Mario holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where he focused on asset management and economics. He was a Joseph C. McNay Fellow in Finance, Consortium Fellow, and Robert Toigo Fellow. While at Yale SOM, he co-led the Black Business Alliance and served as a student liaison for the Consortium. He was heavily involved with the Investment Management Club, Finance Club, and Yale Leadership Institute. He received a BBA from Howard University, where he concentrated in finance. Mario works with Dimensional Fund Advisors, covering broker-dealer distribution. He works with financial advisor clients across several regions of the US, educating them and prospective clients on Dimensional’s investment philosophy and strategies, and helping them with strategic business initiatives. Much of his role involves updating clients on capital markets research, consulting on portfolio construction, and assisting with client communication. Prior to business school, Mario worked in strategy consulting with Accenture, where he conducted analyses and provided recommendations on post-merger integration to clients in the financial sector. Mario enjoys cross-training, travel, biking, movies, and horology. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Our Interview with Mario
What schools did you attend for undergrad and grad school?
Howard University for undergrad, majoring in Finance. I went to the Yale School of Management for business school, concentrating in Investment Management and Economics.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, I live in Los Angeles, California.
What was your career like before grad school and what is it like now?
Prior to business school, I worked in management consulting. After having interned in investment banking during the Global Financial Crisis, I realized that I wanted a career that covered a broad array of industries and functions. Moreover, I enjoyed helping my client solve unique problems. Due to massive consolidation in the financial services industry, I was able to work on several post-merger projects for large banking institutions. Currently, I am working in FinTech where I drive strategy and business development initiatives. What I find most intriguing about this area is the entrepreneurial nature of the business and the huge push for innovation.
What influenced you to go to grad school?
My motivation to go to grad school was my interest in transitioning my career from consulting to asset management. I had previously worked in sell-side finance and consulted financial institutions on strategic initiatives. I was attracted to buy-side finance where I could help institutions and people reach their investment goals. Also, I wanted to build and develop the necessary skills and frameworks to one day work in business development or venture capital.
What was the most challenging part of the application process for you?
Simply put, the GMAT. I am sure I am not alone here. It was definitely the most laborious part of the journey. After a few attempts, I was able to receive my target score: very happy about that. However, the months of study and seemingly countless hours poured into this endeavor were enough to make me not want to look back.
Tell us one of your favorite memories from graduate school.
There are so many to choose from. If I had to pick, it would be my trip to South Korea. Sure, it is pretty much known that students log thousands of airline miles during business school. But this trip was truly memorable. While in Korea, I had the opportunity to meet with students at Seoul National University, one of the country’s top universities. Also, I met with executives from some of the largest companies, namely Samsung and Hyundai, and learned about their structure, challenges, and growth opportunities. Finally, I immersed myself in the culture, eating raw octopus, Korean BBQ, and kimchi. Overall, it was an incredible experience.
How long have you been with TAOA and what led you to join the team?
I have been with TAOA nearly six months and have loved every bit of it. I enjoy helping people strategize and plan their approaches to their applications. It is great hearing the many stories and passions that people have. Moreover, I am even more excited when the fruits of our hard work pays off: invitations to school interviews and acceptances to dream schools. Overall, it has been a great experience.
Would you say you have any specialties when it comes to client work? If so, what are your specialties?
I would say that I am good at listening to my clients’ ideas and helping turn them into concrete points to include in essay responses. Working with a blank canvas and helping organize a game plan is something I really enjoy doing. Also, I can help those with specific interest in finance or consulting. Because I have experience working in both of these areas, I can offer helpful advice and insight.
What are three things you would want The Art of Applying’s clients and subscribers to know about you?
First, that I am a strategic thinker who is passionate about helping others reach their potential.
Second, I am results-oriented and will work tirelessly to help you put together your best package.
Lastly, that I am very personable and charismatic. Though it will be a lot of work, we will have fun along the way.
Anything else you want to add?
You are embarking on a journey that is challenging yet rewarding. Take time to dive deeply into researching schools and industries that you are interested in. Have many conversations with students, professors, and alumni to help inform your process. Lastly, it can be a stressful process. Remember to have fun.