2016 Best MBAs: Florian Amann, University of Chicago

Florian Amann Chicago

Florian Amann

 
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Business school has transformed the way I think about business problems in a fundamental way. Every class I took at Booth was taught based on solid economic theory and uses data analysis. Over the two years I was able to integrate the takeaways from the different classes into a rigorous decision-making framework.

Age: 30

Hometown: Hohenems, Austria

Education:

University of Vienna – Magister in Law (class rank 13 out of 546)

Vienna University of Business and Economics – Bachelor of Science in Business, Economics and Social Science, Concentrations in Accounting and Finance (class rank 10 out of 3963)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Deloitte, Vienna, Austria

Manager in Financial Services Industry (FSI) Consulting department

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Goldman Sachs, Investment Banking Division (IBD), Financial Institutions; New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs, Investment Banking Division (IBD), Financial Institutions, Associate; New York, NY

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

Community Work:

  • Investment Banking Group co-chair (30h+ per week)
  • Class Gift steering committee member and Marketing sub-committee head
  • Member of International Student Advisory Council (board of student leaders that advises Career Services on career matters for international students)
  • Organizes regular runs and bike rides as part of the Triathlon and Running Club (TRC)
  • Member of Armed Forces Group

School Honors:

  • Dean’s List (all quarters)
  • Christopher Hayward Alumni Recognition Award Scholarship recipient
  • Merit-based 1898 scholarship recipient
  • Placed 2nd (out of 25+ teams) in Credit Suisse Case Competition

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The incredible placement of the class of 2017 in investment banking. A major part of the internship recruiting process for first year students at Booth is run by second years through the Investment Banking Group. As one of four co-chairs, this was a role where I could really make an impact on the careers of many peers and give back to the community. The strong pay-forward culture is setting Booth apart from other business schools.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Making Manager at a major consulting firm at a very young age and succeeding in the role. I was promoted three times (from Analyst to Consultant, Senior Consultant and Manager) within an unusually short time and got a lot of responsibility early on in my career. It wasn’t always easy to handle the pressure, but it really made me grow as an individual and leader.

Who is your favorite professor? Douglas Diamond if I had to name one, but I had the pleasure of studying with a couple of professors of the same caliber. I took two classes with him: Financial Markets and Institutions and Theory of Financial Decisions II (PhD theoretical corporate finance). He is a true genius and does amazing work on banking, financial intermediation and financial crisis (one famous piece of work is his seminal 1983 paper with Dybvig on bank runs). He is also a great teacher and an incredibly humble individual with a great sense of humor.

Favorite MBA Courses?  Pietro Veronesi – Fixed Income Asset Pricing if I had to name one, but I had around 10-12 really amazing classes (with the remaining 10 “just” being very good). I pick this class because it is true to the Booth tradition of teaching students how to think instead of just facts that will change over time. We used real data and had to price actual securities every week. The take-home final was fun and very challenging: We had to price inflation derivatives without discussing them in class before (we covered TIPS). We had to derive valuation formulas and implement them in MATLAB on our own. It really made me think hard and I actually learned a lot even after the formal end of lectures.

Why did you choose this business school? I probably did not fully appreciate it back then, but the flexible curriculum is the big differentiator. I was able to take advanced classes in my field of interest early on and could develop a skill set that I could not have gotten in a school with a required core. Also, people self-select into courses that they are excited about which makes class discussions very lively.

The finance faculty and course offering is second to none. Booth is definitively THE academic powerhouse in this field. This strength in connection with the flexible curriculum is really powerful. I want to dispel a myth though: Booth is NOT only about finance. It offers strong programming in many fields. Notably, more people graduate with an Entrepreneurship than a Finance concentration. Steven Kaplan and other faculty members do an outstanding job and run a leading accelerator program with the New Venture Challenge (NVC).

