Braunegg ’79 Serves as Finance Seminar Speaker

Posted on 4/4/2018 1:58:15 PM

On March 26 and 27, 2018, IUP’s Eberly College of Business and Information Technology had the unique opportunity to spend time and learn from distinguished alumnus George Gwyer Braunegg, a founding principal of CAST (Center for Applied Strategy) Management Consultants, in Professor Daniel Lawson’s FIN 422 Finance Seminar class, FIN 324 Investments class, and the Student Managed Investment Portfolio group.

Braunegg graduated magna cum laude in 1979 from IUP with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He passed the Certified Public Accountant examination in Pennsylvania prior to graduation, and ultimately became a CPA in both Pennsylvania and California after gaining the required practical experience. Immediately following graduation from IUP, he enrolled at the University of Southern California on a full scholarship, where he received his MBA in 1981 from its Marshal School of Business.

George Braunegg, Dean Robert Camp, Daniel Lawson, and studentsAfter graduation from USC, Braunegg joined KPMG’s Management Consulting Group until 1986 when he, along with two KPMG colleagues, founded CAST, a boutique management consulting firm that focused exclusively on the Financial Services Industry. The CAST client list includes significant players such as AXA, American Express, Ameriprise, Bank of America, Bank of Montreal, BNY Melon, JP Morgan Chase, Northwestern Mutual, Pacific Life, PNC, Wells Fargo, and many others. In fact, CAST was named by Consultant News as one of the “100 Leading Consulting Firms in North America.” In October 2017, after 31 years in business, CAST was acquired by West Monroe Partners.

Since selling the firm, Braunegg has become an investor and an advisor to Terafina, Inc. Terafina is a Silicon Valley financial technology company that has developed a unique digital technology platform that enables regional and community banks and credit unions to offer an “Omni Channel Customer Experience.”

In addition to his business endeavors, Braunegg has served on the Board of Directors of Volunteers of America Los Angeles for over 20 years and is a member of the Audit, Nomination, and Executive committees. In addition, he has remained an active member of Theta Xi fraternity, where he served as western regional director for several terms. He is currently the leadership advisor for the Theta Xi chapter at UCLA, near where he lives in West Los Angeles with his wife of 31 years, Janet Louie. In 2005, Braunegg was recognized as an Outstanding Entrepreneur, and he was inducted into the Hall of Distinction in 2015 by the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology .

During the his presentation, Braunegg shared various aspects of management consulting, and used case studies of client situations to bring to life the impact that consultants can have if used effectively by a client. In particular he focused on ways to address the natural resistance to change often encountered during initiatives with transformational objectives.

One of the case studies related to a client in Massachusetts that wanted to maximize the value of its human capital. Braunegg outlined how his firm used a unique tool to gather activity-based data on how every individual spent their time to identify a host of opportunities from skill misalignment to automation opportunities, as well as outsourcing not strategic functions. Further, Braunegg outlined how they were able to build a business case for establishing a share service in Pittsburgh for various finance functions that would be used by various lines of business. The benefits resulted from both economies of scale as well as low labor costs in Pittsburgh vs. Boston and new to the recommendation. However, the company’s leadership team was convinced by the substantive quantitative underlying support for the recommendation, and the decision to proceed was made and significant benefits were ultimately realized.

Students from Lawson’s three finance classes were very appreciative of Braunegg taking his valuable time to come out to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania to talk and lead an interesting and informative discussion. After the presentation concluded, students had these very positive things to say about the speaker:

“Dr. Lawson's Seminar in Finance course has continuously provided an exceptional series of industry panelists. In this case, George Braunegg comprehensive overview of his 35-year consulting career in the financial services industry and gave me insight into management consulting that I didn’t have before. The opportunity to learn from an IUP alumnus like Mr. Braunegg is a significant benefit of attending the Eberly College of Business.”
—Robert Schwartz, senior finance student

“I had the privilege of attending a seminar by IUP alumnus George Braunegg. I found his presentation to be extremely thorough, detailed, and filled with business-relevant knowledge and experience. After sitting through the seminar, I can honestly say that I left with a much better understanding of the consulting industry, the role of management consultants, and the kind of impact they can have on a company than I had beforehand. Mr. Braunegg help me see, and I hope everyone else who attended the seminar with me, that IUP graduates are capable of achieving their goals in their lifetimes.”
—Kiran Sharma, senior finance student

“Mr. Braunegg was able to clearly articulate management principles and show he’s used them during his career to effective positive organizational change. In doing so, we learned how to find inefficiencies within companies as well as breaking down the problem solving process. Mr. Braunegg made a significant impact on me and my fellow students during the limited time he was on campus.”
—Mitchell O’Shell, senior finance student

Once again, on behalf of the university and its student body, the Eberly College of Business would like to express its gratitude and appreciation for George Braunegg traveling across the country to give a very interesting and worthwhile presentation at his proud alma mater. For further information about the FIN 422 Seminar Speaker Series, please contact Daniel Lawson at Daniel.Lawson@iup.edu .

—Lucas McCarthy