Matt Cavin ’08

MBA Candidate
University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

Matt Cavin ’08 describes economics as a state of mind, a philosophy for approaching problems. He says his economics major has been invaluable for helping him arrive at productive solutions in all areas.

“When I go into a conversation with a customer, I’m thinking through the incentives of the people in the room, the priorities and preferences they have,” he says. “I can literally map this out and have a model that optimizes these forces and helps me close the sale.”

That modeling has been quite effective, if business success is any indicator. Matt excelled in an international sales internship at EMSystems, where he landed a full-time sales position after graduation. After three years exceeding sales targets across the country, Matt left EMSystems to join Deloitte Consulting. There, he advised some of America’s largest businesses and nonprofits on strategies for sales effectiveness and customer engagement.

Matt is now building on that applied experience with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Matt emphasizes that the economic way of thinking doesn’t end when he leaves the office or the classroom. In fact, he and his wife, Rebecca Crocker ’08 Cavin, regularly use economic models when they make important decisions. They used a decision matrix to decide where to buy their first home in Chicago, ranking and scoring each factor in order to understand each other’s priorities. Matt also used matrices to make choices about whether to take the position at Deloitte, where to rent his first apartment in Chicago, and whether to go back to graduate school.

Years after he graduated from Valpo, Matt, who graduated as a Christ College Scholar, still comes back each year to speak to prospective Christ College students. In his speeches, he emphasizes the importance of decision-making and structured thinking — skills he says he hadn’t valued until he came to Valpo.

“I really got my brain hardwired to approach problems from a certain orientation,” he says. “There are so many aspects of economics, but the most important thing is that it causes me to see the world more clearly.”

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