Career and Educational Paths in Finance


An interview with David Kaczorowski, MBA, Adjunct Professor of Finance in the Ageno School of Business


Would you please tell us your professional experience and what you teach?

David Kaczorowski

After getting my undergraduate degree in finance at Boston College, I worked in actuarial analysis at Liberty Mutual Insurance. It was a great job, just not for me. So I went back to school for an MBA at Yale University and transitioned into the investments industry. After school, I spent five years in the investment banking industry working as a capital markets equity analyst. Those are the people who publish reports on stocks and rate them buy/sell/hold. After that, I spent two years managing a private portfolio for an individual investor, called a family office. Around that time I started teaching in the Master of Science in Finance at GGU, and now I do it full time. I teach Portfolio Management, Investments, and Derivatives at GGU.

Why do you like teaching?

What I like most about teaching is bringing practicality to the classroom. When I was in school some of the material I learned was very useful, some not so much. Now, after seven years in the industry, I have a decent idea of which concepts are used in investing and which ones rarely leave the textbook. The most satisfying part of teaching for me is to say to a class: “Now listen up, this is how it’s really done.” That’s something I think GGU does better than most. We’re located right next to the financial district and most of our teachers are working professionals. When students come here they expect a close connection to the real world. It’s something I wish I had when I was in school, and I’m really excited to bring it here.

I have a decent idea of which concepts are used in investing and which ones rarely leave the textbook. The most satisfying part of teaching for me is to say to a class: “Now listen up, this is how it’s really done.” That’s something I think GGU does better than most.

What do prospective students most want to know when they are considering a Finance career?

Many of them just want to understand what careers are available. In my field, in particular, students often come to me for help because they’ve done stock picking for a personal account, find it intellectually rewarding, and want to do it as a career. Most don’t really know what careers are out there, how they differ, and how to get them. Personally, I think that’s the whole point of grad school. Students have a few years in the working world and know enough to understand the areas that excite them, and so they go back to school to refine the road map.

What skills are needed for a finance career?

I might not have thought this when I was a student, but the business school core classes go a long way in a financial career. That goes especially for statistics and accounting, both hard-to-learn subjects but very useful in the real world. Just the other night I was having dinner with a friend who works in the financial industry, and we dug into how the interest rate environment will impact the Sharpe ratio of the fund he manages. It was right out of a textbook.

Communication is also extremely important, both in front of a crowd and one-on-one. Investment banks and hedge funds are famous for having a lot of strong personalities. It makes life a whole lot easier if you have the skill to, as they say, “tell someone to go to hell in such a way as to make them think they’ll enjoy the trip.”

We’re located right next to the financial district and most of our teachers are working professionals. When students come here they expect a close connection to the real world. It’s something I wish I had when I was in school, and I’m really excited to bring it here.

What are the upsides and downsides of the career?

As with most careers, the people you work with are a major part of the job. In my time in the business, I’ve known a few truly impressive minds: people I like to call “stock whisperers.” Getting to know them and watching them work has been a great part of the job. Hopefully a little of that skill rubs off. As for the downside, I’ll go back to what I said about strong personalities. Finance can be really fascinating stuff, but some jobs have a whole lot of grunt work, stuff that isn’t why you got into the business. The stereotype about working oppressive hours is true, and it’s no fun.

How should people decide where to apply for jobs in Finance?

I always tell students to keep an open mind about the next step in your career and don’t get too focused on one particular job. Who knows, you might take a detour that you end up liking more. At the moment, wealth management and real estate finance jobs are in demand, and equity analysis is less in favor. That doesn’t mean you should tailor your career to what gets you a job at this exact moment, but we have to skate to the puck. If you find yourself going down the wrong road on a career you don’t love, switch. Don’t waste your time.

What are misconceptions are there about the Finance field?

