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MS and MBA with concentration offer new heights for careers in finance 

If it’s the peak you seek, one path to the top is good, but it never hurts to have options. The Daniels College of Business provides two clear-cut paths in a discipline that’s vital for careers on the rise: finance.

Conrad Ciccotello

“Finance is valuable because it’s critical for every organization, from a household to a Fortune 100 company,” said Conrad Ciccotello, director of Daniels’ Reiman School of Finance. “Understanding and applying concepts in financial health are necessary in both good times and bad. And a lack of finance knowledge can put a low ceiling on a career trajectory.”

This is why Daniels offers two paths for finance graduate education:

Path 1: The Master of Science in Applied Quantitative Finance (MSAQF)

It’s called the specialist path, and “it’s designed for those looking to enter or enhance their career in a finance-related discipline,” said Ciccotello, who added the degree is “highly customizable” with several electives in corporate finance, investments and investment banking/capital markets.

What does the summit look like if you have an MSAQF?

“That view varies,” Ciccotello said. “The peak could be a chief investment officer in a portfolio management firm, a managing director or partner in a private equity or investment banking, or a chief financial officer in a financial institution context like commercial banking.”

Path 2: The MBA with a Concentration in Finance

It’s dubbed the generalist track, and “it combines the broad management and leadership education of the MBA with finance tools candidates can use to advance within organizations,” Ciccotello said. “For example, an organizational leader might be quite experienced in marketing or manufacturing, but lacks a finance education.”

The peak for the generalist is equally varied.

“The MBA with a finance concentration helps in several leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or chief executive officer,” Ciccotello said. “The degree is also fine preparation for leadership in entities that serve as capital market providers or advisors to businesses. Generalists also make excellent board members because the combination of this educational profile and leadership experience is a natural fit for boards where financial acumen is a key differentiator.” 

Career Success at the Peak

Regardless of which path you choose, a trait both programs share is practicality. That’s because Daniels has become known for delivering what employers like: candidates who not only understand the concepts behind finance—liquidity, solvency, credit capacity and profitability, for example—but also who can apply the concepts to real-world issues.

“Students walk away with portfolios that highlight their accomplishments because we emphasize hands-on, practical instruction—both in our curricular and extra-curricular activities,” Ciccotello said. 

Students compete regularly in case study contests, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst Research Challenge, and cross-disciplinary competitions like Race and Case.

What’s more, Daniels emphasizes the value of credentialing and offers scholarships to defray the costs of professional exams like those for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. “Along with the CFA, we support students with credentials in areas such as wealth management, financial risk management and actuarial science,” said Ciccotello.

Both the Daniels College of Business and the Reiman School of Finance focus on student outcomes and provide a high-touch “village” of support. Ciccotello explained, “The dedication the faculty and advisors show students is unparalleled. They work hard to customize education to students’ goals and backgrounds. They also have extensive networks of colleagues, collaborators in business and former students.” 

Indeed, alumni who studied finance at Daniels have not only reached the peak, they’ve come to define the peak in many industries. Some notable examples are: Carol Tome, CEO of United Parcel Service; Tom Marsico, founder of Marsico Capital; Pam Turbeville, CEO of Navistar Financial; Russell Noles, COO of Nuveen; Randy Engel, executive vice president, Newmont; Wendy Dominguez, co-founder of Innovest; and Demetrios Hadgis, managing director at Piper Sandler.

The Daniels College of Business invites you to start your ascent today. Email Ciccotello for more information on what a view from the top looks like for you.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.