Graduate Student Spotlight: Emily Huang, MIT

Photo Credit: UA University Relations

Emily Huang graduated in May 2014 with majors in Finance and Mathematics. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Here Emily shares with us her preparation and application process. 

I learned about the term “financial engineering” in my sophomore year, and immediately I knew this is what I’m going to pursue: applying Mathematics and Computer Science skills into Finance. I looked into schools that offer Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE) degrees, and started to prepare myself for the competitive application process then.

I believe a strong candidate for Financial Engineering programs should at least possess the following three attributes: strong quantitative skills, high achieving leadership, and keen interests in Finance. Declaring a math major was the very first step I took to achieve my goal. After that, I was elected to be the Vice President of the Investments Club to learn industry insights. Then I worked hard to intern at GE Capital in the summers of my sophomore and junior years working on Collaterals and Financial Modeling. During my senior year, I participated in the Global CFA Research Challenge (regional 3rd place) and Math Contest in Modeling (24th place out of 8,000~ internationally), and also passed the CFA Level I exam. I was very luck to have Associate Dean Pam Perry, Dr. Gosnell, and a few math professors (Prof. Laetsche, Prof. Niu, and Prof Lin) to be my strong supporters in applying for graduate schools.

I was admitted to 6 out of 7 graduate schools that I applied to. After careful consideration and much research on each program, I chose to pursue a Master’s degree in Finance at MIT. There is great flexibility in elective classes that students choose from, and we can cross-register with Harvard Business School and Kennedy School to have a broader selection of courses. The innovative and entrepreneurial campus environment of MIT also provides many opportunities to apply theories into practice, which I think is important to success in Finance careers.

Applying to graduate school is a lengthy process that requires persistence and long-term planning. In the end, the reward of getting admitted to my dream grad school and being one step closer to my career aspiration is worth the trouble of the arduous application process.



Delta Sigma Pi is Hosting the Eller Open

Are you currently looking for jobs or internships but don’t have an in with a company? This event is your opportunity to network in small groups with recruiters and executives looking to hire business students.

The professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, is hosting the 3rd annual Eller Open golf tournament and luncheon on November 9th, and eight companies are already set to attend. With only 70 student slots available, this is a great way to spend the entire day speaking with recruiters that you would otherwise only get minutes with.

Representatives from GoDaddy, Macy’s, Mondelez International, CED, Edward Jones, Yelp, Insight Global, and the Phoenix Coyotes will be in attendance. Students are welcome to play golf with the recruiters or just come to the lunch and networking mixer portion of the event. After the event all the recruiters will be provided a copy of your resume. Over 700 students attended this past Career Showcase, we are offering the chance to stand out from the competition and be one of 70.

If you are interested in participating in this event, please go to to RSVP and select which company you’d like to spend the day with. If you have any questions feel free to email

Why Are You Considering a Graduate Degree?

Grad School

By Matt Lehrer, Career Coach

Why are you considering a graduate degree?

Career Goal: You need to have a clear understanding of what you want to do with your career (no doubts!) — and how earning a graduate degree will help you reach that goal. If you have any doubt at all about your professional goals, consider putting off graduate school and, instead, go to work.  This will allow you to begin to understand what you like and don’t like about about a particular “path.” If you go to graduate school without a clear goal, you may end up wasting both time and money.

While certain careers definitely require an advanced degree — doctors and lawyers, for example — many other careers offer plenty of job opportunities with an undergraduate degree. In fact, in some situations having an advanced degree can actually hurt you in a job search, if you also have little or no job experience.

Compensation: Most studies show that people with advanced degrees earn more on average than people with bachelor’s degrees. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009 the average worker with a bachelor’s degree earned $56,665, while a worker with a master’s degree earned $73,738. Furthermore, a worker with a professional degree (JD, MD) earned $127,803, while a worker with a doctorate (PhD) earned $103,054. (Obviously those salaries are slightly higher today; the key is the difference in salary by education level.) It is important to note that you probably will not make enough more in the first three years to offset the tuition you spend on grad school.  The payback should be viewed from a long-term perspective.

Staying Marketable: While a graduate degree is not required for many “entry-level” jobs, you may need to earn an advanced degree to keep your training and skills current — and make you more marketable for career advancement.

Career Change: A graduate degree can often make sense for a job-seeker who is looking to make a career change, In this case, you would be earning the graduate degree in the field you plan to enter.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Taylor Stoneman, Cornell

Taylor StonemanTaylor Stoneman graduated from Eller in May 2013 with a major in Business Economics and minors in Government and Public Policy and Pre-Law. She is currently at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY pursuing a J.D. with a Specialization in International Legal Affairs.  Last summer, Taylor worked in Washington, D.C. as a legal intern in TSA’s Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement and has just recently accepted an offer to head back to D.C. next summer as a summer associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Why did you decide to pursue a law degree?

I went to law school primarily for the education.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do afterwards (for example, whether I wanted to work in big law or in the government), but I knew that I wanted to sharpen my critical thinking and analysis, reading, and writing skills.  Because I am interested in working in foreign policy at some point in the future, I contemplated getting a masters in international affairs or something similar.  I ended up deciding to go for the best of both worlds by targeting law schools that had strong international law programs.

