I am an outsider to Pittsburgh with little to no social or familial ties in the area. As a result, I was justifiably nervous regarding my ability to establish a group of friends in this new city. My greatest hope lay in my yet-to-be-seen FMR class; a group of my contemporaries whom I hoped might serve not only as my colleagues, but also as my friends.
On the first day of Orientation I met the rest of the class. We all gathered around one of the tables there, squeezing in to incorporate three more than it was meant to hold. The event itself was a bit dry and broader in its approach than most of us would prefer; but by the end of that first day, I knew I had lucked out. I was struck by the intelligence, motivation, and affability of each member of the class. We spent the day laughing, learning, and getting to know one another. This day was to be the best of my orientation experience and would lead to subsequent learning-days with my class, focused more on our specific roles and jobs.
In these next days we had the opportunity to learn about everything from Excel to Cognos. However, the most beneficial aspect of orientation was certainly the Health 101 presentation from Jared Weiner and Neil Karls. It gave me a deeper understanding of the industry and our role, as financial analysts, within it.
Orientation helped me in many ways: I learned what it means to be an employee of UPMC and an FMR, I learned about my job and the systems I would be working with, and I met some great people. It was an integral and reassuring experience for me both as a new employee and new Pittsburgher.
- Mitchell Woll, Financial Analyst, Intermediate
One of the most unique and exciting aspects of the FMR program is the value that analysts can add to such a large and successful organization right out of school. Although we may be less experienced than many finance professionals within the industry, sharing our opinions is encouraged at UPMC and a large emphasis is placed on collaboration and innovation.
Immediately after beginning my first rotation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, I became involved in projects that are impacting the future of health care. For example, I have already contributed to several areas of financial analysis including budgeting, reporting, nursing and physician ad-hoc financial support, and information systems and technology. Many of the reports that I have developed were sent directly to top executive management and have influenced positive change as well as raised awareness to areas of concern within the hospital. The immediate immersion into the organization and knowledge that I have gained regarding health care finance during the first month as an FMR have strengthened my analytical skills and increased my leadership abilities.
Moreover, with an ever-changing political economy and increasing investments in technology and pharmaceuticals, finance professionals at UPMC truly have a more critical role than ever. FMRs are encouraged to propose solutions to the industry’s most difficult questions and think outside of the box. The in-depth financial analysis that we do as FMRs even within the first month can effectively reduce costs, increase the quality of patient care, and transform best practices. I really believe that this kind of learning and exposure is unique to the FMR program and is what makes the program such a beneficial way to begin my career.
- Abigail Hardt, Financial Analyst, Intermediate
Throughout my senior year I experienced anxiety concerning my last year at school and my upcoming entrance into the “real world”. Whether I was worrying about studying for my numerous finance exams or preparing for my move to Pittsburgh and my new career at UPMC, it was hard to avoid being stressed out at times. Now, only a few months into the FMR program, I realize that I was stressing myself out for no apparent reason. In retrospect there are a few things I would have done differently that would have eliminated a lot of anxiety during my senior year.
Here are a few useful tips:
1.) Have Confidence in your Abilities. You have gotten to this point, so clearly you are doing something right. It is important to get the A’s but it is more important to have a concrete understanding of the material. Your manager is not going to ask what grade you earned in your corporate finance class, but they will be interested in your ability to apply what you learned.
2.) Prepare, Don’t Dwell. As months go by and graduation approaches, the reality of adulthood can become daunting. The best thing you can do for yourself is start planning in advance. Research apartments, find possible roommates, and make sure you have a solidified plan before finals roll around.
3.) Enjoy! You are in a very unique stage of your life, transitioning from focusing all your energies on school to forging your career path in the real world. So make the most of the last year of college life. Enjoy your friends before graduation. Enjoy sleeping in. Most of all enjoy the ride!
- Julie Waldinger, Financial Analyst, Intermediate
As an FMR we are given some really amazing opportunities. From the executive exposure, to the accelerated career path, to the vast array of experience as we rotate through the organization, there are so many possibilities as to what you can do. However, despite all these remarkable opportunities, my favorite part about being an FMR is meeting and working with such a wide variety of amazing people.
During the FMR program you have the opportunity to rotate through four departments, each with four very different groups of people. These people may be young, old, accountants, RNs, absolutely hysterical, or the driest people you will ever know; and it is this variety that makes the program fun. In each new role you’re given a fresh start with a whole new group of people to get to know, to learn from and connect with, as well as experiences to be gained.
In addition, there is a group of truly remarkable people in the FMR program that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know as well. While we’re all similar in that we’re young, motivated professionals, sometimes it seems as though the similarities stop there. We all have our own unique interests and personalities that make getting together a real joy and, whether it’s through social events after report-outs or service events that we do, there are always ample opportunities for this. I’ve frequently heard that it’s the people that make UPMC great, and from my experience so far it’s what makes being an FMR great too.
- Grace Fillman, Financial Analyst, Intermediate
For me, one of the biggest challenges in transitioning from college student to FMR was adjusting my schedule. In college, I had to go to classes or club meetings at designated times, but had significant flexibility with how the rest of my day was structured. If I wanted to sleep until 11 a.m., go to class, the gym, etc. and then reserve the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. range for work, I could do that. Yet at work, a larger portion of my day is structured. I can’t exactly come in at 11 a.m.; I would be missing meetings, requests from my managers, and more. So, while I have some level of flexibility, for example, working on a project from 8 to 9:30 a.m. versus 3 to 4:30 p.m., I have to be in sync with my department and the organization.
On a more work content-related basis, another initial challenge in my transition was related to the impact our work holds. Many of the projects we, as students, work on in college are meant to prepare us for business situations we’ll soon encounter. However, mistakes on these projects impact a fictional organization. Conversely, if I mistakenly assign overhead to department “ABC” as opposed to “XYZ,” financial accuracy is not present. Adjustments need to be made to ensure proper reporting.
Further, some of the work I do travels to our CFOs. And while I’ve had internships in the summer and at school where I’ve worked with professionals or have had to conduct myself as one, I hadn’t completed work that regularly traveled to CFOs. I’ve now found myself becoming more cognizant of the work I produce, as I want to represent myself, my managers and my department as best I can.
- Brittany Bagnato, Financial Analyst, Intermediate
My favorite part about orientation was the new round table discussion organized for the FMR class of 2014 with higher level management and program sponsors. This was a chance to have a high level of exposure in an intimate setting with some of the best not only at UPMC, but in the finance world as well. This backdrop provided an opportunity to get to know more about each other and the executives on both a personal and professional level. It was also a place where we could learn more about their expectations and hopes for our class. Most importantly, this helped to assure that I was in the right place at the right time and this was going to be a great learning experience as I started my career.
Furthermore, the aspect of orientation that I found to be the most beneficial was the Health Care Finance 101 Training that we received during our first week here at UPMC. Never having worked in health care before, it was helpful to learn some of the basics of healthcare and how it pertains to finance. In addition, it provided a synopsis of the future of health care as it continues to evolve and become more competitive. Overall, these experiences made for a great way to kick off our careers at UPMC.
- Sarah Lindell, Financial Analyst, Intermediate