I personally have some political frustration about how our industry is viewed by the rest of the world. We in finance are too often seen as the evil empire. The fact is, finance and investing serve a vital need in the economy. Also, the reputation for being a cutthroat industry isn’t always accurate either. Out here in the Bay Area, there is a general attitude of cooperation, and that permeates into the industry. The finance industry here has a strong connection to Silicon Valley, and it adopts some of the same habits of collaboration and innovation.

Sadly, the stereotype is true that there are few women in the industry. In the local CFA Society there are 3,500 charter holders and only about a quarter of them are women. I never really knew why that is, but I hope it changes sooner than later. “Doctor Who” is a woman now, so anything is possible.

I always tell students to keep an open mind about the next step in your career, and don’t get too focused on one particular job. Who knows, you might take a detour that you end up liking more.

How do you start networking for a finance career?

Networking is definitely helpful. The industry runs on relationships and having the right ones can make a big difference. Many local professional organizations, like the CFA Society, hold events that are open to the public. I’ve met all sorts of interesting people at those events who become good friends. Another element to launching a career is doing it for yourself. A public speaker I once heard said about being a writer: “If you want to write, then write.” When I started in equity analysis I opened a personal investment account and bought stocks for myself. I kept clear notes and models that supported my positions and stood ready to talk with anyone about them. If you want to do any career you don’t have to wait for the job, you can do it today. If you want to invest, then invest.

What should prospective MBAs consider when selecting a specific graduate program?

This is a tough one. When I chose my program the biggest criterion was the personality of the school. Schools like Harvard and Wharton are great, but they weren’t for me. My class at Yale was full of misfits. There was a merchant marine, a rape counselor, a stealth bomber pilot, lots of really interesting people. I learned more from them over bad Chinese food than I did in the classroom. That’s why the campus visit is crucial. You have to go there and see the place for yourself, talk to the students and professors, and ask yourself whether you feel at home on an emotional level. It can be really hard to determine that, and a person can only visit so many schools, so it takes some luck to find one that really resonates.


About David Kaczorowski, MBA

Dave (David) Kaczorowski has worked in finance for more than 13 years. An experienced investment manager of private and family office portfolios, he has investment expertise in all the five major asset classes and experience in the holistic management of a family office. His most recent position was as the primary investment manager for a highly diversified family office portfolio. Prior to that position, he spent five years in the investment banking industry as an equity research associate, covering technology companies. His resume in the industry includes Signal Hill Capital, Wedbush Securities, and Stifel Financial. He also spent seven years as a financial analyst in the actuarial department of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. He is a CFA charter holder.


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What Everyone Planning to Get an MBA Should Be Reading, Every Day!


By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University

When I first started the entry-level Wall Street training program at Salomon Brothers, our first instruction was simple: Force yourself to read The Wall Street Journal, end to end, every weekday. If you are planning to pursue Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, that advice is still good.

Today’s vast new array of digital media offers the aspiring MBA student a range of choices to keep up with business and economic affairs. Perhaps there are too many choices—so many so that you can focus on the Web sites that fit your personal world-view. And yet..the precious time in your life that you devote getting an MBA offers a tremendous opportunity to challenge your preconceived notions, rather than reinforce them. Learning other points of view will help you as you advance in your career.

Most business magazines are like a day-old sandwich. Web sources that are committed to near real-time news are helpful.

The New York Times (front section): Don’t focus so much on the business pages—those are yesterday’s news. The front pages and even the Op-Eds will offer far more clues as to what will move events and markets and commerce today, and even more so, tomorrow.

The Economist: This British journal is the quickest way to get something all MBAs need: a world view. You will find that The Economist has its own, distinctive, world view. In reading this, you will confront ideas different than your own, early and often, in your schooling. So go ahead and argue with our British friends and figure out your own view of things, and absorb the incredible amount of carefully crafted and thoroughly researched reporting and perspective it provides every week—especially in its in-depth special sections.

Financial Times: While you are in the “British Reading Room” perusing the Economist, also look at Financial Times, which will offer you a perspective on American business, finance, and politics that, as they used to say of Schweppes soda, is “curiously refreshing.” You will want to keep up with Brexit and the doings of the European Community institutions, the Eurozone, German competitors, and French upstarts (Watch that space.).

