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            Solomon Cole

Solomon Cole always knew he wanted to be a successful finance professional. Getting a Master's degree in Accountancy and an MBA equipped him with the knowledge and the networks to fulfill this dream.

Background

Wake Forest University, BS in Finance and MS in Accountancy, 2005
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, MBA, 2013

Path to B-School

I knew early during my college tenure that I wanted to work on Wall Street and focus on leveraged buyouts. I believed that having degrees in accounting and finance would provide me with the skills I needed to pursue my career goals. For a few years after undergrad, I was an analyst at an investment bank focused on Mergers & Acquisitions, then worked at a firm that invested in small companies. Most of the top business programs want students to have some work experience because a lot of the educational experience is dependent upon leveraging the diverse perspectives of members of the MBA class. 

B-School Opportunities and Experiences

Business school is an excellent way to enhance your professional network. I met incredibly talented people from a wide range of professions and geographies that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.   I also realized that there were business disciplines such as operations, marketing, etc. that I had a cursory knowledge of, but that had not been my primary focus during my undergraduate studies. During business school, I had the opportunity to devote a greater portion of my time to rounding out my skill set. The summer between the first and second year of my MBA, I pursued an internship at an investment firm in NC.  During my second year, I also performed consulting work for a couple of start-ups and worked with an investment firm in Philadelphia.

After MBA

I am now an Associate for Leveraged Finance Group at a Global Investment Bank. Given my undergraduate focus on finance and accounting, the most valuable aspect of graduate business school was the breadth of the professional network that I developed. I have encountered former classmates and alumni on many of my transactions post-business school and the relationships I developed during business school have been invaluable in my career development.

Advice for those taking the GMAT Exam

Properly preparing for the GMAT can require a significant amount of time, especially if it has been a while since you attended college.  In retrospect, I probably would have taken the GMAT my final year of college or shortly after graduation, while a lot of the material covered on the test was fresh in my mind. This approach doesn’t make sense for everyone, but if you plan to matriculate within five years of graduation, it might be worth completing the GMAT while you have more free time to devote to test preparation.
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