As a senior at Chapman University, I like to take full advantage of all the opportunities that the school provides its students. I had heard about the Distinguished Speaker Series dinners and events before, but never seemed to be able to make it to one.

The Argyros School of Business and Economics invites top-level executives and speakers to share their knowledge and experiences with Chapman University students, faculty, and community members. This fall’s featured speaker was Eric Brandt, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Broadcom.

Headquartered in Irvine, CA, Broadcom Corporation is a global innovation leader in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. The attendees were invited to enjoy a plated dinner while listening to Mr. Brandt talk about his experience with managing Broadcom’s financial, information technology, and corporate services organization.

Having worked as a finance intern for Broadcom since the summer, I was eager to attend the event to see the joining of two very important aspects of my life: work and school. As more and more guests came in, people took their seats and engaged in conversation with those sitting at their table. My table consisted of myself along with other undergraduate students, a graduate student, and a Chapman faculty member. We learned about each others passions and interests and found common ground in our love for Chapman and the unique experiences it provides.

The faculty member stressed the importance of doing well in school but also gaining work experience, whether it’s through a tutoring gig, a part-time job, or an unpaid internship. Having a good education and valuable life experiences makes for an ideal job candidate and a well-rounded individual.

After the main course, dessert, and coffee were served, Mr. Brandt began his presentation on Broadcom and his experience in the tech industry. As many people know, Broadcom is being acquired by Avago Technologies for $37 billion in the largest high-tech acquisition in history.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company will have the most diversified communications platform in the semiconductor industry, with combined annual revenues of approximately $15 billion. This acquisition made the speaker event that much more valuable. How often to you get to hear the CFO of a high-tech company speak while they are undergoing an acquisition?

Mr. Brandt spoke about his personal experiences and how he got to where he is today through hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. One of the main topics he discussed included the strategies of the company and what could potentially change moving forward with the acquisition. While some undergraduate students were hearing about these strategies and business practices for the first time, I was especially excited because we had just learned about mergers and acquisitions in my senior capstone class.

The capstone class for business school seniors is the culmination of all the undergraduate core required courses, with topics ranging from policy making and strategy to corporate ethics and social responsibility. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be hearing real-world examples of the concepts I had been learning in class, and the speaker event was a perfect supplement to my studies.

After the presentation was over and everyone’s additional questions had been answered, myself and a few others from my table went up to introduce ourselves to Mr. Brandt and thank him for the great talk.

I can’t think of another school or program that provides such awesome opportunities for their students to learn and grow in a challenging yet supportive environment. This may have been my first Distinguished Speaker Series event, but it most certainly will not be my last. I encourage anyone who gets the chance to go to take advantage of the unique opportunity. You won’t be disappointed!