Undergraduate University: ACCA Zambia
Undergraduate Degree: Accounting and Business Management
Q: Tell me about your background before you entered the MS in Quantitative Finance program.
A: While working at an audit firm in Zambia, I worked directly with clients, which developed my communication skills and helped me gain confidence in myself. I realized that my passion was in finance rather than accounting, and I knew that I could be successful; I just needed to build the advanced finance and fintech experience to achieve my goals. My undergraduate studies were in accounting and finance, and I knew that an MS in Quantitative Finance would be the best path for me to switch careers. And that's where D'Amore-McKim came in.
Q: What set Northeastern's finance program apart from others you were considering?
A: I chose Northeastern's MS in Quantitative Finance because I wanted to develop specialized fintech expertise. I wanted a program where I could learn advanced finance, improve my technical abilities, data skills, and gain insights into programming languages. I was also excited to participate in student organizations like the 360 Huntington Fund and NUImpact.
Q: How do you feel Northeastern has supported you as an international student?
A: The Office of Global Services (OGS) has made my transition and experience here incredible. I highly recommend other international students utilize OGS services for settling in, starting classes, and finding on-campus opportunities. They were even able to help me find my on-campus job!
Q: What are your professional goals? How has your program helped you achieve them?
A: My goal is to work as a finance or portfolio analyst in financial services. The finance industry is drastically evolving, and future finance professionals must be equipped with the necessary skills to succeed. I chose Northeastern because I liked its emphasis on quantitative skills, statistical programming languages like Python and MATLAB, and courses in database management systems and their applications in financial services. The technical knowledge acquired during my journey at Northeastern will lay the foundation for attaining my long-term goals.
Q: You recently completed a virtual work experience offered through the Graduate Career Center; can you tell me about that experience and how you think it will help you in your future job search?
A: I completed a virtual experience program offered by Fidelity International on Investment Management. Since my goal is to work as a portfolio analyst, I felt doing the program would give me an idea of the tasks carried out on a daily basis for someone in this role. I found the program to be really educational. I enjoyed doing the tasks I was working on, which further solidified my interest in pursuing that career. Completing a virtual work experience gave me the confidence to answer questions about portfolio management in an interview. I can talk about my experience in any interview, not just for a portfolio analyst position.
Q: What advice would you share with future students?
A: I would ask them to be open to change because tech is revolutionizing finance, even in a typical finance analyst role. Take part in clubs because they allow you to apply whatever you learn in class to a practical scenario and present it, so it improves your confidence. The Graduate Career Center is really helpful for organizing, helping you build connections in your industry, and with your job search, so I say make use of all the resources at your disposal.
Reflections on the importance of perpetual learning— from business to fintech
“My quantitative finance degree has helped me gain so many skills, and I feel confident about applying what I've learned to real financial challenges.” says Vidita Agarwalla, MS in Finance'21
Gaining progressive experience in portfolio management
“I earned a promotion to sector manager, where I managed a team of 14 analysts and developed my skills further, especially as a leader. I mentored the analysts by sharing my thoughts and reviewing their valuations. Overall, the 360 Huntington Fund helped me grow as an individual.” says Parth Patel MS in Finance'21
Finding her place in finance and making an investment in her future
“The MS in Quantitative Finance degree allowed me to pursue a variety of classes and determine the path I wanted to take in finance. It was an investment in my future. For me, Northeastern ticked all these boxes in addition to being a university centered in a student-friendly community where peers from all over the world surround you with unique perspectives.” says Samantha Li, MS in Quantitative Finance'22