The MBA is a popular bridge to careers in finance and Brendan Crowley, Wharton MBA ’20, sheds light on how Wharton was uniquely supportive in changing his career trajectory. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Brendan explains how the Wharton MBA helped him pursue a role at Bank of America (BofA), the second-largest banking institution in the U.S., offers insights into his internship there and gives advice for current MBA students.
Brendan Crowley, Wharton MBA ’20, Mergers & Acquisitions at Bank of America
Hometown: Wooster, Ohio
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Ohio Northern University, English
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 2020, Finance and Accounting.
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Seven years in startups
Post-MBA Work Experience: Two years in Finance
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I wanted to meet fascinating people, do incredible things and change my career trajectory.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There are too many reasons to list, but off the top of my mind, one of them was Wharton’s excellent career placement track record, especially in the finance industry. I was also drawn to the curriculum’s quantitative focus, and the school’s unique partnership with the Penn School of Arts and Sciences, which enables a student to earn two master’s degrees in two years via The Lauder Institute.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Every aspect of Wharton helps students of all backgrounds be successful in their careers. The best-in-class careers team, extensive alumni network and intensive quantitative curriculum help students to both place into the career they want and be prepared to excel when they begin that career.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned as a Summer Associate at BofA Securities’ Mergers & Acquisitions team, received a full-time offer at the end of the summer and I have been working in the same team since. The internship confirmed the high opinion I had of the team and my belief that I would be successful here.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
BofA Securities’ first-class banking platform, extensive Wharton alumni network and career development opportunities within the bank made my decision easy.
How has COVID-19 impacted your industry/career plans?
COVID-19 reinforced how important mentorship and other social aspects of work are to me.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Interview as much as possible; the connections and knowledge you gain by interviewing well are invaluable.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Spend the time and money to invest in an apartment that can host dinner parties for six people. At least once a month, invite two of your friends over for dinner and ask them to each invite two people you have not met yet to the dinner.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
No. BofA Securities and Wharton have a tried and true process for ensuring candidates will be successful in the recruiting process and in their career.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Everyone’s pre- and post-MBA journey is unique to their experience. Stay focused on your goals and your MBA will help you achieve those goals if you put in the work.