Alumni of the Week: David Skoler ’15

DavidSkolerAs a freshman at Syracuse University, I was unsure of what my career goals were. I was in the iSchool and loved it, but I knew that I wanted to complement my technology education with something else. Fortunately, I found out early on that enrolling in the Whitman School and pursuing a dual degree was the missing link that I needed.

Before college, my passion lied in technology. I had no prior business exposure, so I completely ignored the possibility of a business degree when applying to SU. The summer following my freshman year, I interned at Fidelity Investments in Boston as a business systems analyst within the company’s asset management group. After the internship, I realized that, if I wanted to excel in technology, understanding business was imperative. I often compare the role of a business analyst (BA) to that of a translator, with the two languages being business and technology.

My experiences throughout my college career have helped me discover and develop my passions. I credit Professor Will Geoghegan’s strategic business class, SHR 247, as the most inspirational class. Unlike a history class or another class teaches just specific facts and content, SHR 247 teaches students a new way to think and analyze. Professor Geoghegan would not only teach topics like Porter’s Five Forces, but he required his students to apply that framework to real world examples and case studies. This class forced me, as a business student, to develop a new high level of analysis from the point of view of many different stakeholders as they relate to a company. This is a skill that is essential for consultants tasked to provide insight on how to improve companies within their market.

In the summers following my sophomore and junior year, I held internships with Bank of America and McGladrey, respectively, in BA positions, similar to that which I held at Fidelity. After these three summer internships, I learned that I loved working in large companies, but I was much more aligned with the consulting model–getting exposure to a lot of different clients and industries over a relatively short period of time. These experiences landed me at Deloitte Consulting, a place where I could specialize in technology while making impactful business changes for large corporations. I am fortunate enough working at Deloitte to gain exposure to many of the firm’s various clients across many different industries.

As a consultant, traveling is a big part of my job. I have been on the job for just six months and have traveled routinely to Dallas, Orlando, New Jersey and Chicago. Aside from flight delays and 4 a.m. Monday morning alarms, I love everything about travel: the allure of the airports, the familiar faces I see in the TSA Pre✓ line, the hotel staff greeting me by name each week and, most significantly, the feeling I get when I arrive home on a Thursday night every week. Because of the weekly airport and hotel experiences, I have a new appreciation for the travel, hospitality, leisure and services industries.

There will never be a point in my life when I stop finding new passions or interests both professionally and personally. The one piece of advice I would give to current Whitman students is to be involved across Whitman and SU; you never know what you might gain from each experience. Frankly, I am jealous of all the current and future Whitman students who are able to partner with Dean Kavajecz, as he transforms Whitman through programs like IMPRESS and Consurtio.

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David SKoler
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