Charlie Forbes is someone who has always enjoyed connecting the dots.
“Understanding what’s going on in the world and how different events all connect is an overarching passion of mine,” Charlie says. “I have a curiosity about the world and how things work.”
Growing up, Charlie loved numbers: thinking about them, working with them, analyzing them. At the same time, he started developing a deep interest in current events and public policy. He found finance was a perfect blend of his two interests—and made for the perfect major at the Wisconsin School of Business.
“It allowed me to take a quantitative analysis perspective when looking at important issues in the world,” he says. “I saw I could use that to impact a lot of people, a lot of businesses, and really try to learn as much as I can about the world.”
A fourth-generation Badger, Charlie hit the ground running when he enrolled at UW–Madison. In addition to finance, he picked up a political science major and also joined the Investment Banking Club and the Capital Management Club—two student organizations he’d later lead and grow as president. Under his leadership, the Investment Banking Club added a diversity chair to the board to create a more inclusive organization and nearly doubled club members’ placement rate in investment banking positions.
He also got hands-on experience through a variety of internships, including an investment banking position with Rothschild & Co. The internships gave him experience on Wall Street and beyond, but also put him in touch with Badger grads working in finance—people he could lean on for advice, guidance, and the occasional helping hand.
“There’s something special about the Badger network,” he says. “If there’s a Wisconsin person somewhere, they will go to bat for another Badger.”
At Rothschild, Charlie worked on a variety of projects, including an energy deal that got him thinking about how the power of business could be harnessed to create positive social change. Having grown up with parents who instilled a “do good” philosophy in him, he quickly saw where he wanted his career to go.
“I think one of the more exciting parts of finance is that while you’re obviously working to maximize your clients’ or investors’ returns, you’re also able to put capital to use in a way that has a positive impact on the world,” he says. “Being in a position of allocating that capital and advising on really important transactions is very unique because of the large-scale impact that you can have. That’s what excites me about finance moving forward in the future.”
As Charlie prepares to cement his position on Wall Street, one thing is clear: He’ll use his talents for good. And when he does, he hopes to be able to bring future Badgers along with him.
“I’ve been granted a wonderful opportunity, especially here at Wisconsin,” he says. “I want to set students up for success as much as I was, or even more, and give them as many opportunities as possible.”
Who inspires you?
The late Tommy Costello (BBA ’19), an alum who graduated about four years before me. He worked at Rothschild and was someone who always was willing to pick up the phone and talk with me. He has inspired me to help as many people as I can.
What's your go-to running playlist?
I rotate it frequently, but it always has some Tom Petty, OneRepublic, and Imagine Dragons.
What do you like to do for fun?
Watch the Green Bay Packers! My favorite Packer of all time is Donald Driver for his great performances for years at wide receiver and his gregarious personality off the field.