced behavioral questions. A lot of internship interviews incorporated those behavioral questions. Another assignment focused on developing a personal brand and pitch. Sometimes at these networking events, if you want to speak to someone at a really nice firm, you may have two minutes or less to introduce yourself to them. So, working on the personal pitch assignments, it's like it's applicable to real life.”

In Maxine’s story, there is a fierce business leader who defied convention, followed her passion, and is determined to make a difference in an industry where diversity is needed. Her journey serves as an inspiration to all those who dare to chase their dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem.

This content has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Published in 2023

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