The Financial Times does not do a bad job covering the Asian region either. You can add Singapore’s Straits Times for that, or better yet, Bloomberg’s Live TV around midnight Pacific Time—when the stock and bond and currency trading day has already started. Speaking of Bloomberg, consider its Businessweek because it is reinventing itself as a more focused journal.

Terry Connelly’s Best Websites for Aspiring MBAs

The New York Times (front section) >>
Financial Times  >>
The Economist  >>
Straits Times (Singapore) >>
Bloomberg’s Live TV >>
Bloomberg’s Businessweek >>
Recode >>
Axios >>

Sidewire >>

Expert Discussion and Commentary

No, I am not going to close with a recommendation of The Washington Post, despite their good information leaks over the decades. Instead, I suggest you get fresh information. Sign up to get the daily online D.C. webcast chats on Axios or Sidewire (the latter of which I have the privilege of contributing to). They limit discussions to those who are experts in their field and summarize current issues that are not discussed in routine press headlines. Their discussions also reveal what to look for during the day and how to stay just a smidge ahead of events related to your industry, your investments, and your general peace of mind.

These sources will help you figure out how to meet the first and mandatory challenge that awaits those who seek to be leaders: defining reality. Most people come to their new jobs with illusions which may have served them well in previous positions but will lead to poor results in their current one. Occasionally, a leader has to shatter the illusions of their team with a cold dose of truth, like the “BI Running Platform” analogy found in more than one business school case study.

Defining reality provides what successful athletes and CEOs alike refer to as acute “situational awareness.” If you want to make the most of your post-MBA moments, use your MBA “free time” to learn how to always know the score and the time left on the clock.


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, California’s fifth largest private university and a nonprofit institution based in San Francisco with award-winning online cyber campus. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction on global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides.

Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Available on Amazon.com, Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.


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Top-Tier Finanical Analysts & GGU Community Discuss Amazon Stock at Special Event


Golden Gate University’s Investment Research Club hosted a special group discussion at its downtown San Francisco campus: Amazon: blockbuster or bubble?  Organized by GGU’s Investment Research Club, the event was attended by graduate students in the GGU’s master’s degree in Finance program, as well as professional asset managers from around the finance industry.  GGU students were able to participate in a group analysis of a stock and the professional back-and-forth that characterizes the varying orientations and opinions of top analysts.

David Kaczorowski
David Kaczorowski

The event kicked off with a presentation by GGU’s Prof. David Kaczorowski, who spent five years in the investment banking industry as an equity research associate, covering technology companies such as Cisco. Kaczorowski gave a comprehensive review of Amazon’s business strategy, which includes its core third-party platform business, Cloud Services, Amazon Marketplace, and Amazon Prime. The company’s  “land-and-expand” strategy with its third-party selling platform has been effective, despite its low profitability. However, Amazon is building on its platform with high margin services like Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Prime.

Kaczorowski continued, saying that the company will find new ways to be profitable and its stock will push higher. Although many believe Amazon’s stock price is peaking, he concluded that it had room to grow despite barriers internationally—such as the dominance of Alibaba in China and a possible protective stance of European countries.

Howard Aschwald
Howard Aschwald

The next presenter was Howard Aschwald, Chief Investment Officer at Quantum Capital Management. A GGU graduate (MBA, Finance & Financial Planning, ’85), he offered the opinion that Amazon stock is overvalued, although the company is strong and its stock had a more stable price during the crash than its competitors.  GGU’s Hank Pruden, onetime instructor of Aschwald at GGU, commented on the technical analysis issues of Amazon stock. In response to various perspective offered by attendees, Aschwald replied in an industry maxim: “You can torture the numbers until you get them to say what you want.”



The Investment Research Club’s meetings are open to students and the public. 
For more information contact Gannon Kim (MA Finance, ’17).

