Smith MBA: Foundation, Application, Integration

Hello, my friends, colleagues, and avid readers. This is my final semester in the Dual MBA-MFin program with 17 credits left (i.e. eight classes). Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Be thankful for what you get because you might lose it. With these proverbial phrases in mind, I have taken the time to make sense of the mountain climb that has been the last two years of business school before looking to the next peak.

You can use the mental model below when engaging in your own day-to-day activities and new years resolutions. Foundation-Application-Integration is my version of the new strategy by the Full-time MBA program to graduate the best candidates possible. I heard a great quote stating, “what happens in reality is less powerful than the stories we tell ourselves about those events.” Therefore, it is essential to reflect on the past, refine the present, and improve future chances of reaching the life we want.    


If you visit this link, you will see the core curriculum that the Smith MBA has laid out for candidates. I was extremely proficient in some subjects and fell terribly short in others. I have closed the gap in some courses since August 2016, and I am taking clutch electives in this spring (Phew!). After this core, candidates are able to choose the track they wish to specialize. The spring semester of your first year becomes a deep dive in finance, marketing, supply chain, data-tech, or general management that will prepare you for your dream interviews to land an internship and convert that internship into a full-time offer.

Special note: the rigor of your first-year is just as good a preparation for post-graduation. The pure volume of deliverables and teamwork enables introverts to stretch their communication (I am one of them). Now you’re ready for a great summer internship.  


Your summer internship is where your previous work experience and first year of business school can be applied immediately. With a summer project, different teams, and company presentations, you are able to see how your education can add-value to the company. Incorporate your knowledge into the weekly deliverables and a “knock-out” recommendation in your final presentation. The VP I worked under at Capital One for my summer internship told me not to slack off my second year. He encouraged me to select my classes with the intention of bringing even more value back to the company when I graduate.

After the summer, you and your fellow classmates will return to class for one more year! I used my first few weeks of the second year asking other classmates what they worked on in the finance industry, what skills they still needed, and the future direction of the industry.

“Smith-X” provides second year experiential opportunities to further refine core concepts from the first year and skills you learned you need from your summer internship. For example, I am an equity analyst of financial institutions for the Mayer Fund. Working at a big bank over the summer gave me new direction on what to look for when analyzing macroeconomic trends, and company strengths and weaknesses. Not to mention the EPIC New York trek to visit alumni and friends of the fund.


Finally, my experience is coming down to integrating two years into the last four months. I have the mindset of someone who is ready to take over my world, but there are a couple of  skill sets I need to add to the tool belt. In addition, I realized that I am not only getting a master’s degree in business and finance, but I also have the opportunity to master my life in a way where I am at full capacity utilization and optimization. 

For example, I let my workout regimen fall by the wayside the past two years, but I am squeezing another hour out of my day. This takes an efficient regimen, a disciplined AND flexible schedule to make it happen. Sprinkle some sacrifice and that shredded beach body will replace the common dad-bod many of us tend to get haha.

Some other huge highlights I am thankful for are my accountabilibuddies who help me optimize my schedule and support me through 17.5 credits/semester. Also, I am collaborating with faculty who hold discussions to get more informal face time with students, and the opportunity for us to speak and analyze the business world with breadth and depth. Now, back to my hedging strategies class and learning about straddles, strangles, butterfly spreads, iron butterflies, bear and bull spreads. 

What is a project or chapter in your life that has followed this progression? Let me know in the comments below and dominate 2018! 

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