Brandeis International Business School

Hitesh Sharma, MSF’21: Professors are mentors as well as leaders

Hitesh SharmaWhy did you choose Brandeis International Business School?

Brandeis just clicked with me. The financial aid was great and there were lots of career-related resources. Before enrolling I took a mock class with Professor Grace Zimmerman and talked to Career Strategies and Engagement staff and absolutely loved it.


How would you describe the learning environment and support services at the International Business School?  

Brandeis has countless resources and almost everyone (alumni, friends, professors, staff) will be a resource if you just ask. The professors have open-door policies. They’ll not only spend one-on-one time with you to help with your classes but also connect you to people in the industry to help you with your professional pursuits.

The professors themselves have been industry leaders in their field, so classes are always super interactive with lively discussions about real-world case studies. They’re also kind and understanding about the workload that comes with being a graduate student, so if you’re struggling, you can always talk to them and they’ll do their best to accommodate you. We all struggle at times, and it’s good to know that Brandeis has mental health resources as well and there’s absolutely no stigma attached to fully using them. 

How did your learning experience at Brandeis help you in your career path?

Both inside and outside classes, we tackle real-world issues. This mix of academic and practical approach is what makes Brandeis's education special. We don’t sit through two hours of lectures; we discuss, respectfully debate and ask questions in class.

In one of my favorite classes, Private Equity, we built real models for the case studies based on assumptions for which we needed to have a good rationale. The best part was when the professor invited the people who actually worked on the case to speak to us about how it actually played out. My favorite final exam experience was doing a simulation for Private Equity where we built our assumptions into the model and then negotiated with someone else in the class. This global, real-world approach to education is hard to find anywhere else. These experiences really helped us to critically think and not just memorize, and learn specific skills like Excel or programming.

What are you doing in your current role, and what knowledge, skills, or experiences from your time at Brandeis are you using in your job?

I work as an investment analyst, mostly with equity and fixed-income products. The skills I learned in corporate finance and fixed-income classes really help me understand the portfolios we build for our clients. I did not come from a finance background so I had no idea what a DCF or a duration or a yield curve was. Now I work with them almost every day. We talk about inflation at Brandeis, we debate about ESG, we learn how to calculate Sharpe ratios and talk about modern portfolio theory. All these concepts I use at work on a daily basis.

What should prospective students know about the International Business School?

You’ll be with people from all over the world, and I assure you that you’re not going to see eye to eye with them on everything. That’s the beauty of diversity at Brandeis — you realize how you have so much to learn from and teach each other. It’s very common to not be in the same ideological or economic or philosophical place, but what’s amazing is how you’ll find so many intersections despite these differences.

Make an active effort to learn and teach each other; the best outcomes in life are achieved by making friends and not adversaries. Participate in and organize events, start a new club, join clubs, talk to career coaches, schedule time with professors to talk about anything and everything. There are many great things waiting outside your comfort zone and Brandeis is the place to explore them.

Master of Science in Finance
Class of 2021

Investment Analyst, BlackRock

Previous Experience
Analyst, Morgan Stanley

Undergraduate Degree
Goshen College, Accounting and Liberal Arts

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