October 06, 2023 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business
About a year ago, Dylan Powell wouldn’t have been able to land his dream job.
But while earning his Master of Finance degree at the Merage School, Powell learned necessary skills and made crucial connections to work in the financial industry. He learned from world class faculty with real world experience, gained critical experience at two internships, and networked with alumni in the local business community.
Now he’s getting ready to start a new job as an investment banking analyst at the highly regarded firm, Roth MKM in Newport Beach.
“Investment banking is a very difficult industry to break into, and I would have had a very difficult time entering this career track without a degree from the Merage School,” Powell said.
The power of networking
The San Francisco native decided to leave his hometown to attend the yearlong MFin program because of the quality of education and accelerated coursework. He wanted a way to quickly gain all the tools he needed to start a career in the financial industry. The school’s STEM focus would also provide him with a competitive advantage over other applicants because it emphasizes mathematics, an essential part of finance.
He didn’t expect that a particularly valuable component of the program would be the networking opportunities, which helped him land two internships and a job.
“I learned countless times throughout the year how valuable my connection with the Merage School would be for my career,” Powell said.
Very quickly, Powell experienced this when he got an investment banking analyst internship at Janes Capital Partners in Irvine. He was connected with the company when a representative from Janes Capital presented during a career class in the MFin program.
Powell gained crucial experience at the company while working on live mergers and acquisitions deals. He has also helped with backend work, such as updating databases that are used for building financial models.
“I think they really valued my UCI background and skill set that I had developed over the last year,” Powell said. “The connections and network you build at UCI is invaluable. I have made sure to connect not just with students and alumni, but with business leaders too. The Merage School is really plugged into the business community and that opens up so many doors for students like me.”
Hungry to learn
Following his time at Janes, Powell joined the Roth research team as an intern in June, where he worked closely with Merage School alumni Matt Koranda and Kamal Masud, both MBA ’12. With their shared Merage School connection, Powell learned important skills from Koranda as he walked him through the equity research side of the business.
“Dylan brought a lot of enthusiasm to the team,” Koranda said. “He was hungry to learn and quickly got up to speed to contribute to the research team.”
Powell excelled during the internship, utilizing his newfound networking and financial skills. In particular, Powell relied on financial modeling and analysis techniques that he learned during the MFin program.
Powell noted that he greatly benefitted from being able to learn these methods from professors with experience in the industry.
“You can have full confidence in yourself when you’ve been taught these methods by professors who have actually been out there and done this work,” Powell said. “My professors have been really helpful resources for me when I’ve needed to bounce ideas off of someone or when I’ve needed guidance.”
Powell also used the networking skills he honed during his time at the Merage School to connect with Roth employees. Coupled with his exemplary performance, these relationships proved to be useful when he recently received an offer letter for a banking analyst position at the company.
When he received the letter, Powell was elated that his hard work had paid off. However, he made sure to take advantage of the Merage School’s Career Center, where a counselor walked him through the offer before he signed.
Starting mid-September, Powell will be working on mergers and acquisitions on the company’s technology team. In the short-term, he plans to focus on learning from his colleagues.
“I’m really going to be a sponge and just learn as much as possible,” Powell said. “In the long-term, I aim to become a well-respected and reliable member of the organization.”