About the Investment Research Club

The GGU Investment Research Club is intended to allow students to participate in an enjoyable intellectual exercise while learning the time-honored and effective methods of the business. We are a group of students who have a passion for finance and investing. We meet regularly to collectively research, analyze, and value companies from an investor’s perspective. Through research, networking, and guest speakers, we will gain practical skills, industry knowledge, and connections to help each other increase our aptitude with investments. The Golden Gate University Investment Research Club consolidates University and member resources to develop an educational platform which strengthens our understanding of investment research and provide practical experience in company analysis.

What Makes for Quality Online Education?

online-library
by Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design

Online education is enormously popular, with the number of online students in the US growing to over 6 million in 2015. This is true at Golden Gate University, where many students get their degrees or certificates 100% or partially online. Online classes provide a way for many students to fit education into their daily lives, an opportunity that they may not have otherwise.

If you become a GGU student, you will soon realize that you are at a school that takes online education seriously – 94% of students who took 80% or more of their courses online favorably rated the overall quality of their education at GGU (2016-17 GGU Graduating Student Survey).

More than an Internet Connection

At GGU, we think online learning is more than a medium or a convenient way to learn. Quality online learning is built with many elements – not just an instructor and an Internet connection. Here are the features of GGU’s quality eLearning experience:

  • Faculty experience in an online environment
  • Opportunities for interaction among students and instructors
  • Stimulating and engaging eLearning
  • Integrated online learning platform for interaction, multimedia, and assignment submission
  • Dedicated eLearning department to ensure proper student and faculty proficiency
  • 24/7 support team for technical issues students may have
  • Curriculum that connects learning to the real world

Creating the GGU Online Experience: The eLearning Department

I have a passion for online learning because it provides an opportunity for all students to participate in course activities, contribute to the discussion, and engage with one another. (No one has a “back-row” seat in online learning.) It’s also a great supplement to classroom learning and provides a great deal of flexibility for the adult learner.

One of the building blocks of the GGU online experience is the eLearning Department, which I lead. The eLearning instructional designers have experience and training in both technology and education—and how the two come together for effective teaching and learning. Through GGU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the instructional design team supports faculty in the effective use of technology for education.


Golden Gate University has been recognized for excellence in online education for its MBA, Counseling Psychology, and graduate-level Accounting programs.
Learn more about GGU’s accolades >>


Even though we have been offering online education for over 20 years, we are always seeking to improve the student experience. We stay on top of the latest trends and effective practices by monitoring educational blogs, publications, and sites related to technology, online learning, and higher education. Educause Learning Initiative, EdSurge HigherEd, the Online Learning Consortium, and WCET are all wonderful sources of information and inspiration. We also exchange ideas with others in the online education community through attendance at conferences and meetups. Most importantly, we listen to feedback from students and faculty and strive to continually improve the quality of online education at GGU.

My Experience as an Online Student

I hear positive feedback from our online students, but I also share this perspective as a fellow online student at GGU. I’ll be completing my MBA degree this year, most of which I have taken online. If the courses had not been challenging and provided the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the instructor, I wouldn’t have remained engaged and interested. As a working professional, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this if not for effective online courses.


About Doug Geier

Doug Geier is the Director of eLearning and Instructional Design at Golden Gate University where he oversees LMS support, instructional design, help desk and proctored testing services. He was a 2012 participant in the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning and continues to be an active member of the OLC community–serving as a volunteer, presenter, and conference track chair. Doug is also a member of the Substantive Change Committee with the WASC Senior College and University Commission and a part-time MBA student at GGU. In previous roles, Doug has held positions in educational software publishing and online learning as a producer, content developer, and instructional designer.


Video: Why Go to Business School in San Francisco?

Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco in the heart of the Financial District. In this video, Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, reflects on the city’s reputation and position in the business world.

Dr. Swartz’s holds a DBA from Harvard University and has extensive and varied experience that combines business school teaching, research, and administration — with strategy consulting and development of high-growth organizations. As vice president of MarketBridge, Inc., he led major marketing, sales strategy, and transformation efforts for Fortune Global 500 companies.