What has been the most challenging part of your experience? The most rewarding?

I think the most challenging and rewarding parts of this experience stem from the same foundation: the law school environment in general and, specifically, the small and insulated Cornell community.  There are less than 200 students in each class at CLS.  Courses are graded on a strict curve based on one exam at the end of the semester and it’s very much a “figure things out along the way” experience.  As a 1L, it is very hard to not compare yourself to others and in the beginning I had a lot of difficulty with that.

On the other hand, the intensity of preparing for classes and exams helps build foundations for great friendships.  We all felt like we were going a little crazy at times and it’s nice to have a small community of people who are going through the same experience.  The small class size also gives us an overwhelming number of opportunities for interaction with professors.

What advice do you have for students looking to pursue a law degree?

My advice would be to ensure that law school is where you want to go and being a lawyer is what you want to do!  Succeeding in law school takes just as much work as people say it does and it’s an extremely competitive environment.  Be prepared to challenge yourself both academically and emotionally.


Check It Before You Wreck It

Eller’s Marketing 452 Integrated Marketing Communications class is working on a campaign for Credit Karma. For our Credit Karma campaign, we are currently competing against 20+ schools in a nationwide contest.

The goal is to raise awareness about credit scores to college student and have the most students sign up to check their credit scores using a campus specific URL ( 

Information about credit in the U.S.

• 25% of consumers have errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores.

• 33% of Americans have never checked their credit report.

• According to Credit Karma data, the average U.S. consumer’s credit score is 633. A credit score of 720 is considered to be the threshold for a score that qualifies an individual for financial products with the best interest rates and benefits.

The more people who sign up to view their credit score using our specific URL (, the better it is for our campaign and your financial future. You can also search for our Facebook page: “Credit Karma at the University of Arizona,” and find the link there.

Beardown and check your score!

Graduate Student Spotlight: Colton Cray, USC

3515525585Colton Cray graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2014 with majors in MIS, Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Operations Management and a minor in Global Business. He is now pursuing a law degree at the University of Southern California.

Why did you decide to pursue a law degree at USC?

My decision to pursue a law degree was separate from my decision to pursue one at USC necessarily (Bear Down > Fight On). My pursuit of law in it of itself might seem strange considering [my majors and minors]. During my time in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, I saw that the most successful venture teams were often the ones with the best due diligence: the ones who didn’t just take risks, but rather those who took mitigated, calculated risks. Success with a start-up meant honing and balancing certain strategic and analytical skills and I knew that those were the same skills people hire lawyers to perform. I love entrepreneurship and wanted to get started developing my own business but I knew that a lot of successful serial entrepreneurs had gone to law school so I decided to follow suit (no pun intended) and earn a JD from a top institution.

My decision to enroll at USC Gould School of Law came from a generous scholarship offer due to my business background. Law schools like USC’s value a business background because the most prestigious firms’ main clientele features fortune 500 companies performing complex business transactions requiring an experienced eye for business. Those companies trust people who can “talk the talk,” so to speak. USC reached out to me immediately after my LSAT score was released and invited me to apply for their “Rothman Scholarship”; essentially a full ride that goes to one student each year. The scholarship guarantees a summer position following the first year at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, one of the biggest law firms, directly in the heart of Los Angeles. Since earning this scholarship, I will get exposure and hands-on experience with some of the most exciting mergers and acquisitions deals in the world.

What was the preparation and application process like?

Preparation and application was not something to take lightly. I was in the heat of the McGuire program and applying for full-time positions in the finance industry when I started considering the application process and took a free practice Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Law schools separate candidates based on GPA and LSAT scores, so it was important that my GPA was already competitive (3.75 at the time). I enrolled in a 10-week LSAT prep course with Kaplan (their minimum package) and studied rigorously in between job applications, a part-time internship, and building our McGuire venture. It neither easy nor cheap. After I took my test in October, schools immediately began sending me informational flyers, booklets, e-mails etc either asking me to apply or waiving application fees (average $65 apiece). The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)’s website makes applications easy by allowing you to apply to any and all schools directly through their website. After selecting what schools I wanted to apply to, I began writing my personal statement. I sought professional help and hired a tutor to consult on my paper. Finally, I requested my official transcript and submitted all my applications around February. All costs considered, I was out nearly $1,750, so you have to be committed. It’s worth mentioning that I did everything very late in the process, to my detriment. The advantages of applying early can make a monumental difference in the caliber of school one gets admitted to, I happened to be lucky by finding a perfect match with USC months before I even submitted my other applications.

What do you hope to do after you complete the program?

Since attending law school, my post-grad aspirations have drastically changed. I fully intend on pursuing a life-long career in law. After the program I hope to accept a full-time associateship at Skadden and practice corporate law or litigation there. There are many other paths associates with a few years under their belts can pursue though; they can move into more specialized positions within the firm, branch out to their own practice, move to an in-house counsel position with a client, or pursue their own business. Really, having that kind of education and experience is a way of opening doors and creating opportunities, whatever those may be.


