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A day in the life of a graduate finance student

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To thrive in today’s ever-evolving business world, you need new skills to excel in the digitally-driven economy. The D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University helps you combine knowledge of technology and data analytics with skills like critical and entrepreneurial thinking to prepare you for fast-paced, complex decision-making in today's business world. Valuable experiences—think launching a business, running a mutual fund, or participating in projects for a company—will power your education here. Swetha Sundar’s story is proof of this.

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An easy decision for aspiring business leaders

Sundar holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance. For two years, she worked for an audit firm in Zambia, improving her communication skills and interacting with a diverse range of clients. She decided it was time to learn more about newer financial technology and pursue a career in finance.

She chose D’Amore-McKim for this big move. Sundar was always intrigued by the east coast—specifically Boston—and its reputation as a financial hub. Plus, the MS in Finance could help her branch into fintech.

Sundar found what she was looking for at D'Amore-McKim. She knew she'd benefit from the school’s commitment to empowering students to apply classroom learning to consequential challenges faced in the business world. Learning by doing would help her build confidence and experience that would make her stand out to hiring managers after her program. 

Experience-powered learning is at the heart of a Northeastern education and students in all graduate business programs benefit from learning by doing. MS in Finance students gain a fresh perspective as they build in-demand skills through experiences that include the student-managed 360 Huntington Fund (responsible for US$1.2 million of the university’s endowment).

No matter their experience level with managing stocks, graduate students learn invaluable skills in an environment that no simulated fund exercise can match. Students research, recommend, and choose the stocks that make up the fund in a dynamic environment. By the end of their first meeting, students will know how to write an original research report on a stock and gain sound insights into analyzing the finances of a stock. 

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“I wanted to improve my technical skills, such as data and programming.”

Where ambitious students evolve into career-ready professionals

No matter their experience level with managing stocks, graduate students learn invaluable skills in an environment that no simulated fund exercise can match. Students research, recommend, and choose the stocks that make up the fund in a dynamic environment. By the end of their first meeting, students will know how to write an original research report on a stock and gain sound insights into analyzing the finances of a stock. 

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Once she arrived in Boston, Sundar met her dedicated academic advisor who has since made her learning journey “very smooth.” The Office of Global Services also helped Sundar land an on-campus job as a financial assistant. “I focus on structuring data and preparing it for reports and financial analysis,” she says. Upon graduating, Sundar hopes to work as a quantitative analyst in Boston—the city she’s grown to know and love. Working with the Graduate Career Center helps make her feel this is possible.

 “The Career Management course—offered at no cost to all D'Amore-McKim graduate students—is an extraordinary offering that has taught me everything I will ever need to know about applying for jobs.”

Ask Sundar today, and she’ll say she’s set for great things ahead. “Northeastern really gives you a great foundation,” she says. “It gives you a kickstart to improving your skills and getting a better job.”

“Workshops are frequently organized to help us improve our LinkedIn profiles, interact with professionals from our soon-to-be industries, and participate in mock interviews. When we’re ready to take the leap, we take advantage of the job opening dashboard to which we have been given unlimited access.”

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Below is what a typical week looks like


With much to do, Sundar starts her day bright and early. Her mornings consist of a warm shower, a hearty breakfast, and plenty of time to fill her backpack for another day on campus, which is a tree-lined, 10-minute walk from her apartment.

7:00 A.M.

Sundar catches up on a couple of projects with her friends. They usually meet in the Dodge Hall lobby as they can access a variety of resources, including the Bloomberg Terminal in that building. Sundar uses this powerful tool to get real-time data on every market, breaking news, in-depth research, powerful analytics, and more. Northeastern is one of only a handful of institutions admitted to Bloomberg's selective Experiential Learning Partner program, which grants students, faculty, and staff access to exclusive resources.

10:00 A.M.

For Sundar, late mornings are reserved for her classes in either derivatives and risk analytics, data analytics in finance, quantitative portfolio management, or empirical methods in finance. Each last for approximately two hours and 30 minutes.

While rigorous and packed with valuable insights, these sessions are far from rigid—Sundar credits her professors for this. “They are great, and you can approach them with any question,” she says.

She finds them very friendly and always willing to go the extra mile.

“The faculty make sure they explain concepts using real examples.”

11:00 A.M.

Sundar had heard about Boston’s wave of artisan Neapolitan restaurants—especially ones that promise excellent pizzas with gourmet toppings. With so many great options, Sundar and her friends often brainstorm their projects over slices at their favorite places.

When they prefer staying on campus, Northeastern offers an array of choices, such as stir-fries, pasta, salads, and of course, pizza. Kosher, halal, vegetarian, and vegan options are available. There are also an array of diverse restaurants that line Huntington Avenue with open doors for students to enjoy cuisines from around the world.

1:30 P.M.

After lunch, Sundar and her classmates find a quiet spot around campus to sit and strategize their upcoming projects—most of which come from their data analytics in finance class. “One was focused on Python,” Sundar explains. “We had to evaluate two investment strategies to determine the most effective.

2:30 P.M.

“We also learned to translate our results into charts and graphs.”

For Sundar, studying is done best at the Snell Library. “You’ll get access to a lot of resources,” she says. Here, students get to work in learning and collaboration spaces with the latest technology and tools that are changing the world around us, including professional-grade 3D printing, video, audio, and design tools. Engaging events and workshops that showcase scholarships at Northeastern and provide opportunities to grow one’s skills and expertise are held here too.

Last semester, Sundar’s favorite post-class activity was being part of the 360 Huntington Fund. It’s a student-managed mutual fund where you hold a position on the management team and learn the responsibilities involved in running a real mutual fund—or work your way to a leadership position through active participation over several semesters.

“To be honest, I’m an introvert. But participating in the fund gave me a lot of confidence. I got an opportunity to make presentations which improved my confidence,” she enthuses. “It also gave me insights into financial markets and a better understanding of how stocks work and how they should be analyzed—with both qualitative and quantitative methods.”

4:00 P.M.

Sundar usually prepares meals over the weekend. This frees up more time for her over the week and allows her to eat in, which she prefers. Some days, instant noodles hit the spot best. Today, however, she’s in the mood to cook something special that reminds her of home.

6:00 P.M.

By now, Sundar is ready for some downtime. She catches up on her favorite shows before getting ready for bed.

8:00 P.M.


Build global knowledge for today's digitally-driven world with the D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.

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