The sense of community. The class is very collaborative in every way. First year/second year interaction in recruiting is amazing. I literally sat down with 50+ second years (often multiple times) to understand the intricacies of the recruiting process and the culture and strength of different banks. Also, being in a great city like Chicago makes the social aspects of business school very enjoyable.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Again, the community. I got a lot out of it myself (career wise and personally) and giving back as an IBG co-chair was very fulfilling. I also learned a lot about leading a large group of people in a high stakes environment.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Business school has transformed the way I think about business problems in a fundamental way. Every class I took at Booth was taught based on solid economic theory and uses data analysis. Over the two years I was able to integrate the takeaways from the different classes into a rigorous decision-making framework.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? Recruiting starts very early once you come to campus. Since some of the career paths require a lot of time, recruiting for different functions/industries is not really advisable. It definitively helps to have a good sense of where you want to end up before business school

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Rankings are irrelevant at the margin. Within the elite MBA programs, think more about fit between your personality and career goals and the school’s culture and strengths.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I graduated from undergrad. I always admired the USA (visited 46 states) and knew that I eventually wanted to study and/or work here. I actually planned to come here earlier, but deferred my plans for business school by 1-2 years, because of the career opportunities at my old employer.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing my career in consulting. I had an amazing experience in my previous job.”

What are your long-term professional goals? It might come as a surprise, but I don’t care about money. Choosing interesting challenges over money always paid off for me. If you love what you do, success and money will come eventually. I don’t have a grand plan, but taking on a leadership role within the Investment Banking Division and, eventually, the broader firm at Goldman Sachs seems very appealing to me now.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Luck. I had the good fortune to be born with abilities that are valued in the business world and to parents that instilled a great work ethic and a thirst for knowledge in me. I was lucky to end up being friends with the most driven individuals in undergrad and as a result did a decent job there. I ended up in a career where I could learn from amazing professionals who took a risk on me and gave me a lot of responsibility very early on.

Fun fact about yourself: I have credits for half a bachelor’s degree in wine making, oenology and the business of wine. I am also a very ambitious amateur bartender and used to have a home bar with 200+ spirits.

Favorite book: Fiction: Thomas Mann – Buddenbrooks; Non Fiction: John Rawls – A Theory of Justice (I am very interested in moral and political philosophy)

Favorite movie: The Godfather, Part II (I admit, not a very innovative choice)

Favorite musical performer: I love classical and rap music. Since they are very different, I nominate two: Canadian pianist Glenn Gould whose Bach interpretation are very unique and Jay-Z for his career longevity, talent and business acumen.

Favorite television show: Drama: Justified; Documentary: Chef’s Table.

Favorite vacation spot: It used to be the USA, but I am living here now. Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy is beautiful and has great food and drinks.

Hobbies? I am extremely passionate about ultra-endurance sports. I have competed in many marathons (most recent one Miami in January 2016 in 3:22) and ultra-marathons (basically, races longer than marathon distance, 50-miler Swissalpine Davos is one of my favorites). More recently, I also enjoy long-distance triathlons and I completed two Ironman (Zuerich 2013, Zuerich 2014). I spend a lot of time running and biking on the lakefront in Chicago, one of the best cities to train in the world. Some of my goals are to complete a sub 3:00 marathon, qualify for the Ironman championships in Kona, Hawaii, and run some of the great 100-mile races in the USA (Leadville, Western States, etc.). I was born in the Austrian alps and thus have a passion for any sorts of outdoor sports, especially skiing and mountaineering.

What made Florian such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“An Austrian national with booming voice and warm smile, Florian is a highly-respected classmate who adds tremendous value both inside the classroom through his thoughtful contributions and outside as a student leader and the unofficial face of investment banking at Booth.  Florian is a go-to second-year for many staff members and is part of the inner circle of leaders working with the School to make Booth’s full-time graduating student class gift the most impactful ever.”

Stacey Kole
Clinical Professor and Deputy Dean
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING MBAS