October 31, 2013

A Peek into the Summer Lives of 10 BU MBAs!

The majority of Boston University 2-year MBA students complete full time summer internships as a part of their experience - ranging from management consulting to working with start-ups. Here is a sprinkling of internships from the class of 2014!

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October 28, 2013

Trading on the Beach

Two semesters down and one to go. The Boston University MS in Mathematical Finance program has been a challenging yet rewarding endeavor for my academic and professional career. I was fortunate to receive an amazing summer internship offer at NextEra Energy as an Options Desk Analyst located in tropical Juno Beach, Florida. Through the invaluable help of our Executive Director, Ahmad Namini, and Corporate Relations Director, Cristine Nigro, 98% of first year MSMF students secured summer internships with high-quality firms across the country and abroad.

Aside from the white sandy beaches, sky blue ocean and perfectly groomed golf courses of Southeast Florida, life on a trading floor was quite the opposite of the relaxing scenery. NextEra Energy is a leading producer and marketeer of renewable and clean electricity. With the worlds largest wind power generation fleet along with natural gas and nuclear generation, they operate 43,000 MWs of electricity across the country. That is enough electricity to power around 40 million homes! The job of the trading floor at NextEra is to optimize the margins of their assets as well as take advantage of our leverage in the electricity and natural gas markets.

Arriving on the first day, the trading floor was exactly as I imagined it with rows of desks, traders with headsets talking with exchanges and clients, along with up to ten computer screens at each station stacked on one another. It was certainly an intimidating experience especially not knowing much about the electricity market.

However, within days, I was knee deep within different projects and analytics on the Options Desk. By applying many of the learned concepts from the MSMF program, I was able to derive implied volatility skews, deltas of our bullet options and price unit-contingent deals for counterparties across the country. Beyond that, I also spent the majority of my time working on a proprietary trading model for electricity futures at the Mid-Columbia power hub. This model backtested extremely well and the company is looking to implement it in their trading book this Fall.

Near the end of my internship, I felt accomplished with the value that I was able to bring to the company over the three months. As a part of the program, all of the interns presented their summer work to the CEO and CFO of the company. Shortly after my presentation, I was offered a full time position at the company as a trading analyst on the trading floor. I have accepted the offer and am very excited about starting my career with NextEra Energy in January.

When I arrived back at Boston University in late August, I have heard many great internship success stories from my colleagues. The program at BU has equipped us with the tools it takes to be successful in the industry. With the technical skills and the soft skills, we become an invaluable asset to financial firms who are striving for students to be able to both produce and explain the complicated quantitative work we do. This semester will be exciting as my classmates interview and select which company they will be taking their talents to. I am confident graduates of the Boston University MS in Mathematical Finance program will continue to be leaders in the quantitative finance industry for years to come.

Justin Tyo is a second year Math Finance student who spent his summer at NextEra Energy in Juno Beach, Florida. Academically, Justin is interested in taking advantage of misprices across the term structure of energy futures. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys cooking Italian food, University of Michigan football/basketball games, trading options and playing golf.

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October 24, 2013

Living In the Far East

The Boston University One-Year  International MBA (IMBA) program has found a great recipe for creating strength amongst a diverse group and expanding leadership acumen. This past summer, my twenty-five classmates and I lived in China, in the same apartment complex, engaging in rigorous course study.  We were provided the opportunity to live in Shanghai, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and Beijing, a city steeped in history and tradition. My cohort is comprised of students from Chile, Panama, Mexico, Peru, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Russia, Israel, Germany, and the USA.  Even though the IMBA is an accelerated program, we always found time to have fun and explore all that China had to offer while also getting to know each other’s cultures.  Afterwards, we had a group that considers each other to be a “second family” due to the incredibly unique experiences we have shared. 

Before going to B-school, I was extremely passionate about working on and with diverse teams, which is what attracted me to the BU IMBA program.  After arriving in China, my international teammates taught me that I needed to adjust my management style in order to better understand the strengths and challenges of working with a truly international team.   My classmates spoke English as their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language.  In addition to language differences, there were also cultural differences that we needed to learn about in order to become an effective team.  As an American, slowing down and taking pragmatic pauses have become a part of my repertoire after this experience.  I learned the benefits of this firsthand when my team was able to come up far better ideas after we had fostered a culture that allowed everyone to comfortably participate.    

My second takeaway from my China experience was the art of negotiation.  I always felt a little uncomfortable negotiating but I knew it was a valuable asset in the business world.  I found that my international classmates are extremely good at negotiating because often it is a regular part of their culture.  They taught me that negotiation requires a thought out strategy and having an understanding of when to walk away.  My classmates coached me through leveraging the power of indifference to negotiate a fair price.  In my time spent negotiating for goods, my classmates also taught me that there is always a real decision maker.  Whether it’s a business owner or club promoter, pinpointing the person in power makes negotiations more productive. 

Mark Twain said, “Travel is the death of ignorance.” After 3 months of immersion in China, I am more knowledgeable about the complexity of Chinese life and the beauty of interconnection among truly diverse cultures.  I developed relationships that are so deep it’s hard to imagine these people haven’t always been a part of my life.  I acquired skills that I never knew I could.  I saw some of the greatest wonders of the world and I learned about China firsthand, this social and political powerhouse that previously I’d only perceived from afar.  The International MBA program is challenging, but I can guarantee its academic and social recipe will make your life much richer than you ever expected.    

Jessica is interested in internal consulting for retail supply chain as well as leading teams through creative solution processes such as idea labs and 6-sigma methodology.  In her free time, Jessica enjoys watching Alabama football, traveling to new places and learning from diverse cultures.

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