Full-Time MBA Student Profile Meet Roland Cole, ’18
Hear how Roland Cole is using his MBA to pay it forward.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Education: Vanderbilt University
Before Booth: Private Wealth Management, Duncan William Asset Management
2017 Internship: Capital Group, Los Angeles, CA
Roland Cole: 00:00
My name is Roland Cole. I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Prior to coming to Booth I was in private wealth management. My decision to attend Chicago Booth was a relatively easy one because there seems to be more of a balance between profits and impact. How do I create a positive impact in my community, in my family, in my business, in my environment? As well as make sure that we are sustaining and creating economic profits. I joined the Investment Management Group here at Booth. We have weekly meetings where we discuss what's going on in the economy, just to make sure that everyone's abreast of what's happening in the industry, so that when companies come on campus to recruit, they're prepared for the interview process. That collaborative nature had a lot to do with why I was able to successfully land the internships that I did. And now I'm a co-chair of the group, and I'll have an opportunity to give back.
Roland Cole: 00:57
The culture and the environment here at Booth does create a plethora of opportunities for you to engage your peers, for you to engage alums, for you to engage professors. Everyone's just bringing what they have to the table in an effort to create good conversation that is empowering, and enriching, for everyone involved. To me, the Booth brand embodies a spirit of collaboration, academic rigor, and a commitment to excellence. Everyone has this desire to do well, but never does it come at the expense of the health of the group. While they have a desire to succeed, they are willing to do it in a way that creates a stronger whole.
Just as important, Roland’s experience has given him the opportunity to help build an even stronger Booth community.
What were you up to before coming to Booth, and what attracted you to the school?
RC: Prior to coming to Booth, I was in private wealth management where I co-launched two wealth management practices with a team of entrepreneurs in Memphis, Tennessee. My decision to attend Chicago Booth was a relatively easy one. In my prior role, I was primarily doing research and analysis that focused on the qualitative side of things, and I knew that Chicago Booth was a great program for those who are interested in buffing their quantitative skills.
What has been most exciting about being a part of the Booth community?
RC: We have a lot of people in the US who are not empowered to be what they could potentially be. I think as MBAs, we have not just an opportunity but also responsibility to mitigate those weaknesses and to fill those gaps. That's why I'm excited about being a student at Chicago Booth, because while you do have the strong finance base, you also have the impact-oriented value system that pervades the culture and the community here.
What does the Booth community mean to you?
RC: In the Fall Quarter, I was elected as a representative of my cohort, the Nobels. I told my classmates that I wanted to participate in the Graduate Business Council to be the voice for our cohort. Booth is unique in the sense that our cohorts don't do everything together, so it's very important for us to create community by just being cohesive, by creating opportunities for our group to hang out and to get to know each other better. Because, it could be argued, that the network with which you leave Booth is more valuable than what you learn here. Relationships run business.
How do you feel Booth prepared you for your equity research internship at Capital Group?
RC: When I was in Private Wealth Management, I got a lot of, “This is a difficult business to get into.”
Coming into my internship, I had a chip on my shoulder because I felt that I had been underestimated, which only motivated me more to get the job done, to prepare myself, to get the resources, to talk to the right people. The professional student groups at Booth, especially the Investment Management Group, were instrumental in helping me get an offer. Having the support of my peers who have industry experience and who are willing to help was key.
What was recruiting like?
RC: On-campus recruiting was seamless. There are tons of companies that come to campus that are interested in Booth students. It is mind blowing the amount of emails you receive and the number of opportunities and networking sessions that we are afforded as students here. Definitely a great return on investment.
Who is your favorite Chicago Booth Professor?
RC: My favorite professor at Chicago Booth is Thomas Wollman. He teaches Competitive Strategy, which is a course that shows you how to assess competitive advantages of companies and how to identify how they sustain those competitive advantages over periods of time. Professor Wollman is my favorite professor specifically because he brings an energy to the room that is contagious. He uses real world examples that are applicable, and you can tell he's excited about the research and the subject itself. That permeates throughout the classroom.
Following your time at Chicago Booth, how do you hope to shape the future?
RC: We all come from different walks of life, and many of us have been privileged to have good careers before coming to Booth. It's very clear to me that I've been incredibly fortunate, and so, I feel it is an obligation and responsibility to make sure that I reach my hand back and bring those students along who may not have known that these opportunities exist for them to achieve higher education. And for them to not only achieve higher education, but also do it in a way that benefits other people.
Favorite Course at Booth
My favorite class at Booth is Competitive Strategy with Thomas Wollmann. It is a course that teaches you how to assess competitive advantages of companies and how to identify how they sustain those competitive advantages over periods of time. Professor Wollmann is my favorite professor specifically because the energy he brings into the room is contagious.
Leadership Opportunities at Booth
I’ve recently been appointed as a Career Advisor, which means I have the responsibility of shepherding many of the incoming first years who are interested in investment management. I will have weekly appointments with the students to answer their questions about firms they're interested in, as well as be a solid, go-to resource for them.