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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Netflix Marketing Expert Talks Shop with Students in a GGU Business Analytics Class

A case study on the data analytics successes of Netflix came to life with a visit to a Business Analytics class by Andrew Massena, who serves as Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix. Massena came by at the invitation of Tsovinar Yenokyan, a student in the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program (’18).

Massena presented on the topic of Marketing Analytics, and the class participated in a discussion about the Netflix Leading with Data initiative. Netflix uses algorithms to help predict user needs and behavior. Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Math Programs Dr. Nabanita Talukdar (and the class instructor) observes that: “Netflix has thrived because of its superior customer data and analytics. Data analytics gives Netflix the ability to predict what customers might want and provides an understanding of consumer trends.”

What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.
–Tsovinar Yenokyan
MS, Integrated Marketing Communications (’18)

Over the last six years, Massena has managed multi-team efforts such as launches in France, Germany, Australia, Japan, and worldwide. His areas of responsibility included ensuring proper catalog encoding and deployment, certifying region-specific configurations, new language support, and App submissions. Last year, Massena managed the effort of Netflix to enable downloading of content to mobile devices. His primary job is running the Netflix NRDP (Netflix Ready Device Platform) Program. He coordinates a cross-functional effort to deliver the latest version of the SDK to device partners (Sony, Samsung, LG, and others) on an annual basis.

Tsovinar Yenokyan, Student (5th from left), Nabanita Talukdar, Instructor (6th from left), and Andrew Massena, Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix (7th from left)

Yenokyan says: “I started my own marketing firm in Armenia, and came to the US to expand my career and learn new skills. I want to continue my marketing career, and I need to be able to analyze data no matter where I go. For example, if you have a large customer data set, you need to know exactly who you want to reach. What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.”

About the Business Analytics Course

The Business Analytics course’s focus is the practice of business-oriented analytics using statistical methods using the R statistical software. The course introduces analytical techniques applicable for solving common business problems, techniques to analyze social media, and techniques to study data on Web and app users. Students are expected to acquire practical knowledge of computing and interpreting – correlations, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, t-test, regressions analysis, cluster analysis, statistical significance, run power analysis and compute effect size. During the course, apart from learning statistics and software R, students will be introduced to the concept of Application program interface (API) in the context of data retrieval from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Analytics. Upon the course completion students expected to be able to select the right statistical method corresponding to the business problem. Compute and interpret results of a statistical analysis and produce practical business recommendations.

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New Bachelor’s Degree Concentration in Data Analytics Gives Students In-Demand Skills

For over 100 years, Golden Gate University has developed innovative programs that keep pace with the rapidly changing world of business. A new undergraduate concentration in the cutting-edge field of Data Analytics will prepare the next generation of business professionals to unlock the potential of Big Data. A shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the understanding of how to use these data has caused salaries for data analytics professionals to exceed $100,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The demand is also broad because Data Analytics skills are relevant to virtually all industries and disciplines such as Finance, Marketing, HR, IT, Operations, Supply Chain, and more.

Real-World Skills

The Data Analytics concentration in the Bachelor of Science in Business program will give students an edge by providing hands-on experience with tools that are essential to today’s workforce. These include:

  • Dashboards such as Tableau
  • Analyzing Social Media data using R Language
  • SAS software to analyze Big Data sets
  • Data mining
  • SQL for manipulating and reporting data
  • Data extraction, transformation, and loading

After finishing each course, students can market themselves immediately to employers in a hot job market.

Beyond the Data Analytics concentration, GGU’s Bachelor of Science in Business program provides a broad foundation for success that includes training in management and other fundamental disciplines—plus opportunities to develop interpersonal effectiveness and leadership qualities.

Going Back to School?

The concentration in Data Analytics is ideal for those seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree as a working adult in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Graduates of this program can enter the job market a step ahead of competitors who may have earned a degree earlier in life. In addition, Golden Gate University was named the #1 university for adult education in the US (Washington Monthly) because its programs are geared toward the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught either online or at the downtown San Francisco campus by faculty who are accomplished practitioners in their fields.

We invite you to take the next step in your career by filling out a request for information form.

