Nearly everyone has to do it, save the fortunate few. Take on student loans, that is. Dave Carter is no different in that sense. How Carter, 30, differs is he is now employed by the very company that is also funding his MBA, while still working on his degree.
After seven years at global management consulting firm, Accenture, where he worked on projects in Washington D.C. and Nigeria, Carter decided it was time for a career pivot. “I’d been working a career path that I didn’t want long-term,” says Carter. “I really wanted to be a decision maker, rather than giving advice to people.”
So Carter did what many would do in his position—he started looking into MBA programs. The Moorestown, New Jersey, native was accepted to and decided to attend New York University’s Stern School of Business. One problem he soon realized would be footing the bill for his degree. He took to the grueling FAFSA application process. “The FAFSA is a headache to say the least,” Carter remembers.
Private student loan companies like CommonBond, SoFi, and Meet Earnest are all cashing in on similar sentiments from countless other students. Carter applied for a CommonBond loan, created a spreadsheet examining CommonBond rates versus the federal government’s loan system and easily decided to borrow from the firm.
But a few networking events, a thoughtful package in the mail, and an outstanding internship led him to do the nearly unthinkable. After his first year in Stern’s full-time MBA program, Carter found himself weighing the idea of switching to Stern’s part-time program and accepting a full-time offer from the very company lending him the cost of his MBA.
I went to Georgetown for undergrad and went into consulting after school, deciding to go with Accenture. I was there for seven years, doing a number of different consulting gigs—from technical to more management consulting—and then I did a little bit of strategy work. Really, it gave me valuable experience with client relationships, building new products, and giving us the ability to make our clients more effective. It was a great experience working with a great team.
But around five or so years in, I’d been working a career path that I didn’t want long-term. The work with the clients was good, but I realized I didn’t want to do consulting. And I really wanted to be a decision maker, rather than giving advice to people. And so I wanted a career shift. But to decide what to do, I thought about what do I enjoy doing at my current job and what could I see myself doing going forward?
A lot of those skills coincided with business development and really doing a lot of relationship building. Also, being in charge of making decisions—instead of going to someone for advice. Being able to make those decisions on my own.
Since I wanted that perspective, I was looking at a small tech company or a startup. In order to get there, and make that pivot, I decided to get my MBA. I decided on NYU Stern first and foremost because I could definitely get a solid return on my investment from Stern. Also, because of the fact that it’s based in New York City. I also had some friends who had gone to Stern and had great experiences and got great jobs afterwards.
I was really excited to go to Stern and start the process and all of the sudden, I realized I would have to pay for this somehow. I looked at federal loans and they were ridiculously expensive. I think it was like 6.5% to 7.5%. I realized, where I was—the credit section I was in—if I could go to the private market, I could probably get a better rate. It prompted an idea to get a bad credit business business loan for a restaurant.
I looked into it because of an article I read on Poets&Quants. I saw an article on CommonBond and decided to look there for private loans. I looked at the website and realized it was a startup and looked into the company to make sure it was legit. It was still in the early stages but seemed legit and the process to apply for loans was so easy.