A 20-year-old first-gen college student with dwarfism shares how he landed an investment-banking job at Credit Suisse - and didn't let a disability stand in his way

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A 20-year-old first-gen college student with dwarfism shares how he landed an investment-banking job at Credit Suisse - and didn't let a disability stand in his way
Kevin Truong, 20, is set to join Credit Suisse as an investment-banking analyst next year. Courtesy of Kevin Truong
  • Kevin Truong, 20, has lived with dwarfism since age of 5. His mother and sister share the condition.
  • Truong is now a first-generation college student attending the University of California, Berkeley.
  • He revealed that he's going to work for investment bank Credit Suisse in a now-viral LinkedIn post.

Kevin Truong was diagnosed with dwarfism at age 5.

The native of Stockton, California, shares the condition with his mother and sister, who is currently a junior in high school.

"I got my fair share of people teasing me, asking why am I shorter than them," Truong said in a recent interview with Insider. "In my early years, it was quite tough," both physically and socially with other kids at school.

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Truong, 20, comes from humble means. His parents are Vietnamese immigrants. His mother has largely stayed out of the workforce, he said, and his father is a professional landscaper and gardener. Vacations, generally, were an unfamiliar concept growing up, and some of his earliest memories of being on an airplane came when he participated in diversity-recruiting initiatives in college.

He attends the University of California, Berkeley, where he's now a senior studying business, thanks to roughly $30,000 in scholarships and tuition grants that he estimated he receives each year.

At Berkeley, Truong got his first taste of Wall Street through membership in Capital Investments, the school's student-run investment fund. By the end of his first semester as a freshman, he'd begun the process of applying to a number of Wall Street banks' internship programs, aiming to line one up for the summer after his sophomore year.

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Just one firm reached back out to set up an interview: Credit Suisse. Truong was determined not to let the opportunity slip away.

The journey to Wall Street

Through a diversity-recruiting program at Credit Suisse, Truong ultimately partook in two internships at the firm. At the conclusion of his most recent internship this past summer, he received a return offer to join its technology investment-banking coverage group after he graduates Berkeley next year.

He revealed the news in a now-viral post on LinkedIn earlier this month. It had garnered more than 66,000 reactions - mostly a mix of thumbs-up, hearts, and applause - as of mid-September.

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"Three years ago when I came to Cal, I was fearful about how someone like me, a first generation college student from a low income background with no connections and no experience in the business world, could make it in a world seemingly dominated by students with vast networks and stellar resumes," he wrote.

"Today, I am happy to say I proved myself wrong."

For people with disabilities, finding employment can be a challenge

People living with disabilities continue to be marginalized in a variety of industries.

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Just under 18% of people in the US who live with disabilities were employed in 2020, down slightly from the year before, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report published in February. Individuals living with a disability are likelier to work in service-oriented fields, the BLS said, and as many as a third work part-time.

It's no different on Wall Street, which has long struggled to diversify its ranks. Indeed, just one disabled- and woman-owned floor broker operates on the New York Stock Exchange, CNBC reported earlier this month.

"Unfortunately I haven't met anyone in the finance community that has dwarfism," Truong said. "We're definitely still very much a minority."

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Eventually, Truong hopes to pursue a role as an impact investor. Investing in social causes would enable him to expand on the work he's done as an advising fellow with the Berkeley chapter of Matriculate, a nonprofit organization that supports students from low-income backgrounds in applying to universities.

When Truong joins Credit Suisse after graduation, he'll be on track to earn a starting salary of $100,000 before bonus. He'd like to experience travel, and a visit to his parents' homeland of Vietnam is high on his list.

"I know my sister personally has always wanted to go to Hawaii," he added. "I hope to take her there sometime in the next few years."

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Visits to Vietnam or Hawaii notwithstanding, though, Truong is traversing a different road now: the journey to Wall Street. He is adamant that no obstacle will prevent him from getting there.

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