Timothy O’Connell, a first-year MBA candidate at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, recently secured a position in the Bloomberg Hall of Fame by being one of the top 5 scorers in the country in the Bloomberg Aptitude Test. As a long distance runner, Tim’s resolute nature was integral in being placed in the 99th percentile, the highest in SU history.
Michael LaMarche from the Career Center recommended the test to differentiate Tim and build his profile. There were no cons of taking the test, only pros- it didn’t cost any money, and if you fared well, you could become a part of the database of top scorers that recruiters would use when looking potential candidates. Tim had already had a couple of internship postings directed at him.
Before Tim joined the MBA program, he received his accounting degree from SUNY Geneseo. Various internship experiences during his undergraduate career at SUNY Geneseo caught Tim’s interest and led him towards a career in finance. After dabbling in financial advising at Merrill Lynch, Tim learned that he enjoyed providing solutions to a client. He then completed an internship at OppenheimerFunds in Rochester, where he worked with both portfolio managers as well as credit analysts.
After graduating from SUNY Geneseo, Tim came to Whitman to pursue his MBA. He says that one of the most important reasons why he chose Whitman over other programs was that he felt it would provide him with a more individualized experience. “When I visited, I felt comforted knowing that I would be a unique student, as opposed to just a number, or part of the crowd, which tends to happen at some of the other larger programs,” said Timothy. “I was also looking for a name that would stand out. The fact that Whitman provided a very competitive package didn’t hurt, either.”
Building a network and gaining credibility in his field of interest are some of the things that Tim is looking to gain from the Whitman MBA program. He also seeks to broaden his business knowledge by gaining experience in other aspects of business, such as entrepreneurship and real estate. Tim said that Whitman’s MBA program has provided him a greater opportunity to take finance classes that teach the rigorous process of applying theory in real life situations, also known as experiential learning.
In the MBA program, Tim’s coursework includes investment analysis and corporate financial policy and strategy classes, both of which will incorporate experiential learning. “In investment analysis we will actually be helping a portfolio manager manage a portfolio of investments,” Tim described. “Each week we will hold a meeting and use analytical methods to make buy and sell or hold decisions.”
For those interested in taking the Bloomberg Aptitude Test, Tim recommends taking the time to review all sections at least once. “I would also advise them to wait until they have a solid knowledge of finance overall, possibly until the second year by when they would have covered the core finance courses,” Tim suggested. “The test is a combination of general math and aptitude but also focuses heavily on finance and so, having a strong foundation is extremely important. For me, the knowledge I gained by passing all three CFA program examinations really helped me.”
With three and a half years of work experience as an auditor at the State Comptroller’s Office and a top score on the Bloomberg Aptitude Test under his belt, Tim is on the path to a successful career in finance.