A week off from classes to explore Seattle

The benefit of the newly implemented “9 plus 1” format for quarters is the ability to spend time in major markets, meeting leaders in a variety of industries. In our most recent trip to Seattle, the Financial Securities and Analysis Center (FSAC) students had the opportunity to meet alone with specific organizations as well as meet collectively with additional organizations. As a larger group we visited the Bullitt Center, which is considered the most sustainable building on the planet. It was designed to last 250 years and is essentially a high-performance LEED certified building. There is little waste produced by the building and its inhabitants, and a majority of that waste is compostable. The building was designed to be self-sustaining, thus has many incredible features that are also aesthetically pleasing. The building itself is home to the Bullitt Foundation and its legendary CEO, Denis Hayes, among other local groups who have decided to lead the sustainability movement.

The entire group of Oregon MBA’s also spent an afternoon at Microsoft learning about their treasury, sustainability, and venture operations. The corporate treasury session, especially for the finance students, was incredibly informative. Many of their decisions are based on the foundations we have been learning about in class, however they are more commas in Microsoft dollars than we are used to.

A trip made by a smaller group of students was to Davis Wright Tremaine, a leading Northwest law firm. We met with Matt LeMaster, head of the Mergers & Acquisitions department. This visit was particularly insightful considering half of the students in attendance were JD/MBA’s. We were given many pieces of advice, but the one that has stuck was “ignore outside factors and continue to strive for our career goals.” Mr. LeMaster’s advice was in specific context to finding employment immediately upon graduation. Everyone likes to complain about the job market and use it as a crutch or an excuse. But Mr. LeMaster drove home the point that year after year people say the market is struggling, and if you believe them and feed into the negativity, it is only you who is going to suffer. He encouraged us to look past that noise and concentrate on what we really wanted to do with our careers.

The final visit of the trip was a lunch meeting with alumni working in both financial services and corporate finance. This lunch included people in a range of positions at Bank of America as well as the President of Aeris Energy. Each spoke about their path and reiterated a point we had heard many times over the trip; the value of relationships within their own careers. Many of the individuals had worked for different companies within their respective industries, or left the industry altogether, but what brought them back or peaked their interest with a particular organization were their personal connections to that company.

Thank you to all of the organizations that welcomed the Oregon MBA into their offices and for sharing their wisdom!

Written by pmb@uoregon.edu

Paul Butler is a concurrent JD/MBA student at the University of Oregon currently in the Finance and Securities Analysis Center. His goal after he graduates in 2016 is to apply his education within a corporate finance department.