Student Profile: Choosing a Path
Diana Stein í10
Vice Chair Fundraising & Outreach, Women in Management; Budget Officer, Jewish Student Association; CDO Career Coach
Summer internship: Nationwide
Itís not a stretch to say I got into finance because of a bad wrist. I played tennis through college and even competed on the professional circuit both during the summers while at school and for a short while after school. In college, my life had two focuses: tennis and school. I went to Duquesne on a tennis scholarship and planned on playing professionally, but three surgeries on my wrist in two years shortened that aspiration.
I had a really great finance professor who became a mentor to me and introduced me to his friend, who was the senior managing director of PNC in Pittsburgh. I always liked finance, and the friend suggested I interview for a position at PNC. Ultimately, I accepted a job in loan syndication sales and trading so I did both origination work ó raising debt for companies, producing financial models ó and then I traded loans in the secondary market. I loved it there, but I realized about two years in that because of tennis and getting injured, Iíd kind of fallen into a career and needed to step back and really evaluate what I wanted to do. I wanted to choose my path, and business school seemed a good way to do this.
The integrated curriculum really attracted me to SOM. Because of my time at PNC and the fact that I majored in finance and accounting in college, I was coming to school less to learn the hard skills of business than to learn how the many different parts of a business relate to each other. Much of being successful in business comes down to leadership, and as SOM offered the most balanced approach to management education I came across, it was a very easy decision for me to come here.
SOM has been everything I hoped it would be. Iíve been really involved in every aspect of the school. Iím a teaching assistant this year, and Iíve been working on an independent project on the insurance industry. Iím also a co-leader of the Women in Management club and helped put together an event in New York for current students, admitted students, and alumni. I see myself as a kind of finance ambassador to women here. Finance is often seen as a boys club, but I think there are a lot of great opportunities for women in the industry. Thereís no reason why a woman canít be as successful or more successful than a man in that industry as long as youíre passionate about it and you enjoy it and the lifestyle works for you.
When I started at SOM, I assumed Iíd go to Wall Street for my summer internship and I did get a couple of investment banking offers. But the more I thought about it, the more I became intrigued by an offer to be in a finance leadership development program at Nationwide. Itís an insurance company, but it has a private equity arm and an active finance division. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to be on the inside of a corporation and see the ins and outs of how one is run.
My role was to develop productivity and sensitivity analyses around the companyís new distribution strategy. I was amazed at how well SOM prepared me for this through the curriculumís emphasis on understanding how a strategy would affect the organization as whole ó employees, customers, and agents alike ó rather than just completing the analyses in the finance silo.
But that was kind of the point. I was looking for a place where I could explore what I really wanted to do with my life. And thatís what SOM has been.
Interviewed on April 17, 2009.