Learn how Trevor Hunt, student at Boston College Carroll School of Management, has made the most of his MBA experience by interning at UBS and joining various clubs on campus.
Name: Trevor Hunt
School: MBA, Boston College Carroll School of Management
Hometown: Sudbury, MA
Previously worked: Ernst & Young's Transaction Advisory Services Practice; seeking profession in Restructuring or Investment Banking
What are some activities you are involved with outside of class? How do you balance your time?
The Carroll School has many activities outside of the classroom to get involved in. I am involved in the consulting club where I take part in consulting case competitions hosted by other schools or companies in the New England area. I am a member of the finance club which has offered me the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, network with alumni and compete in competitions like the Leverage Buyout Case Competition hosted by Brandeis University’s business school where my team finished 3rd against other teams from MIT, UMass and BU. While there are many clubs on campus that allow students to further their education and passion in a particular area, there are also many organized social events (Thirsty Thursdays, Frosty Friday’s, planned events and sporting events) that allowed me to better get to know my classmates in and outside of my cohort. My favorite events were the BC vs. Clemson night time football tailgate, Thursday’s at City Side, Fenway Park and Harpoon Brewery. For me, these events provided an environment that allowed me to learn about my classmates, there backgrounds, passions and hobbies and meet their spouses, friends, family or significant others. In undergrad I had four years to make friends that would last a lifetime. In business school you only have two years making every day that much more important.
Finally, The Carroll School of Management has strong ties with many of the employers in Boston. These relationships allow students to get first hand experience and training from employers, as well as provides further opportunities to network. During my first year I took part in a training at Deloitte where we spent 3 hours learning about the firm and walking through how to analyze and break down case study questions that would become a regular part of MBA internship and fulltime interview process. I also took part in a Fidelity off site visit where again we learned about the firm, specifically their focus on new interactive technologies and their startup initiative as well as learned about MBA internship opportunities at the firm.
Currently I am the treasurer for the Graduate Management Association, which is the team the oversees all the graduate clubs within The Carroll School. It has been a great experience to learn about all the clubs in the program as well as have an impact in shaping the future of an important part of the MBA experience at Boston College. It has allowed me to work with other students across the MBA, MSA and MSF programs as well as understand the needs and perspectives of different students and what their looking to get out of the program.
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?The Carroll School was the only program that allowed me to pursue both my MBA and Masters in Accountancy at the same time, complete it within the two years, while also allowing me to be surrounded by peers that had significant work experience. Many of the other programs I looked at were meant for students who had just graduated undergrad or who were seeking an entry level position at an accounting firm either in Tax or Audit. In obtaining an MSA/MBA I was looking to enhance my accounting knowledge but more importantly strengthen my financial analytical skills. Also, I hoped to gain a deeper knowledge of how to identify and analyze the key drivers which affect both a business and its industry.
My advice for prospective students is before starting the MBA process of writing essays and studying for the GMAT or GRE is to understand and evaluate what skills one looks to gain by pursuing an MBA. This self-assessment will not only validate leaving the workforce, but will also help in crafting admission essays, which all ask the question, “why an MBA” as well as help in assessing which programs to apply to. After understanding the “why” I would recommend studying for the GMAT or GRE as these scores, along with your GPA from undergrad and work experience will help to shape what programs are likely to accept you and what programs may be a reach. The last piece of advice I would give is the same amount of effort that goes into the GMAT preparation needs to go into interview preparation, essays and learning about the various programs. The investment goes two ways when getting an MBA. While an MBA is a huge financial investment for the student, each program by excepting a student is making an investment in them and their future.
The MBA program at Boston College is very focused on building practical skillsets. The career service center works very closely with employers to get a sense of what sort of technical skills are desired in the marketplace. There is a lot of thought put into the core curriculum to ensure that each student has the core technical skills to be successful. As part of the core, students have the opportunity to learn SQL and R. The program is also focused on professional development and provides extensive case study training to prepare you for interviews, and public speaking workshops to ensure that you have an executive-ready presence as you re-enter the workforce.
What do you think makes your MBA program and experience unique?
Boston College is unique due to the type of individuals it attracts and its innovative curriculum. Programs like Manager’s Studio and Boston’s College Chief Executive Club bring CEOs from Fortune 500 companies onto campus. The Shea Center for Entrepreneurship gives students the mentorship and support needed to get their ventures started. Additionally, study abroad opportunities like International Consulting Project allow students to travel abroad to countries like China and Peru and get global experience. Boston College students tend to be very involved with campus activities and community service. The student government also does a great job with organizing campus events such as trivia nights, 5K runs, football tailgates, and intramural soccer and flag football.
Do you have an internship during your MBA? How does that experience influence your education and career?
Over the summer I interned at UBS in their Investment Banking Summer Associate Program in New York City. I worked in the M&A group and was one of 30 MBA interns in the program. Working in a product group which supported all the industry sector coverage groups I had the opportunity to work on two transactions, one in the industrials space and one in the consumer space. I also had the opportunity to work on a bake off as well as some industry sector coverage activities. I learned a lot about the investment banking process, specifically what bankers do at different stages in the transactions lifecycle but more importantly the role and strategic guidance bankers offer clients as they address changes and seize opportunities to drive their business forward.
