Student Profile: The Novelist
Dave Bledin '09
Co-leader Canadian Club, Co-leader Media and Entertainment Club
Summer Internship: MTV
Itís not uncommon for people to ask me what Iím doing at business school. I wrote a novel that was essentially a satire of investment banking, and effectively burned all my bridges in that industry. But itís not that I donít like business; itís just that an investment bank wasnít the right fit for me. A lot of my classmates here at SOM love finance and for them investment banking is perfect. Instead, after banking, I ended up in an economic consulting firm and really enjoyed being there.
My book, Bank, came out in 2007, a few months before I enrolled at SOM. Iíve always been a writer, and every few months I send out mass emails to keep in touch with people. When I was working at the investment bank, I wrote a particularly sarcastic and bitter email detailing a day in the life on the bottom rung of the ladder. My friends thought it was pretty funny, sent it to their friends, and so on, until it reached the inbox of a reporter on the National Post. From there, it just took off. The reporter wrote a story, which was linked to by a lot of blogs online. An agent in New York read one of the posts and traced it back to me. He suggested I turn the e-mail into a novel and it went from there.
I donít see myself being a writer for a career. Itís a little too risky for my tastes. And my dad is in business and so the seeds of a businessman were germinated within me at a young age. I really enjoy both the quantitative and qualitative sides of things, and I think in business you can play to both of those strengths. At the economic consulting firm where I worked after the bank, I reached a point where youíre expected to get a PhD in economics to move up from an analyst to an associate. I had no interest in a PhD, and I was definitely at a crossroads. It turned out that both the CEO of my firm and one of the principals I worked closely with and respected tremendously were SOM alumni. They were both really passionate people, with an ability to synthesize information on a level you rarely see. I used them as a sounding board when thinking about next steps and they recommended, ďGo and really look at SOM. Itís not the kind of place where youíll feel pushed into banking or consulting. Itís smaller and thereís a great sense of community.Ē So I visited and met with people, and the more I learned about the school, the more I saw it was a perfect fit for me.
One of things I like best about SOM is the importance placed on teaching leadership, especially through the Leadership Development Program. SOM also spends a lot of time teaching you how to tell your story, which I think is a great way to approach it, because not only does it make you more marketable when out there looking for a job, but it forces you to really think, ďIs this what I want my story to be?Ē And you realize that you can only articulate your story best if itís honest and sincere, if it comes straight from the gut. When I came to school, my thought was I would move into the media sphere, an industry that could serve as a bridge between the creative and the analytical. I landed an internship with MTV Networks, in its strategy/business development group. Itís pretty much my dream internship. I have no doubt it was my experience at SOM that got me to a very great place. I think my b-school experience is going to make a great next chapter in my story.
Interviewed on April 11, 2008