Alumnus progresses from financial manager to CFO thanks to skills learned in IMBA
International MBA alumnus Dan Houck, ’08, will tell you he has come a long way from his rural roots in Ohio and North Carolina. Now the chief financial officer for mini-computer solutions specialist Simply NUC, Houck began his career as a software engineer.
Houck jumped from software developer to finance with the skills he gained from the Moore School’s No. 1-ranked IMBA.
“The education I received during the IMBA program gave the CFO in my first job post-graduation the confidence to offer me the title ‘finance manager,’ although I did not have previous work experience in either finance or management,” Houck said. “Not a day passes where I do not reference something I learned while studying at the Darla Moore School of Business.”
In 2006 while working as a software engineer at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina, Houck said he chose the Moore School for his advanced degree to learn Spanish and “experience foreign cultures while receiving a world-class business education.”
Houck said he learned many critical hard skills as a student at the Moore School, especially exposure to business analytics with foundational tools like MS Excel and statistical analysis, which he said have been integral parts of his career. Other courses like introductions to financial management, entrepreneurial finance and derivatives further enhanced his hard skills.
Along with the financial and hard skills he learned in the program, Houck said the program taught him a host of important soft skills like mental flexibility and endurance: “The program demands a speed and volume of learning that can be daunting.”
Living 12 months outside the U.S. during the IMBA program, he said he experienced constant challenges to his assumptions and perspectives. His second year began with learning intensive business Spanish for a semester at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Directly afterward, he interned at a start-up technology company in Santiago, Chile, where he returned six months later to study abroad for his final semester in Pontificia Universidad Católica’s MBA program.
“During my career, I have worked on many global teams within global companies,” Houck said. “The education and experiences I gained during the Moore School’s IMBA program give me a unique skill set to thrive in these environments. I have seen benefits outside my career, too. While studying in Chile, I met my partner and the love of my life, Marcela. I live in perpetual culture shock.”
After graduating from the IMBA program in 2008, Houck worked in the world headquarters of a document storage company, and three years later, a Dell subsidiary hired him as a revenue analyst. During his 10-year stint at Dell and its related businesses, he went from a senior financial analyst to a director of financial analysis and participated in Dell’s Finance Rotation Program.
For 18 months after he left Dell, Houck was head of software finance for ATM-company Diebold Nixdorf. He was named CFO for Simply NUC, a mini-PC market leader, in July 2022. Based in Texas, Simply NUC also has offices in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“As CFO, I am responsible for recording financial transactions, managing a budget, analyzing results, creating financial statements, and overseeing capital activity,” Houck explained. “Without my global team, I could not fulfill my responsibilities. As such, I spend time ensuring my team members have the right tools, authority, and perspective to be effective.”
Houck said he also provides the leaders of Simply NUC with insight and perspective to drive timely, fact-based decision-making.
Seeing a solid return on his investment in the IMBA program over the past 15 years, Houck feels the Moore School has prepared him well for his current position’s day-to-day challenges and the contribution he can make at Simply NUC.