After earning their undergraduate degrees, prospective MBA students are encouraged to spend time getting work experience before they return to the classroom. Tim Ludwick, who finished his finance degree in 2004, took a little bit longer to come back.
Ludwick spent six years working in Atlanta as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender before he decided the time was right to pursue his MBA.
“I was in sales, and it was a good company and a great place to work in a good industry,” Ludwick says. “After the market crash in 2008, my career path went out the window. I was thinking, ‘I’m not advancing here at all. There’s nowhere for me to move up.’ So it was time to make a change. Going for an MBA was No. 1 on my list of options.”
Since entering the full-time MBA program in 2010, Ludwick has worked as a graduate assistant and now serves as president of the MBA Finance and Investment Club, which hosts guest speakers and helps MBA students network, land interviews, and successfully compete for jobs and internships.
One aspect of the club that Ludwick has come to appreciate is its local sponsorship of Training The Street, which provides supplemental instructor-led courses for MBA students to strengthen their grasp of financial modeling and corporate valuation.
“With the help of the MBA program, we sponsor Training The Street. These are financial workshops that are mainly an investment banking tool for evaluating companies,” Ludwick says. “It’s something that’s incorporated in a lot of financial firms’ training program. It’s good that we do it here up front, so people have a leg up.
“I took the TTS courses last year, and it was a tremendous help preparing us for interviews. A lot of the stuff we did with Training The Street is what I did at my internship last summer, as far as valuations and modeling.”
As Finance Club president, Ludwick helped organize a three-day trip to New York City for about 15 fellow MBA students, faculty and staff.
“We reached out to alumni in New York,” says Ludwick, who gave credit to the college’s staff in Development and Alumni Relations, the MBA Career Management Center, and Undergraduate Student Services for making the contacts. “We visited Viacom, where Terry alum Jimmy Barge is CFO. We visited UBS Investment Bank, which also has a couple of alumni. And we went to the alumni picnic that Terry hosts each year in Central Park [photo gallery].
“The experience was more about exposure for the first-year MBAs, to let them see the different options in finance, like investment banking and finance consulting, and the different aspects of corporate finance. A lot of people think corporate finance is just one field, but there are a lot of fields within it.”
Ludwick’s MBA experience also included an audience with famed investor Warren Buffett as part of a competition hosted by the Chartered Financial Analysts. He says he’s trying to put together a return trip to Nebraska for Terry students to spend a day with the man called “the oracle of Omaha.”
Last summer, Ludwick interned with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, the investment-banking arm of SunTrust Banks. Upon finishing his MBA in May 2012, he’ll join the company full time in the syndications group and hopes to transition to a job in private equity or venture capital.
“I feel prepared,” he says. “If there are any shortfalls in classes, there are always Terry people to go get help from. The professors have open-door policies, and you can talk to them about anything, even if it’s something you didn’t cover in class. They’re always willing to talk about whatever you want to talk about.”