From Biology to the Treasury: MBA Student Finds Happiness with Numbers
Rarely do students pick a major out of the course guide and find the career they hope to pursue. Often it takes exploration and sometimes even hands-on experience to determine what field will be the one that best fits. For Brock Walker, a part-time MBA student and financial specialist for the US Department of Treasury, the answer was in the numbers.
Once a biology student with the intention to be a physical therapist, Walker spent a summer in a clinic and decided it was not right for him.
“After some time, I found I gravitated towards finance and dealing with numbers, and really enjoyed learning about management,” says Walker. “I really liked the idea of studying business because the skills and knowledge can be applied to any field and can be used both professionally and personally.”
Today, Walker is a member of a small team responsible for the management and oversight of the nearly $200 million Treasury Franchise Fund/Shared Services Programs. He performs all Treasury fleet-related analysis and is responsible for conducting ad hoc special projects for and making recommendations to the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and the Assistant Secretary for Management of the Treasury.
This past September, Walker was selected as the Treasury Fellow for the 2014 CFO Council Finance Fellows Program. Aimed at developing the next generation of government leaders in financial management, the Fellows Program provides an opportunity for aspiring financial leaders to grow professionally through a unique set of educational seminars, events, and professional growth opportunities. The program is comprised of a select cohort of top performers from across government who have demonstrated the ability to perform at a high level of performance and shown leadership potential.
Scheduled to graduate from George Mason in the summer of 2014, Walker plans to use his MBA to take on additional responsibilities within Treasury and move into a leadership position where he can manage and direct his own team.
Walker joined the Mason family after a long search for an MBA program.
“I visited almost every major school in the Washington, D.C., area when looking for an MBA program and walked away feeling the best about Mason,” says Walker. “I think this was due to the way the staff treated me throughout the entire inquiry/application process. I did not feel like just ‘another student,’ but rather, it felt like they actually valued me and what I could bring to the program in terms of my experience and skill set.”
For Walker, one of the most rewarding experiences he has had at Mason has been serving as a Mason Ambassador for the MBA Program. He was selected as an MBA Ambassador last summer, and since then has represented the MBA Program as a point of contact for prospective students. This includes discussing expectations for the MBA Program, his experiences in the program thus far, and allowing students to accompany him to classes to gain insight into the MBA classroom experience.
“Mason is a strong program that holds its own among the other programs in the D.C. area while managing to maintain a small-town feel. At Mason, I have been able to build strong relationships with a diverse set of classmates and professors while juggling a full-time career.”
If not for a summer internship that made him realize he was on the wrong career path, Walker may not have discovered his interest in finance. He offers the same advice to current students that led him to his current career.
“Challenge yourself. Learn as much as possible while you have the opportunity to do so.”