From Hoops to Stocks: Tyler Bernardini on Transitioning from Basketball to Finance

Thu 4th May 2023

A candidate success story : Tyler Bernardini, former professional athlete, is currently a Vice President at Morgan Stanley. His role is in Emerging Markets, with a specific focus in assisting UK based institutional clients.

Bernardini studied at both the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Loughborough. He played professional basketball both in Italy and the UK, retiring in 2018 having captained the Leicester Riders to a record three League Championships.

In 2018, with the help of add-victor, he landed his first job with Morgan Stanley. We met with Tyler to discuss his success, the role of his sporting past in his current career and his future goals.

Sport Shaping Bernardini As A Person And Professional

Bernardini started playing basketball because it was a sport he enjoyed and a chance to spend time with his friends. As he got older, he began to take the sport more seriously, basketball stopped being purely a pastime but a competitive extracurricular activity. Therefore, through sport, he could navigate his academic life: I was able to find a path that allowed basketball to influence other parts of my life, that helped me to further my academic pursuits”. Aside from the physical skills of shooting or dribbling, basketball shaped his mind-set, establishing a mentality of perseverance, determination, competitiveness and of course, teamwork. These values are now fundamental to his career and personal life as a parent and husband.

Tyler Bernardini during interview
Photo taken during our interview with Bernardini, on the trading floor

"The type of skillset that you develop as an athlete goes far beyond the four lines of your competitive kind of arena, it develops you as a person"

Moving From Court Tactics To Financial Expertise: The Lessons From Basketball That Bernardini Has Utilised...

At different stages in Bernardini’s career, different lessons from basketball have come in handy. During his early days at Morgan Stanley it was the non-stop work, the getting up early and staying in late; all the nitty gritty to get yourself up the curve. Bernardini remarked how coming into a career at twenty-nine was hard when all his co-workers were younger. Yet, the determined attitude of a professional athlete allowed him to keep pushing and always stay on top. Bernardini used the analogy of injury in the sports world; the notion of having to catch up with the rest of your teammates post-injury. For Bernardini, it was also about perseverance and getting back on track after disappointment. He learnt to treat his colleagues like teammates, building sustainable relationships and growing not only as an individual but as a group.

I want to win; I want to be a champion” – What Drives Tyler Bernardini? 

Bernardini has always strived to be the best he can, it is part of his nature. He sees himself as particularly meticulous in many ways; how he folds his clothes, how he makes breakfast but most significantly, how he finds the best way to complete a task. Just like a set play in basketball, he will think about a task and figure out the best way to tackle it, then only do it that way until he discovers an even better solution.

 “If my goal is to be the very best salesperson in Emerging Markets, then I'll get there. That's my goal every day: to be the very best. When I wake up, I think, how can I be the best father to my son? How can I be the best husband to my wife? How can I be the best version of myself? Then I go out and try and do that.”

“Ok, That Didn’t Work Out. How Can I Be Better?” Advice On Transitioning From Sport To A New Career

Bernardini’s main piece of advice is to never be discouraged by short- term setbacks. Experiencing disappointment is inevitable on the path to success; what matters is how to approach it as a learning opportunity. When faced with unsuccessful job applications, Bernardini learnt to see failure as a chance to learn about another business, another role and to find the right fit for his personality. Indeed, Bernardini stressed that finding the right cultural job for you as a person is invaluable. A lot of your time will be spent with colleagues, so make sure you see yourself slotting into the environment.

Tyler Bernardini also advises to see every task as a platform, as a means of progression. For him, basketball was a platform to create something bigger in the future, an opportunity for him to meet new people and be in an institution which excels in several different avenues. Basketball allowed him to become a well-rounded individual outside of sport.

As for student-athletes, Bernardini emphasises the importance of studying hard. “The more successful you are in school, the more opportunities you will have outside of it”. Above all, Bernardini recommends that students enjoy their time in education. “What is it you want? What do you want to explore? Take every opportunity, even one that may be a subsidiary of your end goal, because once life changes, it will be harder”

Tyler Bernardini’s next step is to move to New York. In his role, he will be working closely with US Institutional Investors as he focuses on selling themes within Latin America. Being American, this move will mean being back in his own country and closer to home. He is grateful to work for such an international company which shallows such geographical opportunities. I am ready to go to a new place, learn, develop and one day run my own team”.


Christina Elliot