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About Me

Hometown: Braintree, MA
Military Branch: United States Navy
Previous University: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Undergraduate Degree: Economics
Q: What was your background before entering the MS in Finance/ MBA program?

A: After getting my economics degree and working in construction to pay my way through school, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where I trained for two years at the Nuclear Power School and became a nuclear reactor operator. I spent four years attached to an aircraft carrier outside of Seattle and then was deployed twice, consistently working in and studying nuclear power.

Q: What made you decide to pursue an MBA?

A: Being a reactor operator is extremely intense work, and I reached a point where I was ready for a career change. I’d been studying and reading deeply about finance as a personal pursuit, and eventually, I realized I wanted to continue my education in that field. I didn’t know what specific job title I was aiming for, but I wanted to learn more about the possibilities.

Q: Why did you choose Northeastern?

A: I grew up near Boston and knew Northeastern was a prestigious school with an excellent reputation for its work opportunities—there aren’t many schools with such an intense focus on applying what you learn to actual business challenges. The staff also works incredibly hard to connect you with potential employers and help you build your network.

The more I looked into Northeastern’s advantages, the more I realized how supportive the university is of military veterans. The Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers (CAVS) is such a fantastic resource. Their Yellow Ribbon program covered the entire difference between my tuition and what the VA pays, which made it possible to pursue my passions in a place where I felt very much at home. CAVS offers all kinds of veterans’ organizations you can join and opportunities to meet and network with other military members.

Q:  Tell us about your decision to add an MS in Finance to your MBA.

A: I came into the program initially as an MBA student with a focus on finance and supply chains. But I discovered that I really wanted to go deeper into finance because it’s where everything comes together—it’s where politics, business, and foreign policy intersect. As an MBA student, I’d have to choose between investments or corporate finance, which meant I wouldn’t be able to take all the courses that interested me. I did some digging and found out that if I took the extra courses I wanted, I’d actually meet the requirements for the combined MS in Finance/MBA. I asked my advisor if that was possible, and she helped me make a seamless transition to a dual degree.

Q: What has your corporate residency experience been like?

A: The residency has made all the difference in the world for a career-changer like me. The company I work for, Wellington Management, is awesome. I’m working in investment compliance, monitoring accounts to ensure they meet both internal client standards and the standards established by the SEC and foreign governments. Working at Wellington has opened my eyes to the entire finance ecosystem and how the elements interact. If I went on to work here, I could fill all kinds of roles that I never knew existed before.

I also got a fast upgrade in my software skills. I never worked on an office computer in either construction or the military, so I was way behind the curve on things like knowing how to organize emails and using group collaboration tools. My Excel skills were basic at best. I took a Financial Modeling course at the same time that was extremely challenging for me, but it really upped my game in Excel and helped me better navigate my role.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: If I have the chance to explore a new role permanently at an investment management company, I’ll probably take it. But I’ve also thought about returning to the nuclear field as a finance expert. My MBA skills would be an asset to a company operating a reactor, and I already have deep knowledge of the industry.

Q: What advice would you give a fellow career-changer considering the program?

A: I don’t think I could have logically gone from construction to the Navy and then straight into corporate finance without the MS in Finance/MBA program—this degree made that transition possible.Northeastern’s faculty and staff went out of their way to make me feel comfortable as a career changer, and they supported me as I charted a course for myself. Just having the Northeastern name on my resume sets me apart. That’s the true value of the program.

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