Meet Wharton’s MBA Class Of 2020

Thurgood Powell

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“Blue-collar grit, white-collar experiences.”

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve won three Pennsylvania State Judo Championships.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pomona College, Economics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

PIMCO – Senior Associate

PIMCO – Associate

RBC Capital Markets – Investment Banking Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Before I joined PIMCO, the firm’s Client Solutions and Analytics group modeled the risk of tax-exempt United States infrastructure investments (municipal bonds) with only one risk factor. Having helped in executing over $3 billion in municipal bond underwritings as an Investment Banking Analyst, I knew there were many potential municipal risk factors depending on the type and mix of municipal investments in a portfolio. I expressed these concerns to my superiors and they greenlighted my efforts to coalesce the talents of multiple colleagues to revamp the firm’s municipal risk analytics. PIMCO can now evaluate client portfolios with a robust set of municipal risk factors, advancing PIMCO’s brand as a municipal bond thought leader.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Competitive business schools are like effective startup incubators. Both have limited spots and both decide admission to its community based on their determination of their ability to help you achieve your goals, plus their determination of what you can contribute to their community. Thus, it is critical to communicate in essays how your potential acceptance is mutually beneficial for both yourself and the school to which you seek admission.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I felt Wharton’s curriculum would be the best for augmenting my leadership and business acumen. Each class I attended throughout the admissions process was impactful. I was generally impressed with how succinctly professors combined quantitative and qualitative analysis to teach relevant concepts, and the rigor with which conclusions were formed.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success? Top-of-mind is feeling as if I’m immersed within the Wharton community and have made meaningful friendships with classmates. I also hope to secure an internship I’m excited about, explore the great Philadelphia food scene, and take advantage of the many international trips facilitated by Wharton.

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