Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 9 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: guitar.
Position: Manager of Strategic Planning / FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) at WATSCO, a large holding company that own many distributors of HVAC equipment. “We’re a giant middleman.” They buy existing HVAC distribution companies and support them with better IT and business information infrastructure as well as being able to negotiate better prices due to their size. Alexander uses financial analysis on how their subsidiary companies can be more profitable over the next few years, and also which companies and exclusive deals should be acquired.. Strategic planning may be about customer segmentation, evaluation of potential and ongoing projects for ROI (Return On Investment) 95% input (info gathering, data validation, synthesis, etc.) and 5% output (presentations, reports).
Overview: While at Berklee, Alexander waited tables at the restaurant Sonsie in the Back Bay, but he was really interested in the management aspect, and got to know the manager, so by the time he graduated he was helping manage the place. However, with his now-wife (then girlfriend) being a teacher with early morning hours, he disliked restaurant hours, so they moved home to New York, and a connnection hooked him up with a job at a restaurant equipment company managing the smallwares department (pots, tables, knives, etc.) The money was OK, but the job felt dead-end and not what he wanted, so by 2010 Alexander was doing a lot of soul-searching on what he wanted to do. He started applying to many jobs, but between the bad economy and his unusual background he was having no luck. By 2012, Alexander realized he needed to “re-brand” himself, and that meant going to business school. He left his job in September, 2012 and studied for the GMAT and researched business schools, making a bit of money as an independent restaurant operations consultant during this time.
Doing well on the GMAT, Alexander was offered a very generous scholarship by the University of Miami’s MBA program, graduating in the spring of 2015. He learned fluent Portuguese His second year there he had a full-time paid internship at Novartis, where he hoped to stay after graduation, but they wanted him to work in Brazil, which didn’t interest him, so he applied to local companies and got a job as a financial analyst (FP&A) at Spirit Airlines. After about a year and a half a recruiter reached out to him about his current job, which was a step up so he applied and took it.
You can see Alexander’s LinkedIn profile here. Alexander encourages folks interested in financial analysis to reach out to him.
Choice Quotes: “Analyzing financial data is like mining for gold. You spend all this time sifting through dirt, moving it around, processing it, shaping it, working on it. And at the end it’s this beautiful, polished piece of jewelry.”
HVAC distribution isn’t known as super tech-savvy. Companies used to just have their own spreadsheets. But if they’re part of WATSCO it’s in a centralized warehourse. We can see things, trends across the enterprise, which people simply didn’t have the data or bandwidth to see before.”
“In my position, there’s tons of exposure to top executives. Often the only people in the room are me, my boss, and the CEO of the subsidiary company. Also, my company has a very flat structure, so I don’t need to wait for a director position to open up to be promoted. I can be called director and paid as a director–we get paid based on what we deliver.”
“There’s something about massaging secrets out of the numbers that is very satisfying. It’s very creative. Sort of like when yhou’re writing a song and varying the melody and it starts to make sense and you add stuff and soon you have a finished project where you really have something–it feels like that. And better yet here you have a very finished, accomplished feelling at the end while with music one often feels it’s not quite there.”
“The main reason I wanted to make money is that my wife is the center of my life for ever on and I wanted to provide for her and give her a good life That’s the love story behind it all.”
See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.