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June: Meet Brandon V. Zelones, CFA

Brandon is a Global Finance Manager, FP&A at Vistage Worldwide, Inc. He earned his MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) candidate.​​

LinkedIn Profile:​ here

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?​​

“I always wanted to be a magician. I took a leap of faith in elementary to start my first business (magician) and put on magic shows for my friends and neighbors for just 25 cents! One of my most memorable tricks was pulling a bunny out of a “magic” box.”

What made you decide to pursue the CFA charter?​

“In 2009 I decided to switch careers from relationship management (Financial Advisor) to corporate finance, so I applied to business school. I began the MBA.PM program at the USC Marshall School of Business in 2010. During my first year, I learned about the CFA program and thought it might help show that I had some “finance chops”. At the time, it was a great fit since I had five years of experience in the financial services industry.”

What do you enjoy most about your current professional role?

"I lead all aspects of FP&A including forecasting, planning, financial reporting and analysis, and strategic planning for a $220M global business. I enjoy working with business owners across the world and being an integral part to helping the company make prudent business decisions. Recently I really enjoyed doing valuation and financial due diligence for an international acquisition in the UK and being part of contract negotiations in Brazil."

If you could speak any language, what would it be and why?

“It would be Mandarin. I had the opportunity to visit China for one of my classes at USC and during my visit I learned a lot about the culture and visited some amazing places.”

What superhero or super power would you want?

“I would have to go with time travel. The ability to go back in time or travel to the future has endless possibilities. Going back in time would allow anyone to “right a wrong” or change something that may have happened. Imagine if you were a superhero tasked with protecting the Earth. If an invader decided to attack Earth, you could travel to the future to find the most effective weapon to save the Earth from mass destruction.”

If you could take a vacation right now, where would you go?

“Maldives. I saw some pictures of the Maldives many years ago. It was one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve seen in my life. The white sands, cool sea breeze, gorgeous geography and topography are truly amazing."

What is the most interesting thing you’ve read recently?

“I recently read a few articles on Lance Armstrong for an Accounting Ethics class. I did research to determine if I would accept an audit for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and I concluded I would not due to: 1) “tone at the top” and deception involving numerous layers of people, 2) “normalization” of using performance enhancing drugs, and 3) the ends not justifying the means.”

What 3 things would you bring to a deserted island and why?​​

“As a child, I was in the Boy Scouts of America (Cub Scout, Webelos, & Boy Scout) program and learned how to survive in the wilderness. I would bring a knife, a fishing net, and a flint. The knife would allow me to create spears and other weapons to hunt, build a shelter, and protect myself. The fishing net would allow me to easily catch food needed to survive. And the flint (much better than matches) would allow me to boil water, cook my catch (fish other animals), keep warm, and ward of animals/insects.”​

Where is one place in San Diego, you always bring visiting guests/tourists?​

“La Jolla. The weather is near perfect, you can walk everywhere, and there are a lot of activities. For example, kayaking the La Jolla sea caves, snorkeling with leopard sharks, and stand-up paddle boarding. La Jolla has a lot of great restaurants that are sure to satisfy even a top critic / foodie.”​


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