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From a war zone to MSU

Photo: Thomas Goddard
Thomas Goddard
Class of 2010
Concentrations:  Finance

I left a war zone to come to Broad. My previous work had been with the U.S. Embassy in the country of Georgia, where I worked as a political analyst. Two days after I left my wife, who works in Georgia with the Peace Corps, and two young daughters, war broke out between Georgia and Russia. While I had great confidence that my colleagues at the embassy would ensure that my family remained safe, the turn of events obviously made a stressful situation – switching careers, leaving my family for a time, and beginning a rigorous MBA program – that much more stressful. I’m very grateful for the tremendous amount of support from my classmates and Broad staff during this difficult time. To me, their support epitomizes what it means to be a Broad MBA, reflecting the collaborative, team-based learning and cooperative spirit evident throughout my first semester here.

School-life has been tough. The first semester was difficult academically and time became precious, but it was certainly not unmanageable. The first month is the hardest with beginning classes and the start of corporate recruiting. In addition to having an extra class (the excellent Leadership and Teamwork), you also have to start networking and looking for a summer internship. The immediacy and intensity of the internship search was a surprise – you are literally researching and interviewing with companies a few weeks into the program – so completing the summer tasks you receive from Career Services to help you prepare for the onslaught is definitely worth the effort.

My internship search was somewhat complicated by the fact that I am a career switcher, changing from political analysis to corporate finance, an area where I had no previous experience (I have a BA and MA in History). The Career Services Center at Broad did an excellent job helping me tailor my resume to a corporate audience and the core MBA courses in Accounting and Finance ensured that I could speak intelligently about the net present value of a project and perform an adequate break-even analysis for corporate recruiters. In fact, in mid-November, I accepted an internship for the upcoming summer in finance from General Motors. The work will be completely different from what I was doing before, but Broad has done an excellent job of helping me prepare for this new challenge.

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