Grad School Spotlight – Joey Katzen

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Joey Katzen is an Eller alumnus who graduated in May 2019.  He majored in Business Administration in the Online Cohort and is pursing a Master of Science in Finance at Georgetown University.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

I knew that I would eventually want an advanced degree but had not made any concrete plans to pursue it immediately, but with everything that happened this year it seemed like a good time to begin the process. With the economy in recovery and new jobs likely being abnormally competitive for the foreseeable future, now seemed like a great time to achieve that goal of an advanced degree. I also knew that I had an affinity for numbers, finance, and banking; so far, that intuition has been spot on!

What was the preparation and application process like? What has been the most challenging part of the experience? The most rewarding?

It was actually relatively easy, similar to the application process for undergraduate but this time I was much better prepared. The hardest part was studying for and subsequently taking the GMAT during a time period where in-person tests don’t exist. Additionally, the GMAT is one of the first introductions that we have as students into the conceptual method of thinking that’s required to succeed in graduate school. It’s a standardized test that’s not so standard, and it’s very difficult. I even scored worse on the math section than any of the others; a feat that I may never be able to repeat! On the other end of the spectrum, being admitted into your top choice, or one of your top choices, is definitely the most rewarding feeling. It’s not necessarily a reflection of how your hard work in the last four months has paid off, but more so a reflection of how your hard work in the last four years has paid off.

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

After I graduate from Georgetown I hope to transition into corporate finance and investment banking. I’m really enjoying learning about asset valuation and mergers and acquisitions, and I hope to use these skills and other finance skills to assist one (or many) businesses with future financial advice, investment analysis, and forecasts of future cash flow.

What advice do you have for students looking to pursue the same advanced degree?

Be prepared. Be prepared for a different type of learning, a different classroom, a different way of thinking. This advanced degree requires a conceptual framework that may be relatively unexpected – it’s not just formulas, arithmetic, and money. Be prepared to adjust how you think and understand that this basically mimics the real world, so pretend you’re at work and you can get some of the worst mistakes out of the way now. Be prepared to work ahead, be prepared to do your first week of homework before class has begun (because they expect it), be prepared for an adjustment period when you first begin. Be prepared for your first class to be a little rough. But be prepared to have a great time!

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