NH's Only M.S. in Finance Program Leads Students to Fastest Growing Sector

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The Center for Financial Studies is a tremendous resource for SNHU's finance students and the university at-large.

Christina Bradbury enjoys a challenge. The senior credit analyst at Laconia Savings Bank began her finance career with an entry-level job at the Bank of New Hampshire, but she wanted something more.

She was intrigued when a colleague mentioned Southern New Hampshire University’s Master of Science in finance. Bradbury felt an M.B.A. was too general for her career goals and the finance program was better suited to her specific needs.

Bradbury completed her graduate studies in 2004 and was named SNHU’s Outstanding Student in Finance. She looks forward to advancing her position at Laconia Savings Bank and hopes shortly to become a junior commercial lender, the next rung up in her fast-moving career.

“I had earned an undergrad degree in economics and I felt that a graduate degree in finance offered more options and it sounded more challenging,” Bradbury said. “The program gave me a lot of confidence. It gave me a lot of visibility at work because I talked to senior management about my course work. They saw me in a different light than before.”

Career Outlook
A winning equation: SNHU’s School of Business embraces 10 core business competencies such as teamwork, leadership and problem solving as a way to prepare students for mid- and upper-level management positions. 
In addition to career pathways in corporate finance positions, the program’s graduates are also well prepared for career opportunities in the financial services industry. Analysts with the New Hampshire Employment Security predict the financial services industry will be the state’s fastest-growing sector over the next 20 years. In particularly high demand will be financial advisors, financial services sales agents and brokerage clerks.

The Global Perspective

Gaining a global perspective in any industry is no longer the exception, but the rule. Working with overseas partners or developing new business abroad is as much part of the corporate landscape today as ever before.

Malini Naidu, of Bombay, India, was impressed with SNHU’s international presence. Earning a university degree in America was an important first step toward a career in finance. Upon completing her M.S in finance degree at SNHU in 2005, Naidu was hired as a fund accounting analyst by Fidelity Investments in Merrimack and she could not be happier.

Malini Naidu, a fund accounting analyst with Fidelity Investments, seated
with her husband, Balaji Adikesavelu, said SNHU's M.S. in Finance program opened many doors. “I was really impressed with SNHU’s faculty and the courses were exactly what I was looking for,” Naidu said. “Also, the university’s Center for Financial Studies was a tremendous resource. It helped me better understand the financial industries techniques and tools for practical application.”

The Center for Financial Studies provides SNHU students and the general community with an integrated educational experience that includes financial analysis and planning. The Center features data and ticker boards with streaming market information and news headlines similar to those used at the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

Program Provides Necessary Skill-Sets

Derrick Mosher, a senior financial analyst with Portsmouth-based Sprague Energy Corp. is halfway through his M.S. in finance degree. Mosher was driven to the program by co-workers who had earned SNHU degrees through SNHU Seacoast in Portsmouth. He already sees his course work paying dividends. Mosher has twice earned promotions while working on his M.S. program; moving from credit analyst to financial analyst, which has since led to his current position as a senior analyst.

“Our company is going through a lot of growth and I took the Mergers and Acquisitions class, which put me in a unique position and provided me with the skills and knowledge to understand and to get involved in some projects,” Mosher said. “I was able to talk the same language, and that has also applied to other areas of Sprague.”

Students like Mosher appreciate the level of experience SNHU professors bring to the classroom. Intent on learning as much as possible about his industry, the senior financial analyst appreciates learning about real-world experiences in the classroom.

“Many of the professors bring a high level of experience from the workforce,” Mosher said. “If I have a choice, I prefer taking someone with real-world experience. I have had some great experiences in the classroom.”

Maureen Kelliher, senior vice president and chief investment officer for Citizens Investment Management Services, a division of Citizens Financial Group, looks for well-rounded employees with multiple skill sets. Recent graduates should have analytical, computer, and strong organizational skills to be considered for a Citizens’ position. Kelliher does not want to teach new hires the skills that they already should possess. Previous industry experience is also a huge advantage.

“The competition within the financial services industry is as fierce as ever and candidates need to possess every advantage,” Kelliher said. “Students entering the financial services workforce need to understand how competitive the environment is.”

A Finance Program with Options

Earning a certificate in finance can also serve as a tremendous competitive advantage. Carlos Rincon, an investment administrator at Citizens, earned his M.B.A. in 2000 and felt a certificate in finance would set him apart from other colleagues. In addition, the certificate would give him niche expertise in finance that would better serve his employer.

For example, Rincon took a course as part of his certificate program called Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management.  The course gave students the opportunity to research companies, study industry trends, and develop their own portfolios.

“One of my responsibilities at Citizens is following the consumer discretionary sector of the economy,” Rincon said. “I did an analysis on media companies and, based on my research, made a recommendation to the investment committee. The company has done extremely well and the experience gave me a lot of confidence.”

Contact Dr. Gary Tripp at 603.644.3196 or g.tripp@snhu.edu for additional information.

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