Leadership Dinner: AMA and AdFed

10703603_922942471075691_2640283597431789207_nBy Eva Herman

On Wednesday, October 1st, we kicked off this semester’s Eller Leadership Speaker Series with executive Todd Helmick, the marketing director at Royal Automotive. Todd is a University of Arizona alum and has worked at Royal Automotive for 8 years. He had various experiences throughout his time in college, including working for Macy’s, living in London and being a Resident Assistant. Todd presented to executive board members and student leaders in American Marketing Association and Advertising Federation.

In his presentation, Todd explained the “sales funnel” to us, from Awareness, Interest, Desire and lastly, Action (making the sale).  There are many different ways to market toward core groups in this funnel, from the corporate level to the dealership level.  Local marketing and advertising focuses on a much more narrow market of consumers who are already in the desire stage. Local advertising is much more personal, and expresses current deals or features that are happening in the local area that will set the dealership apart from the competition. Local marketing really strives to influence the consumer that is already in the market for a new car, rather than peak interest in those who are not avidly looking.  These marketing tips can apply to any industry, from club recruitment to corporate sponsorships. It is important to narrow down

Todd’s Five Personal Marketing Tips:

  1. Know Thy Self: what are your strengths, what are you good at?
  2. Build your personal network: don’t judge everyone you meet relative to you and your likes, anyone can be a personal network
  3. Explore and make mistakes: do not have regret!
  4. Start with the end in mind: Do you know what your definition of win is? What do you consider a fail?
  5. Develop a tangible skill that is easily identifiable and in high demand

Entrepreneur Spotlight: NoteBowl

NoteBowl Team at Educause

The NoteBowl Team pitching their platform to Educause attendees in Startup Alley

It has been said that 80% of entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months. But recent Eller alum Andrew Chaifetz, the CEO and founder of NoteBowl, has managed to stay on the side of the 20%.

I interviewed Andrew back in February of this year about his social learning platform. Since then the startup has gained a lot of traction at the University of Arizona, having piloted their platform with three professors and 69 students this summer. The results were incredible, and now the startup is deep in conversation with the U of A to implement NoteBowl on a larger scale.

Recently, NoteBowl caught the attention of The Arizona Republic who published an article about them this past Monday. Members of the NoteBowl team have been in Orlando, FL this week to attend Educause, an education technology conference. And to top it all off, they have just been featured on the front page of Edtech Magazine!

We can expect more good news in the near future for NoteBowl, and you may even end up in a class that uses the platform. Until then, aspiring entrepreneurs can check out the advice that Andrew has to offer. Stay tuned!

Get Ready for Make A Difference Day!

1651914By Waverly Newton

As the Student Event Coordinator in the Undergraduate Office, it is my job to help plan the annual Eller College Make a Difference Day (MADD). Out of all the Eller College events that I help coordinate this amazing philanthropy project is my favorite because it brings together past, present and future Wildcats in the name of service. Individuals and groups, will have the opportunity to participate in community service projects that aid non-profits in the surrounding Tucson community. This year we will be working with Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption, Angels in Autism, Pima Animal Care Center, Valley of the Moon and many more! Our goal this year is to have 1,250 volunteers and we need your help to get there, so please join us for the 14th annual Eller Make a Difference Day (MADD) on October 24th and October 25th. Registration for Eller affiliated clubs opens on October 1st and general registration will open on October 7th, if you have any questions please email me at ellermaddteam@gmail.com2013_JA_Prince_Web-3

Alumni Spotlight: Alyssa Martinez, Destinations by Design

Alyssa Martinez

Alyssa Martinez graduated in May 2012 with a major in Business Management and Non-Profit Leadership and Spanish minors. She currently works for Destinations by Design, an event production and DMC, in Las Vegas, NV.

What do you do on a typical day at work?

My days at work vary a LOT.  Sometimes I am sitting in the office answering emails (communicating with clients, coordinating vendor orders and delivery times, etc.) and submitting paperwork (invoices to be paid).  Other days I am out on site, usually at a property on The Strip setting up for an event.  Or I could be running around purchasing random requests for talent riders, picking up show tickets, getting a group loaded onto a bus for their helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, greeting someone at the airport, or one of the other random tasks my job often requires.  Basically whatever needs to be done to ensure my clients have a successful event!

How did you come across this opportunity?  

I reached out to an Eller classmate I had met while we were in school, because I knew she worked out in Vegas doing events.  She told me about an opening with her company, so I applied and was hired!

What is the most rewarding aspect about your job?

Working in the event industry is really cool because you can make something awesome out of almost nothing.  Transforming a plain, boring ballroom into an amazing experience for my clients is always rewarding to me.

Any advice for students looking to enter your industry/company?

It’s all about who you know!  I am a perfect example of that.  Someone you worked with one time on a small group project for class could end up being the gateway to your ideal job a few years down the road.  Make connections and keep in touch with them!