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MSF Program Alumni Profile and Spotlight: Melina Reyes

"I Felt Like I Was Part of the Industry, Even As a Student"

Yépez

Melina Reyes-Yépez, MSF '15
Dominican Republic

Melina Reyes-Yépez has always been practical about her career. From an early age, she admired her parents for their positive, can-do attitude, which inspired her to achieve her goals regardless of circumstances. Melina studied economics at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in the Dominican Republic before working in credit risk management, and while the study of finance had always piqued her interest, she was aware that opportunities to further her knowledge in the United States were key to advancing her status in the field. 

Melina sought a graduate finance program that went beyond theory – and quickly discovered the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). The curricular flexibility, real-world exposure and career development opportunities all led Melina to pursue her MSF degree and graduate in 2015. She currently works at Deloitte in the financial advisory services (FAS) division as a senior consultant. 

You came to Brandeis as an international student. Tell us about that experience.

Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, I was used to traveling frequently to the United States. However, traveling to and living in a foreign country are two different things. Luckily, the people at Brandeis IBS are a small family and very welcoming. It’s a very multicultural environment, and so everyone is in the same position. Everyone is looking to make connections and very open to learn about other cultures. Orientation was a great experience since I got to know my professors and my classmates before transitioning into academics. Within two weeks of arriving, I already felt like I belonged.

What kind of career advantage were you seeking in pursuing the MSF degree?

I studied economics as an undergraduate but always had an interest in and passion for finance. During my time working in credit risk, I wanted to see what else was out there, thus studying finance in a mature market like the United States seemed like the ideal next step. I enrolled in the MSF program not just to advance my career with a master’s degree, but because I wanted exposure to and an understanding of other fields within finance that I wasn’t yet aware of. Brandeis IBS was a good step in helping me to move forward. 

When you look back, what elements of your graduate education stand out to you?

At Brandeis IBS, you’re in classes with people who are just as good as you or even better – which keeps things challenging. I particularly enjoyed my private equity class with Professor Mike McKay. He’s a founding partner at Bain Private Equity, and he structures the class and cases in a way that makes you feel like you are part of the industry, even as a student. It was amazing to have someone with hands-on experience in the field explaining it to you.

Tell us about your job at Deloitte. How did you get there, and what does your typical day look like?

My internship while at Brandeis IBS, which was at an investment banking boutique firm in Boston, helped me realize that I wanted to pursue a career related to investment banking or consulting. I spent a lot of time after that looking through LinkedIn and making connections while applying for jobs, which landed me at Deloitte in the Dominican Republic. One of the things I love about my job is that I don’t have a typical day or week. I spend time advising boards of directors in their decision-making process, performing valuations, working on mergers and acquisitions deals and other aspects of finance.

What advice do you have for current MSF students?

Take equal time to study and to apply for jobs, and alongside that, don’t be afraid of networking. Being in graduate school is not just about academic and technical knowledge. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, even if they are senior to you professionally. Ask questions and connect with your professors – they are a great resource to help you figure out which field you might be interested in as you pursue your career. Overall, remember to have fun during your time at Brandeis IBS. It really does fly by!