May 10, 2012

Advice to the Class of 2014 from the Graduating Graduate Assistants

2011-2012 Grad Assistants, top row (L to R): Shawn, Kira, Carl; bottom row (L to R): Meg, Maya (Recruitment Administrator), Anya
To close out the 2011-2012 academic year, we asked all of the Graduate Assistants who work in Admissions to offer their advice to the incoming class of MBA students.  You'll find many common themes in the advice they offer --- take it to heart, it's true!

Everyone tells you this, but the next two years are going to fly by.  Here's some free advice: learn to take risks, don't be afraid of making mistakes, go to your professors' office hours (they can help you network with BU alumni), and have FUN!  By the way, Cohort Cup events are wonderful opportunities to mingle with your entire class and make great memories!

My advice is to take advantage of everything that BU has to offer.  Participate in as many Case Competitions as you can.  Get involved with Club Leadership.  Go to all the Speaker Series Events.  Attend the Social Outings and meet as many people as you can.  Accomplishing all of this may seem daunting, but you won't regret it.  You will have plenty of time to sleep in the future!

You should definitely enjoy your time during the MBA as best as you can because it is over way too fast. Pick the classes you are interested in and not just the ones that fit into your concentration, it's more about your individual curriculum. And don't forget the MBA is not just about classes, it's also about extra-curricular activities. So join different clubs and be engaged, because you can learn so much from the people around you that you could miss in the classroom. Take advantage of all the great things BU has to offer.

Invest in relationships with your fellow classmates, professors, and SMG staff.  At the end of two years, those will be what you really cherish and carry with you.  Also invest in really figuring out what you want in a career.  This is the time to explore what is out there with minimal consequences so that you can get a job you are really passionate about at the end of your time here.  

My advice is to enjoy your time here.  Explore areas you have been curious about but never tried.  Go see New England and what Boston has to offer.  It is a 2 year break from work where you have a chance to totally redirect your life.  Enjoy every second and stay in the moment.  It goes by too fast.

My advice is the most important thing you can do is manage your time well. Aside from managing your time, be sure to use your resources which include but are not limited to professors, TAs, and classmates. Good luck. 

Bookmark and Share

May 7, 2012

A glimpse into life as a second semester MSMF student

Post By:
Taylor Marge
MSMF, 2013

According to the MSMF class of 2012, the most challenging semester of the program is the second semester. So far they have been proven correct. Although this semester has been challenging, we have all learned a lot and had some fun along the way. In the MSMF Program, the normal course load (four classes) is the same every semester. There is, however, an additional and optional course offered during the second semester, Algorithmic Trading. This course is taught by Ahmad Namini, an alumnus of the program and Head of Analytics and Technology – Asia Credit Desk at Citibank Capital Markets. He was also a professor at the University of Miami (Florida) for 10 years. The class is an excellent opportunity to learn from a practitioner who also has experience as a professor. This balance of practical knowledge and teaching experience allows for an amazing learning environment in both a quantitative and qualitative context. 

Math Finance students at Jillians for bowling

 We have had interesting projects and assignments in the rest of our courses as well. Our C++ course is the least math finance intensive, mainly covering topics of object oriented programming but with some financial context as well. In our Fixed Income class we have studied in-depth interest rate models, their effect on the price of assets such as bonds, options on bonds, swaps and much more. The final assignment is a project in which students must calibrate a model to given market conditions. 

Of course there has been much more going on this semester than just our school work. Throughout the semester, students have been working with the Feld Career Center perfecting their resume, cover letter, and 30-second pitch in an effort to land their desired internship. When we are not preparing for our career, BU offers events from time to time to enjoy relaxing with each other in a non-academic environment. Some events that have been sponsored by the GPO include a pizza snack break at Uno’s (a pizzeria across the street from SMG), an alumni networking event where many alumni from the MSMF program came to talk about their experience both at the program and in the workplace following the program, and a bowling event right near Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team). These events are usually attended by everyone in the program and offer us some time to talk to each other without stochastic calculus and pending deadlines on our mind. 
Playing Pool

This semester has been challenging but has offered the opportunity to learn a great deal. Outside of school we have improved our resumes and knowledge of the industry, focused our career search, and have come together as a program.  

Taylor Marge is a first year Math Finance student with a background in engineering. He excels at summarizing articles for co-workers and remembering inconsequential information.