What I took away from the experience was a reassured confidence in my decisions to pursue both an MBA and Masters in Accountancy. It also provided me with additional experience in an industry which I had never work in but had worked with on many transactions. My internship at UBS challenged me to think critically and drove me to provide data driven insights, recommendations and strategies for clients. My MSA has not only enhance my accounting knowledge but more importantly provide me with stronger financial analytical skills. Paired with an MBA concentrated in corporate finance, my degrees and experience from The Carroll School have allowed me to gain a deeper knowledge of how to identify and analyze the key drivers which affect both a business and its industry.
My Internship at UBS confirmed for me my desire to work on transactions. The experience allowed me to grow not only as a professional but also as a person. My role and responsibilities on each transaction provided me a deeper insight into the level of expectation that is required to succeed within such a competitive environment.
When applying for jobs, how do you highlight your personal and career achievements on your resume?
As I considered internship opportunities my goal was to stay in the transaction space that I had been in while at Ernst and Young. I wanted to be able to leverage my client facing skills, my ability to work with many different levels and divisions of organizations and my financial and data analytics skills in order to be a leader in delivering quality and value add work products to clients and engagement teams. I also was looking for an internship that would challenge me to think critically and drove me to provide data driven insights, recommendations and strategies that would enable clients to address changes and seize opportunities to drive their business forward.
Every internship is different. When crafting your resume, it is important to first understand what each internship is looking for from technical and analytical skills, to industry knowledge and soft skills. By understanding the skills applicable to each internship, it will allow you to craft and alter your resume to highlight experiences that are applicable. By no means am I saying to make things up, but highlighting certain experiences more than others will show a recruiter why you would be a good fit for the role and further that you understand what the role is. It is also important to have a story which bridges your past work experience and studies in your MBA to the internship you are applying for. Much of this will be crafted and outlined in your cover letter but regardless of whether your changing carrier paths or like me staying in the same industry but moving back a stage in the transaction lifecycle it is important to have a clear story that outlines your experience to date, knowledge of the internship as well as your desire to work for that particular company or in that particular industry.
Through informational phone calls with alumni and friends I was able to learn what skills were important for each internship opportunity I was applying to. In the end I had three different resumes and cover letters for investment banking, consulting and restructuring. Each highlighted different skills and experience that I felt were most relevant for the opportunities I was applying for.
Advice for Future Applicants
How do you fund your MBA? Can you offer any advice to students looking to finance their MBA?
In undergrad I financed my college tuition through a lacrosse scholarship and through assistance from my family. My parents made it clear from day 1 that I was on my own for graduate school. Using my savings from work, The Dean’s Scholarship I was awarded from The Carroll School, working on campus as an Admission Fellow, graduate student loans and Grad+ loans I was able to fund my tuition. From day 1 at the Carroll School I was assigned a financial aid advisor that made navigating the various loans very easy. To date I have not had to touch my savings. The loans I have taken out, my job on campus in admissions and the scholarship I received have allowed me to not only take advantage of every opportunity the Carroll School offers but also has covered all my housing and meal costs. BC is unique in that they offer every student the opportunity to work on campus. It is a great way to make money to help fund school while also having the flexibility to attend group meetings or events on and off campus. I work in admissions reviewing resumes, interviewing prospective students but you can also work as a teacher’s assistant in a classroom for undergrads or even help a professor with research in an area of interest. There are many ways to finance and MBA. Focus on getting into the program of your choice, as each program will work to make the financing possible.
What are some dos and don’ts in the MBA preparation process?
- Take the GMAT or GRE more than once. It is the one area in your profile you can improve upon right away and can make up for a lower GPA. It also takes time to get comfortable with the exam and timing. You only report your highest score.
- Attend a class or admissions day hosted by each school you are interested in and make sure to include it in your essays. Admission officers do track this and level of interest can make a difference in your candidacy
- Leverage your network as alumni who can speak on your behalf is always helpful and their insights can be helpful as you evaluate different programs
- Get to know each program. From the type of program (finance or management focused) to the firms that recruit at the school, to the social life offered at the program
- If your goal is to get an MBA and use the summer in between your two years to get an internship in a new field then apply to not only the top programs but also programs that you may be more likely to get into. While it would be great to go to Harvard or Wharton, it may be more important to get the opportunity to pivot or change your career
- While recommendations from executives at your firm are great, having recommenders who can speak to all aspects of who you are as a professional and why you would make a good addition to an MBA community is more important. It is very easy to tell if some has spent a lot of time working with a perspective candidate.
- Don’t get hung up on a weakness in your profile (GPA, GMAT score or prior work experience). Committees look at the total candidate profile including the growth and maturity of a person. Many schools offer an optional essay where you can address any weakness’s but make sure you take the majority of the essay to focus in on what you learned and how you will apply those lessons going forward
- Don’t let the preparation and hard work end after you submit the application and get offered an interview. The interview is as important as the application process.