Christopher Galle went to high school in Kennedale, TX, a small suburb of Fort Worth, and attended Texas Tech University on a Presidential Scholarship, where he began his studies in the business school - now the Rawls College of Business. Ultimately choosing economics as his first major, Galle found the course of study intellectually stimulating and believed the tenants that drove economic theory could be applied in life more generally. He liked how the framework for economics was transferable in almost all situations. After completing some finance classes, he decided to add a second major because, like economics, the classes were simultaneously challenging and interesting. Galle graduated magna cum laude in 2004 with a B.B.A. in honors studies, with dual majors in finance and economics.
After graduation, Galle moved back to Dallas, where he began searching for job opportunities and reached out to one finance professional he had met in Lubbock - Dory Wiley. Wiley, a Texas Tech graduate himself, was one of three partners at a small boutique investment bank in Dallas called SAMCO Capital Markets (now renamed Commerce Street Capital). Galle met Wiley during his senior year when he presented to the Student Managed Investment Fund class, and got his business card after the class.
Initially, he set a meeting up with Wiley intending to ask for advice on how to network in Dallas, but after talking with him and several of his colleagues, he offered Galle a position at SAMCO. Wiley said that the downside of the offer was that they would not be able to pay him much. However, Galle recognized that he would earn great experience, work with talented and knowledgeable professionals, and find support for his efforts to find a better job - if he ever needed to go on a job interview, Galle only needed to let his colleagues know. He accepted the position on the spot and worked for Wiley for the next six months.
After working in banking at SAMCO as an intern, Galle found a position at Lehman Brothers in the Dallas private equity office where he was hired as an analyst. He worked for Lehman in Dallas for 18 months until a position opened up in New York within the same group. When offered the opportunity to transfer, he accepted, moving to New York City in the summer of 2006.
Once in New York, Galle continued to focus on private equity investments, getting promoted from an analyst to an associate in early 2008. He worked at Lehman Brothers until the now-famous bankruptcy later that same year.
Luckily, prior to the bankruptcy, Galle had been actively applying to graduate schools to pursue a master's degree and - shortly after the Lehman bankruptcy - was accepted to Columbia Business School, where he matriculated and spent the next two years earning his MBA.
Realizing his interest in financial advisory, Galle actively recruited across Wall Street receiving a summer internship and, later, a full time position at Barclays. There, he went to work in the financial institutions coverage group providing financial and strategic advice to companies seeking opportunities to maximize value for their shareholders. For the last five years, he has worked as a coverage investment banker at Barclays, initially as an associate and now as vice president.
As an investment banker at Barclays, Galle has worked on a wide range of transactions, including buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions; IPOs; bond issuances; convertible debt issuances; follow-on equity offerings; and strategic advisory assignments.
When the topic of his undergraduate studies is mentioned in conversation, others are often surprised to hear that Galle spent four years in Lubbock. When he mentions Texas, people often assume that he went to other Texas state schools, and he is quick to correct them.
"New York has a thriving Texas Tech Alumni Association and, in fact, I met many of my earliest friends in NYC at football game watching parties held by the alumni group. Red Raiders work in a huge number of industries in New York including investment banking, corporate finance, advertising, marketing, investment management, theater and fashion, just to name a few. I am always impressed at the range of professions and the quality of people that make their way from Texas to the Big Apple," Galle said.
When asked what advice he has for Rawls College students who are thinking of pursuing an investment banking career, Galle provided the following advice:
- Decide early, start learning and start networking: You are at a geographic disadvantage in Lubbock and making connections will be a struggle, but if you talk with your professors and career management professionals early, they can help you connect. You also have to take the time to learn about investment banking, what it is, and how it works. Many Wall Street firms start identifying talented students during the sophomore or even freshmen years, so starting early is key.
- Utilize the resources available: In addition to the CMC and your professors, Texas Tech has a network of professionals that can help you. The alumni association might be of use as well as “off campus” resources like LinkedIn.
- New York Summer Program: Texas Tech is launching a summer “study abroad” program in New York City. Sign up and go!
- Get internships: That's the plural of internship. Don't expect to make things happen during your junior or senior year or, even worse, after graduation. Get summer internships and get them early. Investment banking internships are highly competitive. The top banks often get tens of thousands of applications every year for about 150 available spots. With each bank's on-campus recruitment efforts focused on a limited number of schools, you won't see them holding events at Rawls. This is why utilizing the resources mentioned above and differentiating yourself with good work experience and a strong network is key. Many firms also offer short programs for diverse students, including women. Apply to and attend programs like these if you're eligible, as they really help build your network and knowledge.