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Master’s In Finance: Justine Buries, Georgetown (McDonough)

Student Name: Justine Buries

Graduate Business School: Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Thrives on challenges, adds value, contributes to the organization’s success utilizing academic and business acumen.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2019.

Undergraduate School and Major: New Mexico State University, Business Administration.

Current Employer and Job Title: The Boeing Company, Sr. Strategist.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I Fundamentally changed a Fortune 30 company’s approach by setting financial targets for a vital business unit would be my most significant career accomplishment to date. 

While working in the finance function, I constructed a detailed evaluation of the margin targets, contrary to leadership advocating higher margin objectives.

I led a cross-business unit study in competitor intelligence analysis to drive affordability targets in margins that ultimately had implications for CAPEX and R&D. While working with the Competitor Intelligence team, I discovered we were not accounting for FAS/CAS in the past analysis. Consequently, our peers were getting a massive 350 basis points to pick up from the FAS/CAS pension adjustment ($1.5B). 

After I completed parametric assessments, competitor margins decreased from 15% to 11%, improving our forecast accuracy. 

Eventually, my analysis was conveyed during a strategic business review and ultimately shared at the ExCo level. The consequences of not driving accuracy can be harmful beyond mere accounting. We have a fiduciary duty to accurately manage our financial metrics to avoid creating destructive behavior jeopardizing our operations’ safety. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: Like so many others, my community has faced many financial disparities, motivating me to advocate for financial education based on knowledge gained from MSF. I want to be an agent of change; therefore, I’ve dedicated my volunteer time as a servant leader to impact and inspire my community using tools to teach financial literacy.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? In a single word, flexibility. The program’s vision to be a premium online program with a campus-like experience afforded the flexibility to be part of a close-knit community while remotely learning. I also believed Georgetown’s MSF program would quench my business school thirst while providing an education laser-focused on finance. 

What led you to choose a Master’s in Finance over an MBA? I accepted that finance drives the world we live in after the 2007-08 financial crisis. I wanted more than a general business education; I needed the rigorous financial tools to analyze, evaluate, and solve critical economic challenges that globally impacted corporations.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? Advanced Corporate Valuation and Modeling (ACVM) equips you with the fundamentals to identify the key factors that drive corporate value. Today, tons of data continuously bombard decision-makers, and after completing ACVM, I can now cut through the noise and distinguish what drives and destroys value.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? Georgetown is a globally recognized brand; upon graduation, I immediately gained credibility when communicating finance-related strategies. MSF equipped me with tools to feel confident strategizing with the CEO or CFO because we took a deep dive under the hood; learning what Capital Structure is and how to utilize the Weighted Average Cost of Capital propelled me to lead finance projects. Understanding how to estimate projects NPV provided me with the confidence to walk into any room and feel comfortable discussing Finance in-depth. 

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? The forgotten part of education is who’s working alongside you. The sense of community and the feeling of belonging are pivotal and key fundamentals. The cohorts and alumni are exceptional because your network will expand to leaders in the finance industry, venture capitalists, investors, and partners in the top firms in the world. The diversity of thought and people and the fact that we are different truly make us all great, and any day of the week, I’ll have access to reach out and touch them if need be. That’s special. 

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? The MSF faculty are phenomenal and truly experts in their field. Dr. Pinkowitz is my favorite professor because he correlates the material to penetrate the gaps we often develop from the literature. Dr. Pinkowitz’s enthusiasm toward Black-Scholes option pricing revealed the significant effort he dedicated behind the scene to explain complex models in a simple illustration for the entire audience to comprehend. 

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? Be resilient. Utilize the application process as your opportunity to build a story, create a profile, and convey your personal statement for the admission team to envision you being a part of the Jesuit culture and Georgetown family. 

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? The global consulting project is by far the best experience one can ask for as a capstone project. Traveling to South Africa with your cohorts to help solve problems is enriching on multiple facets. 

DON’T MISS: MEET THE MASTERS OF FINANCE