Joseph Barbera (MSF’23) on Relentlessly Chasing your Dreams and Pivoting Industries
As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of the Class of 2023. This year’s graduating class demonstrated immense commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as they embark on their next chapter as Hoya alumni. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting several of the exceptional students in the Class of 2023 as they share their personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and preview what the future holds after commencement.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in film, Joseph Barbera (MSF’23) decided to make a career pivot to finance. He enrolled in Georgetown McDonough’s M.S. in Finance (MSF) program and has since spent many hours studying, working alongside classmates, and learning entirely new concepts in the business and finance world – often going the extra mile to make the most of his experience in the program.
Here, Barbera shares tips on how to successfully change career paths, how to maximize your time in Georgetown’s MSF program, and how he plans to leverage his MSF degree to grow as a leader in the finance industry after graduation.
What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at Georgetown?
My favorite memory at Georgetown was walking onto campus for the first time as a recently admitted student. To know that I was officially part of such a prestigious institution, and to walk on the legendary Hilltop campus to class each week was a dream come true – especially knowing the effort it had taken me to get to that point.
How do you plan to apply the skills you have learned at Georgetown in the next phase of your career?
I came into the MSF program as a recent graduate of film school. This meant that I needed to absorb every ounce of knowledge I learned while in the MSF program if I wanted to stand a chance at making a career pivot into a notoriously competitive industry. I knew that I needed to make a considerable effort at not only learning but retaining the material long after each class was finished in order to better distinguish myself in interviews and recruitment during the winter recess. If there was a key skill to highlight here, it would be more broadly to discipline yourself and refuse to grow complacent as you endure your studies at school. This incessant drive to better myself is something I plan on carrying into the next phase of my life, and it is in major thanks to countless hours spent working hard while at Georgetown.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?
You get out what you put in. There were several times throughout the MSF program where I could have cut corners or gone with basic assumptions in my models, but often, I chose to explore things and take risks. This is true in not only of the classes I attended but the opportunities I applied for and the extracurriculars I got involved in, as I quickly realized going the extra mile pays dividends (pun intended) and leads to a more fulfilling experience all around.
What were some of the most memorable aspects of your Global Consulting Project?
The Global Consulting Project was an incredible experience with my team who I managed to grow close with over the course of our six weeks together. While it is a huge undertaking and requires a considerable amount of preparation, the end result made it all worth it. From the intensive prep weekend at Georgetown to the final presentation at the London Stock Exchange, the Global Consulting Project is a culmination of my learning throughout the program.
Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?
It’s difficult to name just one individual that has played a role in my success at Georgetown, because depending on the resource I am tapping into, there is a faculty member in that corner, rooting and coaching me to the very best of my ability. For academics, I would have to say Allan Eberhart, and for career coaching, Thomas Stowell.
What are your post-graduate plans?
Upon graduating, I plan on leveraging my degree to the best of my ability in my current role, while simultaneously thinking of ways I can further certify and position myself for a leadership role within the industry. While it is important I keep up the momentum, I do appreciate the importance of taking a break every now and then, and I will attempt to relax for at least a portion of my summer. Further down the road, I plan on looking back on the Georgetown community and thinking of ways I can pay it forward to future students and faculty alike.
What advice would you give to the next class of Georgetown MSF students?
While the school and faculty do a tremendous job of opening doors and teaching you the foundational skills you will need to excel in the field, it is ultimately up to you to uncover and pursue a path you are happy with. A great network of friends, a strong GPA, and a coveted career path; they all come from effort.