Quant-focused: Under the Radar I-Banks

Typical of anyone that has a blog, I created mine based on this idea about the distinctly different categories of people that go to an MBA program, a Poet and a Quant. Not having a depth of experience like many of my peers that were working in accounting firms, engineering companies, or the like, I thought the alliteration “notquiteaquant” would be quite hilarious.

As I have gone through school I have realized how much I enjoy my quant classes – no matter the amount of hair-pulling that occurs.

Because of this, I am going to start posting a “Quant-focused” article as often as possible. When I see something interesting, or to talk about Quant-related MBA topics.

Just today I found this article on P&Q. They discuss Seven Under the Radar I-Banks that many MBAs at elite schools may overlook. Honestly, P&Q will do a better job than me when discussing the intricacies of I-Banking, but I wanted to share for those people that are interested in learning more.

While they discuss starting salaries, diversity, hours worked per week, and advancement opportunities, P&Q also mentions the idea that there is more to do and be outside of the Big I-Banks that all MBAs seek to pursue.

It is getting to that point where internships are ending and job offers start being sent out to MBAs entering their second year, so this article was aptly posted to their site.

This idea of not landing a stellar job in the company of your choice goes back to a conversation I had recently that diverges from the “grow where planted” mentality. One person talked about bouncing around at jobs she didn’t really like, but when she found the job she wanted she talked about it like this: “But when I landed, I landed well.”

Looking at future career changers and climbers I look back to that turn of phrase. I am glad that not everyone has to grow where planted because it isn’t always for them. But it is also equally important to stay when you get that opportunity that is crafted especially for you. I hope that my colleagues that get a offer at one of the Seven I-Banks mentioned in the article don’t mourn over the loss of that Goldman Sachs job, but instead make the decision that they are going to do some amazing things in the company that chose them.

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Exam Weekend

This is the second weekend available for me to take my Quarter 6 exams. I haven’t actually taken any exams and my essays are still in the draft stage. The pressure is on. I did this to myself.

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(Note: For the Executive MBA program they release exams on Friday at 5 pm on the first weekend and they are due by midnight on Sunday of the following weekend.)

I have attempted exams various different ways:

  1. Splitting them up over both weekends
  2. Taking them all during the first weekend
  3. Taking them all during the second weekend
  4. Taking time over the whole week to take the exams (usually includes me taking a half day at work)

Last quarter, I did them all over the last weekend. It wasn’t pleasant. Three 5-hour exams from Friday after work to Sunday at midnight is not the best plan. I finished by about 8 pm on Sunday. Tired. Dazed. (and maybe a little confused.) But I did actually get good grades for the classes so all was well.

How did I do that, you say?

  1. I live alone
  2. On Friday Afternoon I did all my errands for the weekend and stopped at a grocery store to get my supplies for the weekend (eggs, juice, a few Dr. Pepper’s for the caffeine, snacks, fruit)
  3. Got home on Friday.
  4. Didn’t leave my apartment until I was done with exams on Sunday.

Yes. That is right, I didn’t leave my apartment. I put myself under house arrest, intentionally.

I don’t necessarily recommend this to anyone, however, in the middle of summer, when all you want to do is be outside and enjoying the beautiful weather, the last thing that you want to do is leave the apartment. I know it would be difficult to return.

So that is what I am doing this weekend. The clock is ticking and I have things to complete, but I can only procrastinate so much, there is a deadline I must adhere to.

Maybe I just like the pressure cooker situations.

Pre-Course Overload

I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the required training that all students must take when enrolling in UVA for classes. Of course, this is all about liabilities and ensuring that the school has adequately informed its students of the hazards of being away from parents, but my thoughts below address a fundamental question: at what point does online training become something that falls on deaf ears?

***Orginally written in July 2016 prior to the start of Darden***

Studying and working are going to be my life for the next year, make that two years actually. And i was prepared for that reality.

What was I not prepared for?

All the online training UVA requires entering students to undergo.

Since I attended a VERY SMALL liberal arts college, majority of this online training were actual events I attended, so it didn’t feel so sterile. Instead of hearing about the dangers of alcohol, my undergrad community held a “party” to teach about the dangers of drinking and going out while on campus. Let’s just say, while a little juvenile, it was way more entertaining.

My alcohol training at UVA is very different. While I am attending another insitution 11 years after starting at my undergraduate work, it make me wonder how the undergraduates get to experience this learning. Is it another eye roll inducing interactive training, or will the administration continue this conversation outside of the computer screen and apply it in real life. (And no, I am not talking about a real life Hunger Games-type situation, just something that gets students out from behind their screens.)

This leads a much bigger question about the perils of meeting millenials where they are, behind a screen, instead of forcing them to look away and focus on what is at hand… but what am I to do?

I am just a millienial that is desperately asking for people to engage me in real life, because these interactive video training courses are becoming a bit of a drag.

Being a Global Executive MBA

The first question I get, once I explain that for two years I am going to be out of the office for a minimum of 10 days at a time, for four times. Then I would be gone for a week twice, not to mention any other trips I decide to go on and the weekend residencies that I attend…. “when do you work???”

I get it. From appearances it looks like I don’t work.

That is far from the truth.

When I decided that the Executive MBA format was the right fit for me and my career (more on that in a later post), I realized that I had to convince my boss that being out of the office for large chunks of time would not detract from my work. It is a hard sell, but I was open and honest with him about the opportunities this presented for my career and that I would be able to manage the workload and ensure that the right points of contacts would handle things while I was away.

I could talk at length about having the right people in your corner, because those people become invaluable to you, but this is about the Global Executive MBA Program (the GEMBAs, as we are affectionately known). 

