Trevor Oliff

M.S. in Commerce 2011 (Finance), University of Virginia

B.A. in Economics 2010, University of Wisconsin-Madison

After: Eastdil Secured/Wells Fargo Securities, Investment Banking Analyst (Chicago, IL)

Now: Greenfield Partners, Vice President (Chicago, IL)

Economics within a business context

I studied economics at the University of Wisconsin. Many concepts covered in our finance and accounting courses in the M.S. in Commerce Program were familiar, as I had seen them in during undergrad. But the value of the M.S. in Commerce Program was in learning how all of these topics are applied. Understanding various terminology, methods, and historical facts only gets you so far. When you are able to understand and then apply this knowledge in a business context, it makes all the difference.

Preparation for a job in finance

The Financial Services track was pretty rigorous. I learned a lot about work ethic, which was extremely useful when I started out in investment banking. Additionally, the open-discussion structure of many courses within the program forced me to think outside the box and continually challenged all of us to grasp information in a way we never had previously.

The value of Commerce Career Services

Commerce Career Services was with me from day one. I was always impressed with the ability of the staff to take a personalized approach to my job search. I took advantage of all coffee networking sessions and resume reviews. I think you cut yourself short by not taking advantage of the many opportunities Commerce Career Services provides.

Advice for a career in investment banking or private equity

As it relates to investment banking and/or private equity, experience is always extremely important. Internships are the best route, and I highly recommend doing an internship before the M.S. in Commerce Program. Additionally, read The Wall Street Journal and any news outlets that pertain to your specific field within finance, as current events are always a great talking point for interviews and life in general.

Favorite Global Immersion company visit

Procter & Gamble in Singapore was my most memorable company visit. I think we were all amazed by the sheer amount of data the company is able to collect and how this aggregation was P&G’s single largest competitive advantage.

Take time to explore Charlottesville

If you did not attend UVA as an undergrad, like myself, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the culture while you are there. Charlottesville is an amazing community, and after only 10 months on Grounds, I felt as connected (if not more) to the University than to my undergraduate university.

Life after graduate school

I recently started working with a nonprofit organization here in Chicago that helps young single mothers find jobs that can support their families through improved networking skills and resume-building workshops. Outside of that, I am doing my best to enjoy the three months of good weather in Chicago!