Student Profile: Multiple Perspectives
Jon Dunlop ’10
Pre-SOM: Derek Lam Company
Clubs: President, Finance Club; Co-leader, Community Service Club; Cohort representative, Student Government; Captain, Ski & Snowboard Club
Summer internship: Morgan Stanley
Before SOM, I was the head of finance and strategic planning for Derek Lam, which is a women's fashion company based in New York City. In the course of my three years there, we built the company from six people, when I started, to 40 people.
My mother was in the fashion industry, so I had exposure to it from the time I was young. I really enjoy the people; the fashion shows and parties are fun too. It's very global. A small company can really be a worldwide participant. Derek Lam was selling in 45 countries from Japan and Italy to Kazakhstan and Qatar.
After I helped with the sale of the company to a much larger conglomerate, it was a natural point to make a change. I have always been interested in investment banking. Going to business school was a way to make that switch. I was in a great job, there was no point leaving unless I was going to be moving toward something even better, so I looked into the top-flight schools, searching for the best education and path into investment banking. Despite its small size, SOM offers that.
The curriculum really differentiated SOM from the other schools. The multidisciplinary approach is aligned with what you experience in business. As the the head of the finance department at a small company, I was constantly interacting with the sales, production, and PR departments. I’d even work with the designers at times. In order to be a successful leader, you need to understand how the entire organization ties together. That shows up at SOM in the way multiple perspectives are brought to bear on every problem, a marketing class will include an economics component, a course on entrepreneurship brings in an expert on venture capital financing, and the Integrated Leadership Perspective course brings everything together. The curriculum really prepares you to go into a corporation and see the big picture.
I definitely had a non-traditional background coming here, and that really seemed to be appreciated by SOM all the way through from admissions to the career development office. One of the most important relationships I developed at the school is with Kristin Irish in the CDO, first when I was going through the recruiting process and preparing for Super Week, and then continuing with her advice on how to navigate the multiple offers that I received.
Interviewed on April 20, 2009.