Bookmark and Share

May 4, 2012

Boston University Connected Me to Honduras

Post By:
Pammi Bhullar
MBA, 2013

Over winter break 2011, I volunteered in Villa Soleada, Honduras through a student-driven club and international nonprofit organization called Students Helping Honduras (SHH).  I first discovered this little treasure while attending the Millennium Campus Conference where I heard SHH’s founder, Shin Fujiyama speak about the impact SHH is having in Honduras.  An impact that amounts to almost ten fully constructed schools (990 more on the way), one children’s home, a microfinance business for Honduran women, and an abundance of jobs created in every village SHH serves.  Shin’s kind spirit and relentless determination was evident when I heard him speak at the conference, and blindingly evident when I spoke with him about his vision and struggle building SHH during a long bus ride in Honduras.  He’s an individual with a mind and heart like a freight train.  I took note of his fortuitous appetite for social impact, and hope to achieve this same dedication in my lifetime.

As a student, the insight, hard work, and camaraderie I built were priceless additions to my education.  In addition, I went to Honduras to help build a school in a village, and came back more aware of operational challenges that mission-driven organizations face.  These “moments of truth” are depicted in the following top four reflections from my volunteer trip in Honduras.  If you’re interested in hearing more about the trip, visit my travel blog:

1. Kids have it so good in the U.S.
You don't need to travel too far to acknowledge that most children in the U.S. are living in a bubble from the rest of the world in terms of our relatively high standard of living. The Honduran children that I met were thankful for whatever food they were given, and did not fuss about much. Children were running around barefoot in muddy waters and selling beaded bracelets, not for their own piggy bank but to help their family bring food to the table. This is a whole different responsibility that children acquire at a young age in many developing countries.

One extraordinary (although ornery) 12 year-old child I met escaped a gang (which is crazy enough), but then he walked from El Progresso, Honduras almost to the border of Guatemala. That's around 40 miles! He was found by a member of SHH on the street and was brought to the newly built children's home in Villa Soleada. It's survival stories like this that make you question yourself.... and say, "Could I do that?"

2. Job creation is critical to community development.
In Honduras, one of the best aspects of SHH was that it created jobs.  For example, SHH created jobs for women to cook and clean laundry for volunteers, for construction workers to guide the building process, for bus drivers to haul volunteers around, etc. In fact, when the founder of the SHH asked the community of Villa Soleada what they needed, he got an overwhelming response, "Jobs!" And their request was answered!

3. Sometimes it's difficult to get people to work for what they want.
After reading the background story of how SHH got started in Honduras and how the town of Villa Soleada was first created I discovered that a huge challenge in trying to help communities like this is that the people in the community want a better standard of living but are not always willing to chip in manual labor. Noticing some indolence in Villa Soleada, SHH made it mandatory for all community members to contribute manual labor to the creation of the town. I admired this requirement yet was astounded that it was even necessary to declare.

4. Friends make any time a good time.
In Honduras volunteers spent a lot of time commuting on a bus and working at the construction site.  As a result, we spent a lot of time out in the sun and getting drenched in the rain.  It felt good knowing I was there to help the community, but what really made this a fantastic experience was sharing it with the new friends that I met. (I know. I know. How much more cheesy can she get?) Honestly, I became friends with some quirky and fun people from across the U.S. and Honduras. (*ahem You wonderful people know who you are.) They were so full of life and knowledge that I couldn't help but want to keep talking and joking with them. 

In conclusion, no matter what amazing things you do in your life. It's always more amazing when you have friends to share it with. (Alright put your tissues away.)

As a piece of advice to aspiring college and graduate students, this international volunteering experience was an extremely valuable complement to my education.  I was able to see first-hand the inside operations of an international nonprofit organization, was immersed in the Honduran culture, and developed friendships that I’ve continue to strengthen. 
Students Helping Honduras hosts volunteer trips during winter, spring, and summer breaks.  It also hosts longer-term internship opportunities during the summer. For more information, visit or e-mail me at

Pammi Bhullar is currently an MBA student studying Public and Nonprofit Management.  She is gearing up for her internship this summer with Education Pioneers.  As an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, Pammi earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  She majored in Marketing, earned aCertificate in West European Studies, and minored in Theatre Arts;while also obtaining her Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate.   She most recently worked as a Supervisor in the Institutional Division of The Vanguard Group. 

Bookmark and Share