Eric Morales ‘02, Relationship Manager in the Central Virginia Region of M&T Bank, is a living example of the advice he gave to approximately 80 sophomores and juniors in the Robins School of Business at this year’s Q Camp.
“Q Camp is something I wish I had an opportunity to go through. Having worked in multiple areas of finance, I wanted to share the knowledge that I’ve gained over the past several years,” he said.
Upon graduating in 2002 with a major in business administration, Morales embarked on a career in finance with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in Hartford, Conn.  
“I came through a management development program called the financial leadership program.  It was a program where you cycle through four 6-month rotations within different business units and different areas of finance,” according to him.
From there, Morales transitioned to a corporate development role at UTC’s newly started Fire & Security business and focused  on mergers and acquisitions, where he was instrumental in building the division to over a $6 billion a year business, working on deals of all sizes including the acquisitions of Kidde, Initial Electronic Security Group, Lenel, and multiple others.
Just a few, short years out of the Robins School, Morales found himself pulling his own weight on this small team which completed approximately $5 billion in acquisitions during his time with the organization.  
“The Robins School really prepared me for that role [with UTC], because there’s such depth in finance coursework here.  I was well-prepared to build models and do the financial and strategic analysis needed when putting together multi-billion dollar acquisitions.”
Many of the members in the firm’s corporate development team that Morales looked up to had MBA degrees.   This influence, in conjunction with Morales’ realization that he was ready for a career move, spurred him into attending Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, where he received an MBA degree in 2009.
After graduating from Dartmouth, Morales accepted a position locally with Richmond-based investment bank Harris Williams & Co. focusing on sell-side mergers and acquisition advisory to middle market companies.  Morales worked at Harris Williams for a year before making the decision to transition to commercial banking, a field more tailored to his interests and long-term career goals.
In August of this past year, he accepted the position of Middle Market Relationship Manager in the Central Virginia Region for M&T Bank, which entered the Richmond market in mid-2009 through the acquisition of Provident Bankshares.  
At M&T, Morales derives his passion from helping business owners achieve their goals.  “I love working with middle market companies, because I’m typically partnering with the actual people who started the organization.  If I’m good at my job, that enables both the organization and the entrepreneurs to be more successful and to ultimately exceed their financial goals,” he said.
Another aspect of his position that attracted Morales to M&T was the opportunity for entrepreneurism and to build the organization.  M&T Bank, a large, nationally-recognized bank, is comprised of fifteen “Community Banking Regions” of which Central Virginia is the smallest.
 “I like the challenge of being able to build an organization, to do something that is more entrepreneurial than what I’ve done in the past.”
Morales considers himself to be in a unique spot.  

In the nine years since he left the Robins School of Business, Eric Morales, ’02, has weaved a career path through investment banking and corporate mergers and acquisitions, finding his way to commercial banking. Now, as a relationship manager for M&T Bank, he works with many of central Virginia’s entrepreneurs. 

After graduating from the University of Richmond with a degree in business administration, Morales joined the finance industry with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in Hartford, Conn. He went through their financial leadership program, a management development opportunity. “It was a program where you cycle through four six-month rotations within different business units and different areas of finance,” he explains. 

From this program, Morales transitioned to a corporate development role at UTC’s newly started Fire & Security business (formerly Chubb), where he focused on mergers and acquisitions. He was instrumental in building the division to a $6 billion-a-year business, working on deals of all sizes, including the acquisitions of Kidde, Initial Electronic Security Group, Lenel, and multiple other companies.

He was just a few years out of the Robins School when he found himself pulling his own weight on this small team, which completed approximately $5 billion in acquisitions during his time with the organization.

“The Robins School really prepared me for that role [with UTC], because there’s such depth in finance coursework here,” he says. “I was well-prepared to build models and do the financial and strategic analysis needed when putting together multi-billion dollar acquisitions.”

Within the firm’s corporate development team, Morales looked up to many colleagues with MBA degrees. This influence, in conjunction with Morales’ realization that he was ready for a career move, spurred him to attend Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, where he received his MBA degree in 2009.

After graduating from Dartmouth, Morales accepted a position with Richmond-based investment bank Harris Williams & Co., focusing on sell-side mergers and acquisition advisory to middle-market companies. Morales worked at Harris Williams for a year before making the decision to transition to commercial banking, a field more tailored to his interests and long-term career goals.

In August 2011, he accepted a position as a middle-market relationship manager in the central Virginia region for M&T Bank, which entered the Richmond market in mid-2009 through the acquisition of Provident Bankshares.  

At M&T, his passion is helping business owners achieve their goals. “I love working with middle-market companies, because I’m typically partnering with the actual people who started the organization,” he says. “If I’m good at my job, that enables both the organization and the entrepreneurs to be more successful and to ultimately exceed their financial goals.” 

Another aspect of his position that attracted Morales to M&T was the opportunity for entrepreneurship through building the regional organization. M&T Bank, a large, nationally recognized bank, is comprised of 15 “community banking regions,” of which central Virginia is the smallest.

“I like the challenge of being able to build an organization, to do something that is more entrepreneurial than what I’ve done in the past,” he says.

Now, Morales considers himself to be in a unique spot.  

“I had the opportunity to transfer into commercial banking, working to build an organization supported by a larger, well-run and well-capitalized bank that’s supporting everything [we] do in a market where [we] have little market share.”

His five-year goal is to help establish M&T as a major player in the central Virginia market and further establish brand awareness in the region. “I want M&T to be on the short list of banks for CFOs and CEOs to consider when looking for a financial institution.”

When Morales spoke to approximately 80 sophomores and juniors in the Robins School at this year’s Q Camp, he drew on his experience from many areas of finance and encouraged them to find the right fit within the field. “There are a lot of options on a finance career path,” he advised. “So if you’re true to yourself and go after the type of career you are most passionate about, then the sky’s the limit.”