2015 Best MBAs: Derek Rey

Derek Rey-Darden-PoetsAndQuants

Derek Rey


University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

From marine captain to investment banker, Derek Rey epitomizes the transformative nature of graduate business education. At Darden, Rey was the portfolio manager for the Darden Capital Management (the program’s student-run investment management organization) and a member of the admissions committee, where he often interviewed prospective admits. The recipient of several academic scholarships and fellowships, Rey is also known for being the Director of the Cold Call Chorus, Darden’s very own singing ensemble.

Age: 31

Hometown: Vallejo, California

Undergraduate School: University of Southern California

Undergraduate Degree: B.A., Political Science

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Marine Corps – Infantry Officer (Captain)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Barclays – New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Investment Banking Associate at Barclays

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was on a ship in the Pacific Ocean in the winter of 2012, one of four overseas deployments during my seven-year career in the Marine Corps. While I found leading Marines and serving my country rewarding, I had been contemplating what my future would be like if I stayed in the military, how many more of these deployments I might have, and how many more holidays and important events I might miss in the future. I decided that I wanted to change careers, and after talking to fellow veterans who had gone to business school and come out with great careers, I decided that business school was the route I wanted to pursue as well.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…probably still serving in the Marine Corps, maybe as an infantry company commander.”

What are your long-term professional goals? After a few years in investment banking, I would someday like to run my own business.

Favorite Courses: Financial Management and Policies, Financial Institutions and Markets, Mergers and Acquisitions

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Serving as a Portfolio Manager for Darden Capital Management has been an extremely valuable experience. It’s given me the opportunity to work within a team that manages real funds in an equity portfolio. It has enabled me to learn about investing by actually doing it, verses reading about it in a textbook. It’s the kind of first-hand learning that is at the core of the Darden experience, and it’s been an honor and a privilege to be selected for this opportunity.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my parents, Rafael and Diosidita, who throughout my youth instilled in me the importance of hard work and education. They helped me to build the professional foundation that has enabled me to succeed in my professional life. I also want to thank my wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Aria. Without their constant love and support, I would not have been able to pursue the career transition from the military to the business world.

Why did you choose this business school? Darden’s case method really stood out to me during the application process. I knew that this type of education required a lot more preparation than the traditional lecture method of instruction, but I was sure that this was the best way for me to learn the skills I would need to make decisions in the business world. Darden’s tight-knit community and collaborative culture were unlike those of any other business school that I had visited. Coming to business school with a family, I wanted to make sure that I could go somewhere my family could thrive. Darden has such a rich, diverse community that is very welcoming to students (and families) from many different backgrounds. Darden seemed to offer everything that we were looking for.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The people I’ve met during business school have made this experience truly transformative. The relationships I’ve developed with classmates and their families, professors, staff, alumni, and members of the Darden community extend far beyond the walls of the business school. I look forward to nurturing these relationships and keeping in touch with people whom I’ve met through the Darden network long after graduation.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? One of the rites of passage in the Darden classroom is the “cold call”, when the professor selects a student who is expected to lay out a business decision that needs to be made in the particular case. That student is then expected to walk through his methodology and assumptions regarding the business decision, and he is then expected to field a series of questions from the professor and classmates that will move the discussion forward. I had been exposed to my fair share of stressful situations in my military career, but the cold calls always challenged me and pushed me to do better.

I fumbled through a couple of cold calls during the first year core curriculum with varying degrees of confidence, but my most memorable moment at Darden was the day that I finally knew that I knocked a cold call out of the park. It was during the very last term of my first year in my Valuation class. I got the cold call, and was very well-prepared for what happened next. I was able to walk the class through the problem, my methodology, and was even able to field questions afterwards. This was the turning point of my first year. It gave me a level of confidence that would carry me through my summer internship and through my second year until graduation.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a karaoke fanatic. During our school’s annual charity auction, some students auction off tickets to small events and parties and then donate the proceeds to the charity. My wife and I have hosted a “Wine, Cheese, and Karaoke” night at our house for two years in a row, and it’s been a blast.

Favorite book: “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield

Favorite movie: “A Few Good Men”

Favorite musical performer: Flea

Favorite television show: Shark Tank

Favorite vacation spot: Lake Tahoe, CA

What are your hobbies? Running after a toddler

Twitter Handle: derekrey0302

What made Derek such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Within hours of being admitted to Darden, Derek Rey emailed the Admissions Office a picture of himself holding his daughter who was wearing Darden booties. In the photo, Derek was beaming, and since that photo he hasn’t stopped. He is the picture of someone who has truly embraced the Darden experience – he has excelled not only in the classroom and career search, but also in student clubs like Darden Capital Management, the Darden Military Association, and the school’s singing ensemble, the Cold Call Chorus.

Over his two years in business school, Derek has served on the Student Admissions Committee. In his first year, he helped plan and lead Darden’s admitted student events – in this important role he coordinated with our sponsors and introduced prospective students to the Darden experience. In his second year, he continued to introduce prospective candidates to Darden through helping in admissions’ marketing initiatives and also interviewing candidates. Even with a broken tibia last week, Derek continued to bring his positive attitude and perspective on Darden to admissions events. He brings new levels of energy and enthusiasm to all that he does and is the definition of a team player.

The Darden experience is based on three key principles – case method, faculty, and network, and Derek excels in all three. He is an active participant in the classroom – bringing his past experience from the Marine Corps to the discussion. As one of his faculty members, I can attest to the fact that Derek builds relationships with both mentors and peers exceedingly well and has committed to getting to know his faculty. Finally, Derek has utilized the alumni network to gets his job at Barclays for after graduation and make that transition to finance AND he has given back to the network by mentoring first year students and applicants. Derek makes those around him better and Darden is a better place because of him.”

Sara E. Neher, Admissions Dean

Best of 2015

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