Going Back to School in your Mid-20s, 30s, or 40s–It’s Golden Gate University’s Specialty

going-back-to-college
By Jelena Ristic Kelleher, JD
Interim Associate Dean and Director, Undergraduate Programs, Golden Gate University

The life of an 18-year-old and that of a working adult are very different. “Adult Learners” – usually defined as above 24 years old by national higher education statistics – have more real-world responsibilities. Choosing where to get an undergraduate degree takes place in a different life context. While young people might look forward to lounging on the grass at an ivy-draped campus, adults might not even notice the landscape while on their way to class, work, or home. Older students often must overcome many obstacles younger people do not — some tangible, some a matter of attitude or assumptions. Here are the main examples of how Golden Gate University undergraduate programs are the best fit in the United States for adults who want to complete a bachelor’s degree (BA, BS) or Associate of Arts (AA) degree.

I don’t have enough time to go back to school. 

For over 100 years, GGU has served the adult, professional student looking to change or move up in their career who was not able to put their life on hold to attend school full time. Pursuing an undergraduate degree when you are in your mid-20s or older does require a time commitment. We want students to have the shortest route possible to graduation. We actively help students to manage their time and schedule their classes. All students have a dedicated professional advisor who partners with them to create an individualized Path to Completion that fits their real-world commitments and keeps momentum toward graduation. The flexible schedule offering evening and weekend classes and different modes of course delivery — including online courses — makes it possible for students to incorporate education into their busy lives.


Golden Gate University was named the top university for adult learners
in the U.S. by Washington Monthly.


I once started a degree, but I won’t be able to use any of my past classes.

We want GGU’s Undergraduate Programs to be the last stop on a degree journey for our transfer students. Wherever possible, GGU eliminates the rehashing of prior education by accepting a generous amount of transfer credit for our AA, BA, BS, and Graduate programs.

I can’t afford to earn a degree that won’t add value to my life and career.

GGU makes the classroom experience relevant by integrating theory with real-world application. Our curriculum is designed to provide students with real, tangible skills that they can immediately use. About 80% of our instructors are current practitioners in their field who share their expertise and often become mentors and networking sources.

Adult education is different, and so is Golden Gate University. Throughout our history, we have designed programs, created policy, and streamlined process with the adult student in mind.

I will be the oldest person in class.
The average age of a GGU student is 35. We run our classes in a way that maximizes learning by integrating practical knowledge gained through prior life and work experience with academic theory. Combining prior learning, current learning at work and in life, and integrating those experiences as one can make school just one of the many activities that contribute to a student’s educational pursuit.

I don’t know how to choose a major or exactly what I’d want to do with my degree.

For adults, a college or university should be treated as something more than merely “a place you go to learn.” We make education ‘part of’ the plan, not “the” plan. Sometimes the initial concept of a new career or job does not turn out to be the best one. We help students identify their goal or series of goals early in the process. In UGP 10, the Gateway course, we take students through a curriculum specifically designed to identify the individual’s “sweet spot”: the intersection of their professional, personal, and educational goals. Ensuring alignment means the program is the right fit and students have a clear understanding of how their degree will help them get to what’s next. It is not just a matter of choosing an undergraduate business degree that focuses on management, accounting, finance, human resources, data analytics, psychology, information technology, or marketing; it is establishing the foundation for the next career step and coordinating the series of steps on the path to a dream job.

I am too old for financial aid.

There is no age limit for financial aid. There are various types of financial aid as well as scholarship opportunities available to GGU students. For federal aid, the adult student needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Additionally, GGU is proud to be an official Military Friendly institution and is in the top 15% nationwide of colleges and universities who have committed to a large dollar grant to the Yellow Ribbon Program for our country’s Veterans to start or complete their educational goals.

Defining Adult Learner vs. a Non-Traditional Student

The “adult learner” is gradually becoming known as the non-traditional learner because this term considers other factors besides age. Statistics on the non-traditional learner reveal that this group is growing at a higher rate than their counterparts.

Adult education is different.

Adult education is different, and so is Golden Gate University. Throughout our history, we have designed programs, created policy, and streamlined process with the adult student in mind.  We have a very strong identity in this area, and our organizational culture carries tremendous pride around helping adults meet their career and life goals.

