Dustin Seely, MBA 18, had his eye on Dodge & Cox for years. He first approached the San Francisco firm in 2012 while working as an analyst for Prudential Financial. Equipped with an economics degree from Brigham Young University, Seely wanted to know what else was required to earn a spot on the firm’s investment team.
He was told that a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and an MBA were strongly encouraged.
But not just any MBA—it had to be one from a top-tier school.
“I knew there were Berkeley MBAs working there, so I applied and was pleased to get into the Evening & Weekend program, while still working full time,” he says. “Haas challenges the way you think and encourages intellectual humility, much like working on a team at Dodge & Cox.”
Today, as an analyst and trader for Dodge & Cox, Seely researches, assesses, and invests in bonds on behalf of the firm’s mutual funds and institutional accounts. He is part of an experienced investment team that makes important decisions about multi-billion-dollar portfolios.
“This is a very high-caliber firm and I don’t plan to leave. The environment is collegial and you have the freedom to explore and learn," says Seely. “They value thoughtful, smart, secure people and offer a flexible, family-friendly workplace.”
Journey toward a dream
In the fall of 2015, Seely was armed with his CFA and on his way to earning a Berkeley MBA. His coursework widened his perspective and even provided an opportunity to explore other career options.
An entrepreneurship class taught by Professor Kurt Beyer introduced him to the resources and mindset needed to build a business from the ground up. It also inspired him to co-found a startup aimed at investors in the cryptocurrency market. His company, Cryptonite, received a 2017 Trione Student Venture Fund grant.
Seely, a married father of two, later opted to quit the startup to focus instead on family and his financial career.
“Even though I chose not to pursue the startup, I now have the knowledge and the confidence that I could do it if I chose to. Ultimately, that’s what Berkeley Haas is all about—gaining confidence in your ability to do what you want professionally or personally. I also learned what it takes to be an owner, which has led to stronger performance in my seemingly unrelated career.”
He credits his Hedge Fund Strategies course with boosting not only his investment skills but also his approach and attitude toward his work. The class challenges student teams to develop, test, and pitch investment strategies to a panel of professionals. Leading hedge fund investors serve as guest speakers and coaches.
“Guest speakers were very insightful,” he says. “One looked at debt markets in a certain country in a specific way that helped me frame the way I think about emerging markets. Another was really passionate, which gave me validation that focusing on sectors that excited me might offer a competitive edge.”
Realizing the dream
Near the end of his first year at Berkeley, Seely spotted a Dodge & Cox position on the Haas job board. He applied, got an interview, and then worked with his career counselors to prepare for the appointment.
“The CFA and MBA combo made me much more attractive to fill that vacant seat,” he says. “Without a Berkeley MBA, however, I don’t think I would have gotten that first interview.”
How might an MBA help you get your dream job? Explore the possibilities found in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.