Current Position: Officer, State Street
Previous University: Boston University
Undergraduate Degree: Hospitality administration/management
Q: You decided to earn your Graduate Certificate in Investments after a career change. Can you tell us more about that?
A: Sure—I was a hospitality major and I worked in that field for three or four years after I graduated, but I found working in restaurants and hotels wasn't for me. I landed a job in investor relations at State Street, a financial services firm, working with large institutional customers to set up accounts and make sure trades and transactions are completed. The job really opened my eyes to the global world of investments and stock market trading—but I wanted to learn more. I decided to go back to school and get a better grounding in investment theory and practice, to see where that might take me in my career and also improve my acumen as a personal investor.
Q: What were you looking for in a program?
A: Initially, I was thinking about getting an MBA, just to gain a broader understanding of business as a whole in addition to learning about investments. My hospitality degree was specialized and wasn't centered in the business school at my university, so although I'd taken accounting and property investment courses, I felt I was missing a lot of pieces that I would have had with a business degree.
But then I found Northeastern's graduate certificate program, and the flexibility there made so much sense for my life.I was recently married with a new and challenging job, and I wasn't sure if it was the right time for me to commit to an MBA program. The idea that I could advance my career with four classes laser-focused on investing really resonated with me. And if I decided to pursue an MBA degree later on, I'd have some of the coursework complete. That made the decision easy.
Q: Has the certificate experience helped you in your career?
A: The first three courses in investment analysis, portfolio management, and risk management were such a perfect, complete intro to investing as a whole. They filled in lots of gaps in my knowledge, and taught me formulas and models that I use all the time. And my technical skills have greatly improved—for example, I had no idea what Excel was capable of until I got my certificate.
Outside of my job at State Street, I'm also a real estate agent in Massachusetts. I chose real estate investing for my fourth certificate course, so I'm becoming much more of an expert in both my professional fields. I'd even say the certificate helped me in my personal financial life, because I'd like to become an investor myself, and now I have a deeper understanding of how to evaluate risks and benefits.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?
A: I still haven't decided whether to pursue an MBA. I love my job at State Street, so I can definitely see myself continuing my career there. Perhaps I might also consider working at an investment bank or starting an investment firm of my own, something really small and private.
Q: What do you feel is the most valuable part of going through the program?
A: I've been able to expand my professional network while I'm learning. I've made connections with lots of wonderful, smart people in this program, from classmates to faculty to guest speakers, and I think that's one of the greatest benefits of studying here.