by Patrick George, MBA '13 (8/29/12)
Patrick describes his move into investment banking and how Johnson uniquely prepared him for his summer at a top investment firm
When it comes to getting a full-time job, the summer internship is key. Today, some companies won’t hire outside of their intern class, so your preparation before the summer is important.
As a career switcher, my move into investment banking seemed like a daunting task at first. I did not have a finance background nor a finance degree. I needed a program that prepared me for my career, and I needed it in my first year of business school, not just my second. This is important because many MBA programs spread the core over the first year, as opposed to Johnson, which fits it into the first semester of your first year.
The second semester is then dedicated to your preferred career, in my case investment banking. The classes are centered on the skills necessary to become a successful associate, which ranged from financial modeling to corporate financial policy to accounting. Not only are the classes applicable, but the practicum takes it one step further by giving you real-world experience. In the practicum, we had the opportunity to build financial models, conduct valuations, and give presentations on current deals in the market.
After spending my summer at a top investment firm, I was surprised by how much more prepared I felt compared to my peers. I had already worked on financial statements, financial models, and pitch books – and had utilized valuation techniques. Gaining access to these tools and techniques before my internship was integral to my ability to perform well on the job.
Johnson does a great job of being realistic about what it takes to succeed in today’s environment and adjusts the program as necessary. Looking back, I am very thankful I received the instruction I did, because it made all the difference.