New Associate Spotlight
Mar 22, 2022
Victory Park Capital has continued to deepen its bench of experienced investment professionals, adding several new team members in 2021.
We connect with three new Associates on the team – Patrick Liu, Adam Nelson and Natalie Pasicznyk – about their experience at VPC thus far, their proudest accomplishments since joining the firm, and their advice for young adults interested in a career in finance.
Tell us about your experience. What led you to VPC?
Liu: I have always been interested in investing, as I believe this interdisciplinary practice comes with the promise of an endless source of learning opportunities. During college, I spent time exploring various facets of the buy-side, including credit research and global macro investing. After graduation, I joined Greenhill’s Restructuring & Financing team, where I spent two years learning about stressed and distressed credit, as well as forming a broad understanding of the capital structure. I enjoyed learning about the nuances and complexity of credit, and found the ability to structure debt instruments in the private market to be particularly interesting, so VPC’s credit expertise and flexible investment mandate were very appealing to me.
Nelson: After graduating from college in 2018, I worked first in fixed income and later in private credit, focusing on restructurings and special situations. Both experiences were important in developing an investment skillset, but the latter cultivated my interest in alternative asset classes. After three years, I was interested in transitioning to a role focused on investments in earlier stage companies, as opposed to distressed investments.
Pasicznyk: I worked in the Houlihan Lokey restructuring group during my first two years after graduation. Knowing my experience in debt was a unique skillset, I was interested in a role that would allow me to focus on the opportunistic credit space, where investors can find high risk-adjusted returns with the right manager.
What attracted you to the firm? What was your first impression when you started?
Liu: My first impression of VPC was that it is an incredibly dynamic firm that has continuously expanded into new areas as novel opportunities arose from changing market conditions. Its focus on partnering with early-stage companies was also compelling to me and was an area I was eager to learn more about.
Nelson: Having previously worked for large, public financial institutions, I was interested in taking a position at a smaller firm where I would have exposure to different investment strategies, a fast-paced environment, and the ability to work with different teams. After joining VPC, I quickly noticed the firm’s strong culture and the amount of responsibility given to associates, which is something that many firms strive for but isn’t always the case.
Pasicznyk: I chose to work at VPC because of the team’s transparency about the areas in their investments and operations where they hoped to improve and learn more. Honesty and self-reflection are values that are important to me, especially in a professional environment. The first thing I noticed at VPC upon starting was how lively the office is. Much of our work is done over the phone, interacting directly with portfolio companies and prospects.
How has VPC helped your career development?
Liu: My experience so far has been nothing short of eye opening. I have been able to learn about a wide range of industries, understand the financing needs of various business models, and evaluate a number of investment opportunities. Being part of a supportive team of experienced investors and operators has made the journey incredibly rewarding so far.
Nelson: The amount of responsibility, ownership of the investment process, and exposure to interesting investment opportunities has been beneficial to my development. VPC often invests in companies that are driving innovation in their respective fields, such as fintech, e-commerce and real estate, so associates have the opportunity to get involved with businesses that are on the cutting edge of their industries.
Pasicznyk: When I communicate to Principals and VPs on my team that I can handle something, they believe me, and I’ve never been refused the opportunity to do the first draft of a term sheet or lead a call when I ask. And when I make a mistake or need to ask a question, our team understands the goal is not to be perfect – the goal is to be the best, and there is a learning curve to get there.
What are your proudest accomplishments since joining VPC?
Liu: Hopefully, the best has yet to come… Having had the chance to learn about over 20 companies spanning more than 10 industries during my first three months at VPC is something I have really enjoyed.
Nelson: I’m currently working on several active deals that have been fascinating and rewarding to be a part of. I find partnering with companies to help them grow gratifying, particularly when we are funding things like fintech products for people in developing countries that may not otherwise have access to modern financial services.
Pasicznyk: I’m very proud of the new responsibilities I’ve taken since joining VPC, such as presenting for the investment committee, explaining deal terms one-on-one with prospects and leading research into new industry verticals. I’m also proud of the team-building exercises I’ve gotten to experience since I joined the firm. I was a member of our Bump, Set, SPAC volleyball team, and from a bracket of 10+ teams throughout the Chicago area, we emerged victorious.
What does your typical day look like at VPC?
Liu: Generally speaking, responsibilities are divided between monitoring portfolio companies and evaluating new investment opportunities. The proportions shift day by day, so there is no typical day.
Nelson: While no two days are alike, my mornings are typically filled with various calls. We have standing internal portfolio updates, investment committee meetings, business development discussions, and portfolio company updates. The rest of the day is often spent analyzing prospective investments, writing investment memos, preparing reports for our investors, or working on business development initiatives, among many other things.
Pasicznyk: I wake up at 5 a.m., read and work out, and then get to work around 7:30 or 8. From there, my day-to-day varies greatly. I might spend the day emerged in a wind-down model, working with a company in the pipeline on diligence, drafting term sheets or chasing down paperwork to execute a transaction. However, what remains consistent is our team walk across the bridge on Randolph St. to get some fresh air and coffee midway through the afternoon.
What would your advice be to someone graduating from college who is interested in a career in finance?
Liu: The world is often larger and more diverse than what we perceive and imagine. I would encourage college students to keep an open mind and not settle for the path of least resistance. Keep exploring until vocation meets avocation, whether that is in the financial services industry or otherwise.
Nelson: Build a network starting in college, grow and maintain that network, and remember that networking is a two-way street. I often tap into my network from school and many former classmates are doing interesting things across finance, tech, engineering, nonprofits, etc. The network I began building in college has also led to job offers and opportunities that likely wouldn’t have otherwise materialized.
Pasicznyk: This is my greatest piece of advice for young women graduating from college with an interest in finance: never pretend to be interested in hobbies that you aren’t. I entered my first job on an all-male team with the misconception that I had to be similar to my team socially to excel professionally. I love my team at VPC because we are connected through the common goal of superior investor returns; our focus is on drafting the best term sheets for investors, not drafting the best fantasy leagues. I would also encourage anyone in college to reach out to me via LinkedIn for advice, introductions, etc. I am more than happy to support other young women who are interested in building a career path in finance.