Two Minutes With Harrison Ameen

The pandemic’s influence on consumer sectors has been profound. Early on, consumers were stockpiling anything that was a household staple, such as toilet paper and disinfectant.
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What trends are you looking at in your sectors?


The pandemic’s influence on consumer sectors has been profound. Early on, consumers were stockpiling anything that was a household staple, such as toilet paper and disinfectant. Every major retailer experienced stockouts on the shelves; supply chains couldn’t keep up with demand. Stores are finally restocking most of their supplies, despite consumers’ persistent demand. While many customers are still consuming meals at home, more and more are embracing restaurant dining.


How do you evaluate your sectors?


I cover a myriad of consumer sectors, so my analysis considers a wide range of factors. For all consumer sectors, it’s important to evaluate key economic indicators such as GDP and unemployment. Prior to the pandemic, several food and beverage companies used mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to try to prevent declining trends. That M&A wave has suddenly faded. So much has changed so quickly. For example, popular coffee shops, which once targeted urban locations, are now focused on drive-through service in the suburbs. There’s been a pronounced shift in consumer preferences.


What do you enjoy most about working at IR+M?


From day one, I felt like a trusted member of the team. I was fortunate to have the support of the other analysts in “investment row,” which only strengthened once we started working from home. The “all hands on deck” attitude is pervasive. I also love that we’re incredibly involved in the community. Before COVID, IR+Mers would meet at Harvard Stadium, spend an hour running the stairs for charity, and then race into the office for a credit meeting. Although it will be virtual this year, we’re hosting our seventh annual Week of Giving in September. During this week, we’ll raise money for various charities, volunteer remotely (if possible), and sponsor an employee granting contest. At IR+M, you really can do it all.


How do you collaborate in your team and across teams?


The pandemic has changed our method of communication, but not our frequency. Every morning, the Credit Analysts check in with each other using Microsoft Teams. We outline the day’s priorities, discuss the new issue calendar, and dissect headlines. Throughout the day, we reach out to each other for peer reviews on tear sheets or credit reports. We quickly discovered that it was much more efficient – and fun – for us to have live conversations instead of drafting lengthy emails. At IR+M, we used to say that we meet by swivel chair. Now, we meet by Microsoft Teams. While we miss the in-person interaction and banter, the transition to working from home has been a seamless one.


What do you do in your free time?


I love being active, and my activities vary according to the season. I used to be an avid snowboarder, but two years ago, I transitioned to skiing. In the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to venture out west and experience those conditions. In the warmer months, I enjoy golfing and going on long runs. I recently joined the spinning craze, which has been awesome for staying in shape and relieving stress. For the last two years, I’ve been enrolled in the MBA program at Boston College. I have four classes remaining, and I will graduate in May 2021.


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