Meet Brandon Monteith
Degree: M.A. in Management
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
After fours years of undergraduate work at Wake Forest, Brandon decided to enroll in the Master of Arts in Management program to supplement his liberal arts background with a strong foundation in the principles of business. “I know that a new set of analytical skills, along with my background in communication and journalism, will leave me more prepared and marketable to employers down the road,” he says. Following graduation, Brandon will move to Dallas, Texas to work as a financial analyst for PepsiCo – Frito Lay.
Q: What class did you enjoy most and why?
A: My favorite course during the program was Financial Accounting because of the safe learning environment, the applicable concepts, and most importantly, Professor Yvonne Hinson. As one of the first quantitative courses we dove into early in the program, it was a great deal of fun learning brand new material from someone so passionate about the subject. Not only was the coursework pertinent to many careers in business, it was easy to learn it from Professor Hinson. I enjoyed her teaching style so much that I would call her some evenings during peak-recruitment season to brush-up on concepts I speculated would come up in interview questions.
Q: Describe your fellowship with PepsiCo.
A: I participated in a fellowship with PepsiCo’s Diversity & Inclusion department, so I traveled to Chicago, Ill., to work on a project to automate their business processes. Through this experience, I learned the importance of working on a team, how to balance differing opinions, and that it takes going through several obstacles and unreliable contacts to get to a desired end result.
Q: What happened during business school that was unexpected?
A: Near the beginning of the program, my father became seriously ill, which required me to travel back and forth quite a bit over the past several months. My family is the most important part of my life, and I did everything I could to both be at home and stay on top of my schoolwork. He passed away not long ago, which made things much harder on my family. Although this loss is tough and incomparable to anything I have experienced in my life, I can keep going day-to-day knowing that he is always watching over me with an encouraging smile. He gave me everything — now everything I do is for him.
Q: Describe your volunteer experience.
A: My most rewarding volunteer experience this year was spending a Saturday working with Black Achievers, an academic achievement and career development initiative for middle school and high school students. That day, I helped teach a finance class to a small group of students who were aspiring entrepreneurs. After we established the type of companies they wanted to start, we went through a list of potential costs they might incur when opening the business. Once they realized how much capital they would need to raise to get started, I posed as an investor and asked them qualifying questions before ultimately “investing” in their companies. I had a great time hanging out with the kids and it was very inspiring to see such intelligent, motivated young people. They will one day will take the world by storm.
Q: What is the most dramatic change you’ve undergone during business school?
A: The most dramatic change I have undergone during my graduate studies is re-adjusting to an academic focus after such a tough personal loss. Somehow finding the motivation to finish my coursework after my father’s passing was extremely difficult to do, but the love and support of all of my friends made everything much more tolerable.
Q: Who are your biggest cheerleaders?
A: My family has been my biggest, and loudest, cheerleading squad along the path to my degree. They constantly call to check on me, send encouraging messages to help me get through tough times, and always remind me of the importance of doing well and finishing strong. Their love throughout this ten-month period was palpable, and ultimately I will get this degree for all of us.