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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Mary Childs '08

Headshot of Mary Childs '08Most Memorable Class: Reporting on business, natch. Also my independent studies.

Current Job: Credit derivatives reporter at Bloomberg News, New York

Current Life: I live in New York and write a daily column about credit-default swaps. I also pretend to be a professional artist by maintaining a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn and running around town trying to show my work.

Latest Accomplishment: I was on Bloomberg TV last month for a story I wrote on CDS on companies like Campbell's and ConAgra rising on record food inflation. I'm also psyched for my two art shows in NY this spring.

Where I'll Be in Ten Years: God only knows. Here? Bombay? Paris?

Last Book Read: "A Super Sad True Love Story"

Last Movie Seen: "Social Network." Was it supposed to be inspirational? I want to invent something.

Favorite Quote: "Nothing happens automatically" - Scott Dittman. My senior year when something I thought at the registrar's office was automated was not, I was fined, and when I tried to be obnoxious about it, Scott emailed me that no, it wasn't automated, nothing is automated, and that e-mail changed my life.

Why I Do What I Do: I love my job because I get to talk to absurdly smart people every day and I'm authorized, if not encouraged, to ask dumb questions. The CDS market is fun to report on because it's super opaque, but also dynamic and in flux with all the regulation - there's always plenty to write about. And my wonderful job finances my studio in Brooklyn and trips to India.

If I Could Do It All Over Again: I would get out more often. I have a rule that I have to leave New York every six weeks or so to remember that it is a little echo chamber, where the importance of things gets skewed. I was shocked this fall when Prof. Wasserman told me not everyone was battling over whether Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" was the greatest novel of all time. It was so important in Manhattan to have formed an opinion and to be ready to discuss it at length over a cocktail or fisticuffs. That someone could just not care blew my mind. You can get stuck in places; for me, it's important to get out and get my priorities back in alignment.