Name: Brian Hall
Branch: Air Force
Job Field: Finance
Title: Commodities Product Controller at Morgan Stanley
Editor’s note: Morgan Stanley, where the subject of this profile is employed, is a Hirepurpose client, in an effort to find qualified veterans to fill their job openings.
Brian Hall, a nine-year veteran of the Air Force, works as a financial commodities controller with Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York. He spoke exclusively with Task & Purpose about his path from mission planner in the Air Force to financial analyst at Morgan Stanley.
His service in the Air Force
“My choice to join the military was by far the best decision I have ever made,” Hall said. “The life lessons I gained from my military experience helped to mold me into the person I am today.”
Hall served as a mission planner for C-17 Globemasters and C-5 Galaxies, hulking cargo planes critical to meeting the logistical demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his nine years of service fell right in line with when those conflicts were at their peak.
“Highlights include helping to plan the first Operation Iraqi Freedom C-5 mission into country under darkness of night, serving as our unit deployment manager preparing and training our troops for over 1,000 deployments around the world to ensure they were equipped to accomplish the mission, and planning our highest priority missions supporting the President of the United States,” Hall said.
Transitioning out of the military
By the time he wrapped up his service in the Air Force in 2007, Hall had an associate degree in operations resource management from the Community College of the Air Force.
“I began taking college classes in 2001 just a few years after joining the military. My goal at the time was to complete my Associates and Bachelors Degree while I was in the military,” Hall said. “However, as many of our fellow veterans know the mission always had to move forward so that meant putting education on the backburner at times.”
Having been stationed at Dover Air Force Base, and a Pennsylvania native, Hall stayed in the Delaware and tried to work and go to school full-time. But balancing work and school proved to be too much.
“It had always been my dream to attend Penn State University and in August 2011, I decided to move back to [Pennsylvania] to pursue this dream,” he told Task & Purpose.
“My Penn State experience was beyond amazing,” he added. He graduated in December 2013 with a bachelor's in business with distinction.
“Penn State not only provided me with a great education needed to enter my current career, but provided me with the opportunities and experiences that allowed me to grow as a leader,” Hall said. “The largest educational contribution to my current career was my involvement with the Student Veterans of America. I served as Penn State Mont Alto’s President of our Student Veterans Association during my time at the campus.”
Getting into finance
Hall’s role with Student Veterans of America led him to Morgan Stanley.
“Back in November 2012, SVA sent out an email with a flier for an ‘Early Insights’ program sponsored by Morgan Stanley in [New York City],” Hall said. “I applied for this program after receiving the flier and that month traveled to NYC to participate in a financial services career and networking session with the Firm.”
The program led Hall to apply for an internship as a summer analyst at Morgan Stanley. “During the internship I was provided with duties and tasks vital to the success of the project my team was working on at that time, and the overall firm,” Hall said.
At the end of the summer internship, Morgan Stanley told Hall that they wanted him to come on board for a full-time position starting in 2014.
How being a veteran got him to where he is today
Hall now works as commodities product controller for Morgan Stanley.
“In this role, I estimate and report daily for the natural gas and electricity trading desks and assist with all month end close processes, including balance sheet substantiation, revenue and expense signoff, and revenue reconciliation. I am responsible for analyzing new trading activity and have frequent interaction with commodities traders to evaluate trading activity and results,” Hall said.
But he said none of it would have been possible without Student Veterans of America and his military experience.
“I truly believe none of this would have happened without the support of SVA and Penn State and it is evident a great education can and will lead to a successful career with hard work and dedication,” he said.
He also said that he constantly draws on the lessons learned from his time in uniform.
“In the military, I was able to be a member of one of the greatest teams. A team where we looked after one another as individuals, celebrated successes, and lifted each other up in the challenging times,” Hall said. “These are the very lessons I carry forward with me as I now embark on a new and exciting career in leading by example, living life in the front row, and engaging in many more amazing opportunities and experiences.”