He is more than happy to allow me the time I needed to pursue this program. He was actually very excited that I wasn’t leaving the company for a full-time residential program, so in a way, I think he may have seen it as a win.

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Why GEMBA?

Could that not be a cooler name? Talk about a great acronym that mirrors its operational meaning.

GEMBA – A term used in operations. “Go to the Gemba.” Get out behind the spreadsheets and the computer and get on the factory/warehouse/location-of-business floor.

That is what GEMBAs do. They travel to experience business across the globe. One year in and I have been to China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, and South Africa, with more places to go!

Why be a GEMBA?

This was such an easy answer for me. First of all, the cost was not much more than the regular Executive MBA program, which was exciting that a program that takes me around the world wasn’t anymore cost prohibitive than the one that only took me to one global trip.

Second, from a young age I recognized that being a global citizen was imperative not only for business but for for my life. I hadn’t been out of the country since graduation (except for a long weekend in Canada) and had somehow let my passport lapse! (This coming from a girl that had a passport at age two!) The opportunity to meet people where they are and to understand the true idea of what globalization means is invaluable. (Although, trying to prep for accounting when you are in a foreign country is less than ideal.)

Lastly, my career is important to me. And while I am in an industry that is more about domestic (US) business, that doesn’t mean that tomorrow I will not have an opportunity to be in a business that requires a thoughtful understanding of the global environment. Being able to take these trips was a way to expand my horizons and open my eyes to potential opportunities that were never presented to me before.

Over the past year, I have spent more energy and focus on the implications of my experience travelling abroad than any other thing in my life, yes, even work.

But, Seriously, When do you work? 

The answer to that question is more about when do I NOT work. Flexibility is key and every classmate in the two cohorts has a different level of flexibility, but we all adapt to be able to be successful both at work and school (Life and Family should, and are, in there as well).

Discussing this topic with classmates is a funny thing. We all kind of laugh and ask ourselves the inverse question, if we are able to do all of this now (albeit there is some difficulty), Where was all of our time going prior to school?

Stay tuned for some in-depth articles about my travels over the last year. 

If you want to know more about the format of the  Executive MBA program at Darden, check out the link here

One Year Later….

The idea of an MBA started for me in December 2014. Now, after a year of MBA classes, I can’t believe it took me this long to pull the trigger and get myself to an MBA program. This next month I will be posting about everything that has happened over this crazy whirlwind year, as well as, linking to sites that feature several of my amazing classmates.

The Countdown to graduation is already less than a year away….

Seven More Days to G0

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As a part-time MBA student, in the ramp up to school, I am continuing to work. Of course, after five years at my job, II already knew the busiest time of year is from July 4th to mid-Sept. To have orientation week during this time is testing the skills I have at preparing myself and just applying those methods for business school.

Most of the past two years (when I decided to more ardently pursue an MBA) has been focused on researching and identifying the right schools to apply to, applying, and waiting for an acceptance.

Honestly, I listened to the advice of many current students and alumni about what to expect after being accepted to a program, but I couldn’t quite get around the fact that NONE of it matter if I didn’t get in.

Let me tell you right now, the amount of work that is needed between acceptance and matriculation far exceeds expectations (particularly if you are working full-time up until school and/or you get accepted late in the game).

Some tasks I have worked on this summer:

  • Putting down the deposit to go to school
  • Connecting with my classmates
  • Pre-course work from Darden (about 14 hours worth of videos to watch that cover finance, accounting, excel, organizations, business management, etc).
  • Other prep work that I have been doing as a refresher; reading, studying, etc.
  • Pre-matriculation forms from both Darden and UVA
  • Don’t forget to submit a picture of yourself for the composite photo.
  • Don’t forget to ALSO submit a photo of your self for your ID
  • New computer research and purchase (If you must know, a Surface Pro 4– and I am in LOVE with it!)
  • Passport renewal – my first global trip is in November!
  • Loan applications (FAFSA, etc)
  • Meeting with the Financial Aid office to understand the cryptic naming conventions on my award letter.
  • Meeting with my Career Development Coach
  • Reading all the course material for the first week at Darden
  • Oh, and not to forget… actual work!

There is all that… and it is a lot to do…. I am sure that I missed something on here.

But all this means is that I am going to DARDEN! In. SEVEN. Days!!!

Let the flood gates open and do this thing.

***Side Note: Darden and UVA Are incredibly helpful to get most of this done. They work very hard to ensure that you have the best experience coming on-board.

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Acceptance

My long silence has probably gone without much notice, but for me, this time has changed my plan for the future.

Full-time MBA applications were submitted in the October time frame and by December I heard back from the schools I applied to….

That news was not as good as I had hoped.

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The one shining light was at Darden…. Well, a slightly diminished light, but a light all the same.

I was on the waitlist.

Now, depending on why you are on the waitlist will direct the amount of work to get off the waitlist. It seemed like I only needed to submit a “Why Darden?” essay to help my case.

Wrote the essay, submitted it to the Admissions Committee, and then started the waiting.

And I wait.

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And I wait.

And then my car broke down and I bought a new car.

And I wait.

And I started to think about what else I could do to divert this dream of mine into something just as satisfying. I started looking at events and associations to more involve myself.

Then I got my email…. full-time was going to be off the table for me.

But based on my experience and career goals they recommended that I submit my application to the executive program.

THIS IS DARDEN! OF COURSE I SAID YES!

A few weeks later I got the call. The call that so many of my peers received in December that applied round one. I finally got in May!

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Now, just over a week away from the start of the program, I am overjoyed I get to spend my next two years, not only continuing to work within my industry, but also study at an institution that I have come to know and love during my MBA research and application.

 

More to come!