Getting an MBA degree at GGU in San Francisco, specifically in the “FiDi”, gives students access to a wealth of expert working faculty and networking opportunities in major business areas such as finance, accounting, taxation, marketing, project management, and IT management. Throughout its 115-year history, Golden Gate University has become an integral part of the San Francisco business world — with over 16,000 alumni residing in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

Golden Gate University Investment Research Club Wins Regional Competition

A student team representing the Golden Gate University Investment Research Club (IRC) has won the regional CFA Institute Research Challenge, prevailing over graduate schools across Northern California. The competition required teams to create a written report and deliver a group presentation to a panel of financial services professionals.

San Francisco CFA Investment Competition
Left to right: David Kaczorowski, CFA (mentor) along with Zhe-Yuan Zhang, William Xu, Gannon Kim and Hemal Patel.

“The GGU Student Government Association and Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director of Student Life at GGU, always gave the IRC strong backing and encouragement,” says William Xu (center, above). “Finance Chair Andrea Anthony also showed tremendous support to the IRC and dropped by during one of the meetings to give us a pep talk. I also cannot say enough about the Professor Kaczorowski, who selflessly dedicated his personal time and patiently advised and mentored us.”

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a world-wide competition. GGU’s team, made up of students in the Master of Science in Finance program, will advance to the next round in Seattle to face competitors from North and South America.


Request information about Master of Science in Finance program >>

Ageno Welcomes Andrea Anthony, Assistant Professor & Finance/Economics Chair

Golden Gate University‘s school of business is home to a plethora of degree and certificate programs in many areas of business including marketing, finance and psychology. To ensure relevant and career enriching material is taught, the majority of faculty members are practicing professionals with years of experience in their respective fields.

Monday, June 27th Dr. Andrea Anthony will join Golden Gate University as an Assistant Professor  and Chair of Finance and Economics . Before joining GGU, she spent two years at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon as an Assistant Professor of Finance. Anthony completed her Ph.D. in June 2014 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. She earned her MS in Finance at the University of Oregon and her BBA from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Anthony spent almost five years in several corporate finance roles with The Boeing Company at the company’s Seattle and Chicago locations. Her research is in empirical corporate finance and is concentrated on equity issuance and corporate governance.

andrea-anthony
Andrea Anthony

To learn more about our finance program offerings, visit our website.

Summer ’16: 3 Courses You Must Experience

This summer, don’t just take a course for credits, but to maximize your GGU experience. There are 3 courses in finance, information technology and operations that offer skills applicable to your ideal career. We encourage you to take these courses in the upcoming trimester to take advantage of smaller classrooms, complete your program at a faster pace or if you seek to utilize open enrollment.

MKTHINK-GGU-Oct-14-15236800-1
Students in our cafe/lounge area

FI 305: Financial Reporting and Analysis

Take this course to improve your understanding of accounting as an information system that helps users make good business decisions. Topics include:

  • Accounting principles
  • Examination of the balance sheet
  • Income statement and statement of cash flows
  • Application of the various quantitative techniques such as ratio analysis
  • Equity valuation methods

If you find this course interesting, you are welcome to join our MS in Financial Planning Webinar Thursday, April 28th @ noon to learn more about our MS in Financial Planning curriculum, application process and to apply free.

IT 300: Managing Information Technologies in the Business Enterprise

This online course provides an introduction to the business knowledge and management skills necessary for leadership roles in IT departments.  Students will also be introduced to:

  • Emerging technologies such as cloud computing
  • Network computing
  • Social media

OP 303: Operations Management

Explore the theory and practice of managing innovation and technology and their role in competitive business situations. Emphasis will be placed on:

  • Technology planning
  • Development and acquisition
  • Managing the technically-oriented business functions

Are you ready to register? If you are not a student, join our MS in Project Management Webinar Wednesday, April 27th @ noon for details and an application fee waiver code.

Act today! Classes begin May 1st!