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About MBA Math - Board of Advisors

The MBA Math Board of Advisors consists of current MBA students from top MBA programs who used the MBA Math course before starting business school. As experts in the MBA first year experience, they are uniquely positioned to provide guidance and feedback on priorities for improving and extending the MBA Math course.

Below, they introduce themselves, their pre-MBA efforts, and their first-year experience.


Kate Canale, Darden School of Business at University of Virginia, Class of 2009



Michael Converse, Anderson School of Business at University of California at Los Angeles, Class of 2009

I have spent the last 8 years, after graduating from Harvard University, working in feature film production and development for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Studios. Most recently, I completed an internship at Comerica Bank. Through my career in the entertainment industry, I gained experience solving unique business problems in a high pressure environment, through relationship building, content development, project management, financial analysis, and creative problem solving.

MBA Math was essential in preparing me for business school. After I passed out of the statistics requirement at Harvard University as an undergraduate I spent my time focused largely on humanities-based liberal arts courses. Additionally, I had been out of the academic world for close to 8 years before I decided to seek a graduate degree in business at UCLA Anderson. Needless to say it had been a long time between quantitative courses for me. MBA Math gave me a structured, go-at-your-own-pace outlet for me to prepare for the first semester of business school. The early preparation not only allowed me to avoid getting lost but also enabled me to understand and enjoy more of what was being taught. I, with my classmates, found the first semester at UCLA Anderson to be intensely academically rigorous and demanding. I know that being able to prepare for it in the spare time leading up to the fall allowed me to excel AND to enjoy the amazing experience.


Jelka Dasent, McCombs School of Business at University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2009

After college, I joined Price Waterhouse where I worked as an intern and pursued my chartered accountancy exams, graduating as a Chartered Accountant. I then went on to obtain 12 years of industry experience in the manufacturing and banking sectors, where I gained solid analytical and problem solving skills. I have been responsible for identifying and resolving financial reporting issues, as well as generating innovative methods to improve processes. Finally, before coming back to graduate school, I took on a team leadership role, in the restructuring and sale of the credit card and retail segments of the bank in which I was employed.

I am now in my second semester, as a first year MBA student, at The McCombs School of Business at University of Texas at Austin. The MBA Math internet tool was instrumental to my smooth transition to graduate school. After completing the first semester and doing very well, I was pleased with the time that I invested working through the respective mbamath modules. This internet tool allowed me to learn essential elements of the core that I was unfamiliar with and to revise topics that I had previous exposure to, all at my own pace.

After completing the first and debatably the most challenging semester, I would strongly recommend that all incoming MBA candidates use this tool both before school starts and certainly during the first year, as needed. I guarantee that students who use this user-friendly learning tool will be at a definite advantage if the essential quantitative skills are well known.


Jessica Grote, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2009

I am a second year MBA student at Washington University’s Olin Business School. I graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I served as President of the Women in Architecture organization and studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Before returning to graduate school, I worked at an engineering firm and was highly involved in my community as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and United Way. Now at Olin, I am concentrating in Brand Management and Marketing Consulting/Strategy while serving as President of the Olin Marketing Association.

As an MBA student with a non-business background, I found MBA Math to be particularly helpful. The lessons gave me a comprehensive overview of the quantitative work that would be performed during the core curriculum of the program. MBA Math is unique in that it provides the flexibility to work at one’s own pace to meet personal objectives. It’s a great transition to graduate school.


Joshua Izzard, Graduate School of Business at University of Chicago, Class of 2009

I am a first year full-time MBA student at Chicago GSB. I hold undergraduate- and graduate-level degrees from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, which I completed as a concert pianist--so it is true that people from all professions do go to top MBA programs.

In addition to my extensive performing career, I have many years of experience in entrepreneurship, finance (most recently as an equities trader) and direct investment in Russia, where I spent nine years after leaving my native United States. While my education up to MBA level had been entirely musical, I had considerable exposure to quantitative material at work and was thus not too unprepared for the rigors of an MBA.

As I had thought of going into investment banking after business school, I thought that Chicago GSB would be an excellent school to go to based on both its reputation in finance and on its placement rates. I have been consistently surprised by the quantitative rigor of courses at GSB, and have needed Excel in all of my classes thus far. Calculus has proven necessary in exactly half of my courses, statistics in all courses (in some form or another). I plan to expand on these comments on the MBA Quant blog.

My experience during the first two quarters at Chicago GSB has been immeasurably enhanced by the fact that I spent the time necessary to go through all of the sections and problems on MBA Math. In fact, I continue to use it as a reference or reminder of certain things even though we have gone into greater depth long since. I cannot recommend this course enough.


Amos Peverill, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, Class of 2010

After years of bumping the glass ceiling, I started planning on going back to school for an MBA, but, when I saw what was about to happen to our economy, I decided to move the plan up to immediate status. This is a great time to be retooling and investing in your mind, especially if you come from a finance or real estate related business, and that certainly includes me.

I’ve been in the realm of commercial real estate for awhile, so TVM calculations were not unfamiliar, but the MBA Math program was a great tool for revisiting the core quant areas that I’ve been using this year at the Pamplin Business College at Virginia Tech. Pamplin’s program is strong on the quantitative side, particularly for a finance concentration, so I would rate MBA Math as an important investment in my success so far. I finished my first semester with a 3.94 GPA while carrying an overload of courses, and I found it really helped to get a running start by revisiting the concepts in a very targeted fashion.

