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Work experience

Nov 2008Present

"Planet Money" Writer

Researched and wrote analyses of the financial crisis that explained the structures and relationships in non-technical language.

May 2008Present

Case Writer

Columbia CaseWorks

Authored studies of business situations for use in the MBA curriculum.  Interviewed principal players and crafted a narrative that serves as the basis for coursework and classroom discussion.

Jan 2008May 2008

Commercial Banking Consulting Team Leader

Columbia Social Enterprise Program
  • Led five-member team in consulting a microfinance institution on commercial banking.
  • Advised management on revising HR practices and managing portfolio risk
Jan 2008May 2008

MBA Consultant

MBA GlobalNet

Reviewed commercialization plans of candidates for National Science Foundation grants.

May 2007Aug 2007


  • Researched standards to judge companies’ environmental practices and codes of ethics.
  • Developed firm’s format for presenting best practices and guidelines for improvement.

Sep 2006Dec 2006

Organizational Consultant

Space Futures
  • Identified best practices in existing government policy and research centers.
  • Proposed partnerships with universities, aerospace firms and international organizations.
  • Worked with 3-person team to draft business plan for space policy institute.
Jun 2004Aug 2004

Mexico City Bureau Intern

Newsweek International
  • Collaborated with bureau chief in writing articles covering emerging political trends.
  • Interviewed prominent government officials and business leaders. 
  • Managed bureau’s daily business affairs in chief’s absence.
Jun 2003Aug 2003

Research Associate

Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Wrote press releases and articles on regional issues for international media.
  • Edited Washington Report on the Hemisphere (COHA’s scholarly newsletter).


Jan 2007May 2008


Columbia Business School

Active Member, General Management Association, Social Enterprise Club, Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization, Private Equity/Venture Capital Club, Hispanic Business Association.

Advanced coursework in Team Leadership, Corporate Finance, International Business.

Selected Peer Advisor, Hermes Society, Cluster Leadership Team.

Club Community Projects

  • Conducted market research and developed fundraising plan for local nonprofit.
  • Improved service delivery and project workflow of international venture capital firm
Sep 2002Jun 2006

Bachelor of Arts

  • Service: President, Community Service Council, Awarded Community Service Prize.
  • Honors: Political Science departmental honors, Dean’s List, Awarded 4 Research Fellowships.


International travel
Experience in 19 countries, including 15 emerging or frontier markets.
Microsoft Word Microsoft Excel Microsoft PowerPoint Adobe PhotoShop Windows OS Macintosh OS
Lesson planning Curriculum development Class management Evaluation Tutoring Coaching
Event planning
Logistics Panel management Conference preparation.
PowerPoint preparation Public speaking Debate Negotiations
Market research
Client-side consultation
Consultative inquiry, serving as a sounding board for new ideas.
Strategy formulation
Use of standard analytical frameworks: Five Forces Conjoint Analysis Industry 2x2 Matrices (e.g. BCG Matrices) 3P, 4C Supply chain SWOT
Technical analysis Expository writing Memos News articles Recommendations Editing Proofreading
Corporate finance
Evaluating companies' capital structures: Discounted cash flow valuation Comparables analysis Multiples analysis Binomial valuation First Chicago Method Black-Scholes option pricing Optimization of capital structure
Database research
Extracting data and analyses from leading databases, including Lexis-Nexis and Bloomberg.
Internet research
Using the latest Internet applications, including specialized search engines and social networks, to locate contacts, data and analyses.
Speaking with independent experts (such as analysts and economists) and officials within government, nonprofit and corporate entities. Conducting on-background interviews and anonymous sources. Experience with enterprise journalism and investigative research.
Scope of work determination
Working with clients to determine the breadth and depth of a research project.
Modern Standard Arabic


Teaching: Alpine Skiing (8 seasons’ instructional experience), astronomy teaching assistant, English tutor.

Writing: Selected to present original research papers at four academic conferences.

Interests: Jazz trumpet, volunteering outdoors (assistant crew leader, Washington Trails Association).


I wish to work on the evaluation and management of investment opportunities in emerging economies (particularly Latin America and the Middle East).I hope to lead teams to address complex the strategic and financial barriers facing companies seeking to expand their operational and marketing coverage into relatively untested geographies.My ideal position would challenge me to draw upon the frameworks of corporate finance and strategy development that I learned at Columbia to synthesize assessments of local market conditions, qualitative research into the social and political climate and experience with the operational capabilities of the company.

I’ve found that investors tend to use assumptions from American and European business environments to make projections of company and market growth in other countries; as a result, they may overlook local risks, such as potential regulatory and tax changes, that could significantly impact the profitability of their investments.I hope to draw upon my background in international politics to investigate such factors, drawing upon the tools that I acquired reporting for Newsweek in Mexico City and conducting primary research in Central Asia.In my work, managing relationships with forethought and tact enabled me to tap expert insight and reach important players within organizations, and I look forward to drawing upon this attention to detail in my post-MBA work.

I seek a role that requires the versatility, leadership and initiative that I bring to my engagements.Serving in managerial and teaching roles has given me the ability to guide teams through the unanticipated twists and turns that complex management relationships with multiple stakeholders inevitably take.From alpine ski instruction, for example, I learned how to address different learning styles and motivate individuals to confront their fears.Having helped students reach levels of proficiency and confidence that they once believed unattainable, I would look to tap the broad range of experience within a team to address pressing issues while fostering an atmosphere that supports intellectual entrepreneurship.

To provide a solid base for building a career in emerging markets investment, I wish to gain first-hand experience with the evaluation of potential investments, the structuring of deals and the management of committed projects.While I intend to work towards a position that would combine the three areas, at this point, I look to acquire expertise in one of them. I could work for a multinational company seeking to expand its operations, a strategy consulting firm with a focus on such issues or an investment bank that provides financial advising and supplies capital.


Alan Cordova currently writes for National Public Radio’s “Planet Money” program, which explains the intricacies of the financial crisis to ordinary Americans in plain English.He received a BA in Political Science and Astronomy from Williams College in 2006 and a MBA with concentrations in Finance and Management at Columbia Business School in 2008.His publications include policy analysis for a Washington, DC think tank, reporting in Mexico City for Newsweek International, a sociological study of the Muslim community of Granada, Spain and a thesis on democracy promotion programs in Central Asia.He served as president of the community service council and member of the honor society at Williams and as a cluster leader, peer advisor and tutor at Columbia. Since 2006, he has provided strategy consulting to clients ranging from new media entrepreneurs to a frontier market venture capital firm.An avid distance runner, backpacker and trumpeter, he is currently a member of Net Impact, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York.