M.S. in Commerce 2011, University of Virginia
B.S. in Engineering 2010, Vanderbilt University
After: Rothschild, Global Financial Advisory Analyst (New York, NY)
Now: Coral Reef Capital, Vice President (New York, NY)
Leveraging engineering with business
I had always known that I wanted to be a part of the business world in some way, but knew that I lacked the core business classes, given my undergraduate engineering degree. For me, engineering was a great discipline and encouraged a unique way of thinking that was directly transferable to the business world, such as the ability to think analytically and embrace complexity. Because of this, financial firms are very attracted to engineers, but you must also prove that you are interested in pursuing a career in finance. The M.S. in Commerce Program allows you to bridge that gap and show recruiters that you are serious about pursuing a career in the business world.
Most memorable class: Corporate Finance
Professor Marston’s ability to introduce the basic concepts of finance was extraordinary. As someone with no finance or accounting background, I truly appreciated her ability to break down certain topics so that everyone was able to easily understand. While other classes may have had more interesting topics, Corporate Finance was very important for me prior to starting my first job in investment banking.
Preparation for a job in finance
A lot of the finance concepts taught in the M.S. Commerce Program are core building blocks that are necessary prior to taking a deeper dive into finance once on the job. A lot of the finance world is about knowing what concepts and theories exist. This graduate program does a good job of covering a wide array of topics so that once you are in the business world you have a basic understanding of what other areas of finance exist beyond your specific role.
The value of Commerce Career Services
Commerce Career Services certainly helped prepare me for interviews. In addition, the staff was very helpful in giving me a realistic outlook on the likelihood of landing first-round interviews with different companies.
Advice for future students
Treat every job interview as if the company was your top choice. Interviewers and recruiters can easily sense if they are your back-up option or if you are only taking the interview for practice. The finance community is very small too, so always be respectful and professional when networking or communicating with potential employers. Finally, always make an effort to see your professors outside of class. Many professors at McIntire have strong real-world experience and could potentially act as a resource when navigating your job search.
Importance of the Global Immersion Experience (GIE)
Given that I travel to Asia quite frequently for work, I am constantly being introduced to new cultures where business is conducted in a very different way compared with the United States. GIE helped me understand that business culture is very different depending on where you are in the world. What might be commonplace here in the United States may be considered rude in another country. For example, something as simple as how you present your business card can make a good or bad impression in many parts of Asia.
Most memorable GIE company visit
Ikea in Sweden was my most memorable GIE visit. It was not necessarily the scale of the company’s operations that impressed me, but rather its corporate culture. The company places a strong emphasis on taking care of its employees, and hearing this from management was very fulfilling.
Most memorable GIE cultural visit
Istanbul was truly unique. The call to prayer throughout the city was very memorable, and the mosques were also very impressive, especially at night.
Networking is very important. It is not only important for landing your first job, but also throughout your work career. Some of the best meetings are those where you find mutual contacts. This builds an immediate trust factor between two people and also gives you a way to find a credible reference if needed.
Life after graduate business school
I play in a tennis league here in New York City.