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Aaron Gill

MS Finance

"I know my SNHU degree is what got me the phone call."

While the United States was mired in recession in spring 2009, Aaron Gill finished the requirements for a Master of Science degree in finance from SNHU. Shortly after adding the degree to his resume, he applied for a position as a commercial credit analyst at Lake Sunapee Bank in Newport, N.H. Amid a challenging job market, the bank hired him that October.

"I had no training in this whatsoever when I started, but I had a lot of tangential experience working for financial firms," Gill says. "I know that my SHNU degree is what got me the phone call."

As a commercial credit analyst, Gill is a key participant in the bank's small-business loan underwriting process. His SNHU degree prepared him well to examine data and make recommendations regarding lending decisions.

"The finance degree teaches you how to analyze things, and you need that thought process in order to be an underwriter," Gill says.

To complete his degree, Gill combined on-campus classes with an online course and a hybrid course that included on-campus and online components. "When you're doing the online piece, you're able to interact with your fellow students more than if you're in the room with them, which is great," he says.

Gill's exposure to different points of view as a student and dealings with small-business owners in his profession provided a foundation for a foray into politics as a candidate for state representative in 2012.

"Because of what I see every day, I have a perspective that a lot of people don’t have," he says. "And I have that because I earned that degree."