Mentor Program helps Jacob Burns MBA ’08 break into investment banking

Jacob Burns

Back when Jacob Burns (MBA ’08) was a prospective MBA student researching business schools, he knew that an MBA program’s ability to connect him to the business community would be a key factor in his decision about where to enroll.

“It was easy to see how these connections would play a role in my post-MBA career,” Jacob said. “What was not easy to see was the immediate impact it would have on informing which career that would be.”

Jacob credits his MBA mentors not only for opening doors in the Seattle business community, but opening his eyes to the possibilities of a career in investment banking. The insights and guidance he received from mentors Mark Working (MBA ’81, Zachary Scott Investment Bankers), Bob Hord (CIBC Oppenheimer) and Alan Frazier (Frazier Healthcare and Technology Ventures) pointed him toward his first post-MBA job at Goldman Sachs.

“This program has made a difference,” said Jacob, in helping get a new career off the ground. In fact, students consistently rate contacts with mentors through the MBA Mentor Program among their most valuable experiences in the Foster MBA Program. Beyond the classroom, added Jacob, “mentors have the ability to put students in front of deals, situations and people that help crystallize the learning experience.”

For Jacob and small groups of fellow first-year MBA students, Working, Hord and Frazier were invaluable assets. Frazier demonstrated the decision-making process, types of deals and views that informed his firm’s investing strategy. Hord walked them through a comprehensive portfolio analysis and his firm’s capabilities. Working arranged a series of presentations that covered a middle market mergers and acquisitions transaction, including meetings with investment bankers, private equity partners and a deal attorney.

MBA mentors not only provide students with insights into specific industries and career paths. They also model what it is to be a successful businessperson. After the first year in the MBA Program, Jacob continued his mentoring relationship with Mark Working on a one-to-one basis and has stayed in touch after graduation. Earlier, during a summer internship with Goldman Sachs, Jacob was in the Seattle office and took the opportunity to introduce a fellow MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School to Working.

“This fellow MBA – a diehard New Yorker – was trying to weigh the pros and cons of living and working in Seattle. We made our way up to Mark’s office for a half-hour meeting in which the conversation focused on Seattle business and our career goals. After the meeting, we were walking back to the office when this fellow asked me, in that East Coast accent, ‘Hey, Jake, is everybody that friendly here?’ I got a laugh out of that.”

Smart and nice, as Jacob learned from his mentors, is the Seattle way of doing business.