I’m interested in global issues in business and finance and am excited about the possibilities that are opening up for me.

I wish you all the success you plan for and welcome you to a great and challenging experience.


Amber Rieg, Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, Class of 2010

I attended Wake Forest University where I majored in Communications and played varsity volleyball. My first job was with the Baltimore Orioles, where I was responsible for VIP ticket sales during the 2003 baseball season. In 2004, I moved to Boston and began working for a communications consulting firm where my responsibilities included: managing the development and execution of a range of marketing communications strategies as primary client contact for corporate and political campaigns, creating and implementing crisis communications and strategic plans, authoring op-eds and letters to the editor and representing corporations as spokesperson for print, radio and television interviews.

I am currently a first year student at the Johnson School participating in the Strategic Brand Immersion. Because my background was not quant-heavy, before beginning classes at the Johnson school, I used MBA Math to learn the fundamental quantitative skills that were needed throughout my first year.


Michael Shannon, Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, Class of 2010

I am a first year student at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. I hold an undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio where I majored in English Literature. To say that an MBA degree is a bit different from an English background is an understatement. However, I have found that the communication skills that are developed as a liberal arts student have proven to be an asset. Before I came to Notre Dame, I worked for a greeting card company as a sales manager. I currently am concentrating in the marketing and consulting business areas, where I hope to pursue a career in this area.

Not having the quantitative background, I needed a primer before I immersed myself in business school. MBA Math proved to be quite valuable as a way to get a head start. Excel, balance sheets, and equity were all foreign terms that I needed to master rather quickly at ND, and MBA Math certainly reviews these topics thoroughly.

Like many business schools, Notre Dame is no different in that it will challenge you in ways that are unheard of as an undergraduate, or the "real world" for that matter. Once your orientation begins, prepare to be overwelmed. MBA Math helped me to get the fundamentals down, which were vital to my success. I stand behind MBA Math, and encourage you to try it.


R'Kes Starling, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, EMBA Class of 2010

After I graduated from pharmacy school from Purdue University, I became a registered pharmacist. Over the last nine years, I have been in various leadership roles in healthcare. As a result, I began to informally gain basic fundamentals of business accounting and finance. As my level of responsibilities increased, it became ever more important to formally sharpen my competencies in Excel, accounting, finance and statistics. Therefore, I decided to seek greater knowledge and understanding.

Unlike the other MBA Math Advisors, I am enrolled in an Executive MBA program at Kellogg (Miami Campus). As a part of the admission process, I was encouraged by the Admission Committee to take the MBA Math on-line course to demonstrate my quantitative latitude and to prepare for the rigorous quantitative courses. Again, due to the pharmacy curriculum, I had never taking accounting/finance courses and I was really concerned about keeping up in the accelerated program. After successful completion of the course, I was granted admission to the Kellogg program.

Due to having a non-business background, I have found the MBA math course to be extremely helpful. More specifically, in my Accounting and Statistic courses, I felt very knowledgeable about the basic fundamentals and was able to spend more time on the core business concepts. Also, I have used MBA Math as a resource to refresh my knowledge in methodologies leading up to particular courses. The “go at your own” pace option allowed me greater flexibility and convenience.

Overall, I am strongly satisfied with the math lessons that MBA Math provided and would highly recommend this course as comprehensive overview for any MBA program.


Anne Thompson, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Class of 2009

As someone who hadn’t solved a math problem since high school I owe my admission to the Tuck Class of 2009 to MBA Math. During the admission process I relied on MBA Math as an additional indicator of my quantitative abilities. In preparing for the first year core curriculum at Tuck, going through MBA Math again provided me with the confidence and the necessary tools to stay up-to-speed with my classmates.

Professionally I have spent the past six years as a non-profit fundraiser – first for a small arts-based non-profit in New York City, and then on a larger scale as a major gift officer for Yale University, my own alma mater. In my job I relied on Excel more as a recording tool than as a partner in solving complex calculations and valuations. The MBA Math program helped ease me into the “language of business school” and allowed me to see the value in developing basic proficiency in key areas. This is not to say that the Tuck core curriculum was made easy after taking MBA Math, but rather it was made manageable and I had a familiarly with the material that allowed me to come up the learning curve faster during the term. MBA Math, and Professor Regan in particular have my full endorsement!


Andrew Troisi, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2010

After deciding to attend Wharton, I wanted to prepare for what I knew would be a very analytical and rigorous program. Coming from a “non-traditional” background, I sought a fundamental knowledge of the accounting, statistics and finance topics that are a central part of the first year curriculum. MBA Math offered that, and more. Working through the material on my own allowed me to put extra emphasis on unfamiliar material. The course topics were clearly outlined and the lectures and exercises gave a nice overview of the content I encountered in greater depth when the academic year began. On more than one occasion during the school year, I logged back in to MBA Math for a quick refresher. The first year (and particularly the first semester) MBA curriculum was very fast paced – I strongly believe taking the time to familiarize myself with the basics was a prudent decision.

I recently completed my first year at Wharton, where I am majoring in finance and strategic management. Prior to business school, I was a press secretary for the City of New York.


Click here to view bios and testimonials from past members of the MBA Math Board of Advisors

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