Lilly Finance Execs Impress Students
October 25, 2013
Students interested in the business world and finance had a series of remarkable opportunities during fall break to meet one-on-one with significant business leaders. One of the best experiences was a Friday morning visit with Eli Lilly finance executives – all Wabash graduates!
Three of the students wrote about the significant impact of this unique and personal visit. Here are there slightly-edited accounts.
Will Folsom ’15 - One of my favorite excursions on the Financial Immersion Program was the privilege to meet Brian Edelman, VP of Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, Dave Lewis, VP of Global Taxes/Assistant Treasurer, Chad Hobson, Director of Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, and Terry Lyons, CFO and COO of Lilly USA, all four of whom are Wabash graduates.
We were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with these executives, something I think is testament to their devotion to our school. What was fascinating about finance at Lilly is that, despite the gargantuan number of departments, employees, and resources that are devoted to the broad term “finance,” there is a great amount of collaboration and overlap between these guys at their high level of leadership. They seemed to know each other well and shared a great pride in being Wabash men. They were quick with jokes and quick to point out how many great Wabash alumni worked for Lilly, particularly in finance. “Are there any Dannies who work in finance?” one of them quipped.
All four were well spoken and I could tell that they not only possessed a wealth of knowledge, but a wealth of passion for Lilly’s mission. Dave Lewis said that, although it might not seem like crunching numbers is a big part of making medicines, every dollar that his department saves in taxes can be a dollar that goes to developing new drugs and saving people’s lives. On top of this, Dave told me how he got to study under the legendary economics professor Dr. Benjamin Rogge, a fellow Nebraskan, when he was at Wabash.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Brian Edelman. I saw a lot of parallels between what I did at my internship this past summer at Invest Nebraska Corporation, a non-profit venture development organization, and the valuation and due diligence that his department does in mergers and acquisitions at Lilly. It was a pleasure to hear Brian speak because he had a certain humorous, professorial air about him that made you want to listen. These alumni from Lilly echoed a message that I heard multiple times over the course of the program: it’s not just the numbers – it’s how you present them. The liberal arts served these Little Giants well.
Derrick Li ’14 - Each gave a brief history about their time at Wabash as well as their career progression and current responsibilities at Lilly. Their stories gave us hope because of how similar it sounded to our own lives. They too were lost when they were our age. They too were confused about the possibilities and careers out there in the “real world.” Yet, through struggle and hard work, they became the successes they are today.
From talking with these successful Wallies, all of us were inspired to work harder and to not take our Wabash education for granted. Overall, the visit allowed all of us to experience the wide breadth of financial career possibilities. We are all thankful to David, Brian, Terry, and Chad for taking time out of their busy day to speak with us."
Hongli Yang ’15 – All of the Lilly executives shared their insights on finance and offered us suggestions on a successful career in finance.
Dave talked about his job as the Chief Tax Executive and how Wabash has changed his life. He emphasized the importance of learning agility, and encouraged us to take action and create experience that shapes our life.
Chad also encouraged us to grab different opportunities and become well rounded. Also, great communication skills would help us succeed in our career. Terry advised us to take leadership opportunities at Wabash and improve our critical thinking and problem solving skills. In addition, we should learn to ask great questions and train our analytical and quantitative skills.
Brian gave us a detailed presentation of corporate M&A strategy, and he encouraged us to have an open mind and be flexible at work. These great men truly exemplified Wabash’s mission statement: they think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.