How Igor Cornelsen Turned An Engineering Degree Into Financial Sector Success

Investing is difficult. It takes money, too. Most people would have to donate 1/3rd of each days wages, if not even longer, working for the funds. But Igor Cornelsen managed to find a way to break through.

Investing in Brazil's financial markets is even more difficult. Especially when compared to the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Given this reality, most American investors stay away from the markets of Brazil. Many Brazilians aren't particularly impressed by their native country's financial markets, and seek out investing elsewhere.

Some people are able to navigate both countries' securities markets with success on a consistent basis. One member of that thin population is Mr. Igor Cornelsen.

Who is Igor Cornelsen?

Mr. Cornelsen was born in 1947 in Curitiba, Brazil, making him a ripe 70 years old today, in April 2018. At the age of 18, with the staunch support - some would argue he was forced to go - of his father, the young Igor enrolled in the engineering program at the Federal University of Parana, one of the finest universities within a reasonable distance of Igor's hometown.

Back then, in 1965, the Federal University of Parana was the only school of engineering in all of Parana - Parana is a state in Brazil - making admissions highly competitive.

With his father finally accepting the fact that young Igor likely wasn't truly interested in engineering, combined with Igor's newfound interest in business - particularly finance - Mr. Cornelsen enrolled in the economics program at FUP.

Though it took Igor five years to finally earn a bachelor's degree, at least he could be proud that he had a certifiable degree in a topic that truly interested him. Not just one degree, but two: one in economics, one in engineering.

And his career takes off...

Although it might not make sense at first glance, the young Igor Cornelsen found employment at a financial institution. Even though he started work as an engineer, as compared to a businessperson or economist. Back in 1970 in Brazil, engineers were typically tapped up by banks because of their math expertise. Engineering equations are incredibly complex, and require a high level of skill with mental mathematics. This made them the perfect accounting record keepers, and many Brazil banks used them as such. There were no calculators or computers...who else was going to add all those big numbers?

Go figure, huh?

In 1974, just four years after entering the workforce, he was named a member of Multibanco's board of directors. Igor's success continued to accelerate, as he was soon named chief executive officer of Multibanco in 1976.

Multibanco goes "bye-bye"

Bank of America, then interested in becoming the bank of more than just the United States, assumed ownership of Multibanco in 1978. Due to immediate corporate restructuring, Igor found himself out of work. Not because he wasn't the right fit. But because mergers and acquisitions often eliminate a fair portion of positions within the new organizations they form.

Quickly moving on from his layoff from what used to be Multibanco, Mr. Cornelsen found a position at Unibanco - today, after a merger with a fellow Brazilian bank, it stands as the largest bank in all of Brazil - as an investment analyst.

Although unplanned, Igor gains experience in American financial markets

A common issue faced by investors hoping to get their proverbial feet wet in other countries' financial markets is having to swap currencies for whatever currency is accepted by the foreign financial market.

Although Igor had long known of the potential in the markets of North America - particularly the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange, both of which are still two of the hottest markets across all of planet Earth - he had never bothered venturing outside of those in Brazil due to problems with currency exchange rates.

After leaving Unibanco in 1985, Igor found a position at Libra Bank PLC. Because it was a subsidiary of London Merchant Bank, the financial institution paid its employees in United States Dollars.

Even though he faced some difficulties in placing investments in the NYSE and NASDAQ, simply having U.S. Dollars on hand facilitated a quick, easy, seamless transition into the world of investing in the United States. Still very much interested in the markets of his home country of Brazil, Mr. Cornelsen played the stock markets of both countries - both those of Brazil and America.

Moving up the ladder

After a few years at the London Merchant Bank subsidiary, Igor found himself working for the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank, ascending to the lofty ranks of the board of directors. He also became the leading representative of the London-based bank in Brazil, today the fifth-most populated country on planet Earth.

In 1995, Igor finally branched off from the corporate routines he became so familiar with over the previous three decades and decided to found his very own investment firm.

Considering the fact that Igor Cornelsen had then been investing in Brazil since 1971, and managing portfolios in the United States for a full decade, he had all the experience necessary to independent success under his belt.


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