Finance Program Provides Assets for Success
Strong mentorship and a raft of professional experience help launch careers at some of the most prominent organizations in the field.
As a senior at Brockton High School, Kyle Boucher ’20 had important decisions to make about college — a heavy financial undertaking for his family — and few people in his life equipped to guide him.
So, he did what he’d already learned to do: Search for mentors whose experience could provide a path forward. Through a high school banking course, he identified finance as a practical pathway toward a stable career and Stonehill as a rich source of potential mentors.
“I saw myriad opportunities to create close connections with professors who seemed to genuinely want students to succeed,” says Boucher, now an equity research associate at Cowen, a multinational independent investment bank and financial services company. “Looking back, I can’t remember a single time a faculty member was unavailable when any of us had questions or challenges.”
Experiential Learning, Professional Skills
Faculty — who bring extensive professional experience in the financial field to their teaching — are committed to delivering a rigorous academic experience, helping students build professional-level knowledge, notes Michael G. Mullen, program director. In addition to MBA-level courses that build analytical and problem-solving skills through classroom discussion and case analysis, the program features a student-managed investment fund (SMIF), the Skyhawk Investment Group, through its cornerstone Stonehill College Inspire Finance Initiatives (SCIFI).
“Our SMIF is distinctive in its emphasis on the key processes professionals at a buy-side investment organization use to manage money,” explains Mullen. “Participation translates to one to two years of actual work experience.”
To prepare students for a wide range of careers, the Stonehill finance major offers three tracks: investment management, corporate finance and public finance, a newly emerging track based on burgeoning student interest and public-sector job growth.
The broad range of courses offered throughout Stonehill’s Meehan School of Business allows students to explore many facets of business and finance.
With interest piqued by a Stonehill seminar on data and finance, Michelle Theilgard ’21 pursued electives in fintech and management information systems, a minor in data analytics — and her current role of associate financial analyst at Akamai Technologies. “I’m in a rotational program, which means a new role every year,” she explains. “Stonehill taught me to be comfortable taking on something completely new.”
For Carolyn Hoye ’18, a Learning Community combining economics and investment led her to a junior-year pivot from a major in marketing to finance. “Because I switched, my participation in SCIFI was absolutely influential in building my resume — effectively serving as an internship,” says Hoye. As part of the program, she participated in a networking event with Stonehill alumni at State Street [Bank] in Boston, where she now serves as assistant vice president in global treasury risk management.
Educating Beyond Business Alone
The depth of Stonehill’s Finance program is complemented by its liberal arts foundation, which builds additional skills critical to a field that demands strong communication and leadership. Another SCIFI program, ENGAGE, helps develop students’ leadership and professional skills.
Hoye initially was attracted to the opportunity to pursue her personal interests in dance and art courses at Stonehill, and she now realizes the real-world benefit of the “soft skills” those courses conferred. “Every day, my job requires the critical thinking skills I built — I need to flex my creative muscles to solve problems,” she explains. “Through philosophy and religion courses, I also developed a broader mindset that helps me better connect with colleagues around the globe.”
Erik Moberg ’17 says Stonehill prepared him in more ways than one for his role as vice president of equity research for the Europe-based firm Berenberg. “The Stonehill experience gives you greater perspective than you’d have from solely studying business,” he notes. “Never underestimate the doors you can open based on your ability to quote Shakespeare.”
Intangible Assets: A Job Market Edge
Graduates of Stonehill’s Finance program pursue a wide range of careers at buy- and sell-side firms, in corporate finance and insurance, and in fast-growing industries such as health care.
Boucher’s mentor relationships, forged at the start of his Stonehill experience, proved critical to landing a Wall Street role typically reserved for candidates with advanced degrees or from certain “target” business schools. After deciding to pursue equity research, he was met with what he calls “an uphill battle due to age-old Wall Street elitism.” But by curating a network, Boucher connected with a top-ranked Cowen analyst willing to give him a chance. Following a trial period, he was minted as a full-time research associate.
“I asked myself, ‘How do I stand out versus others with the same knowledge?’” Boucher says. “The answer was to tap into Stonehill’s incredible base of alumni and faculty, who could vouch for my work ethic, knowledge and ability to adapt to new scenarios.”