The Best Choice for Adult Learners
Professional advisor to help schedule and navigate coursework
Average student age is 34
Skills-based education
“Path to Completion” advising
Special class to create a nexus of interests and goals
Help with administrative university tasks
Online education
80% of faculty members are working professionals
Networking events
Camaraderie and mutual learning among students

About Jelena Kelleher, JD

Jelena Ristic Kelleher began her career at Golden Gate University as a student assistant in the information kiosk while completing her Bachelor of Arts degree. Since that time, she has held numerous roles and is currently the Interim Associate Dean and Director of the Undergraduate Experience. Jelena has taught the Gateway to Success course since 2008 and also teaches the Prior Learning Assessment course and the Capstone courses for the AA degree and BA in Management. Throughout her various roles at GGU, her leadership and project management skills were instrumental in the development of curriculum and online tools for students. While working full time, Jelena also completed a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in the part-time evening program.

Request information about Golden Gate University’s undergraduate programs. >>

International Journey: The Story of a GGU Marketing Student

Ruslan Farman is working toward a BS in Management with a concentration in Marketing.


One of the primary reasons I chose GGU was for its downtown location. It is very close to where I live, and I like the convenience of different food shops and the vibrant atmosphere. Although I have been in the US for 11 years, I love being around the many international students on campus. It makes me feel very comfortable to surround myself in a safe environment – and a bit less homesick.

Over a period of three years, I also have also lived in Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands. I grew up mostly in Kazakhstan and have lived in Russia. I think San Francisco would be attractive for Russians in particular because they love the tech boom and are interested in the fields of accounting and taxation.

GGU is different from other colleges because I am learning about my field from professionals that currently hold positions in the real world. This is a better way of learning business as opposed to only books or only retired professionals. I am also getting additional experience as a marketing assistant in GGU’s marketing and communications department.

When I was in Japan, I fell in love with the billboards in an area very much like Times Square. I decided to major in marketing because I want to give other people that same feeling of excitement.

Success Coach and Advising

I had a difficult time balancing my work commitments and GGU classes at first. With the help of one of the GGU Success Coaches, Bree Butler, I was able to adapt to a realistic schedule within two weeks. Bree guided me with questions to ponder about my student life and helped me create a realistic schedule to complete the degree. At any time, I can text her and she will respond with all the answers. If I need to chat about scheduling difficulties, or any other student related life situation, she’s there to discuss possible success options.

I don’t have to worry about administrative tasks to keep enrolled and moving forward. A month into the program, I was connected with Saba Sohail, the Assistant Director Advising Services, who mapped out GGUs Path to Completion with me. Saba makes every semester easy by registering me for all the classes we planned out. If at any point I’d like to make a change to my schedule or make another kind of request she’s there to help via SMS within minutes. I use the GGU App to track down networking events and try and attend them as much as possible on my free time.

My aspirations

When I was in Japan, I fell in love with the billboards in an area very much like Times Square. I decided to major in marketing because I want to give other people that same feeling of excitement. It is so much fun to market a product, to think of the person’s lifestyle and make them want to incorporate it in their lives.

 


 

San Francisco – The Best Place to Go to College?

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, inspiring a kind of affection summed up in Tony Bennett’s anthem to the city – I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Nearly 25 million tourists from around the globe visit each year to enjoy landmarks such as the “international orange” Golden Gate Bridge, zig-zagging Lombard Street, and the iconic trolley cars that climb up and down the steep city streets.

If you don’t think of San Francisco as a “college town,” think again. San Francisco ranks first for higher education in the US, according to the trusted American Institute of Economic Research (AIER). AIER looked the criteria most important to prospective students: quality of life and economic climate, including:

• Public transportation
• Options for walking and biking
• Arts and entertainment
• Presence of science, technology, medical, and engineering workers
• Employment rate
• Diversity

Amenities abound in San Francisco. Highlights include 50+ museums, 85 transit stops, and 45 miles of streets with bike lanes. Because the city is just 7 miles across and 7 miles wide, you are always minutes away from something exciting to do. On the practical side, San Francisco’s low 3.5% unemployment rate is a good indicator for students seeking an internship or job after college.

San Francisco was rated one of the best places in the world to attend business school, largely because it’s where hundreds of powerful companies base their operations and where start-ups find an ideal climate for hiring new talent.

San Francisco has a reputation as the most accepting city in the US to people regardless of their country of origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or culture. It’s clear walking down almost any street in the city that this is one of the most diverse and colorful cities in the world. The city government is also involved in maintaining its accepting culture. This year it launched a Respect and Love initiative to combat discrimination and make immigrants feel welcome as contributors to the community.

Where in San Francisco should you go to school?

A 4.5-acre park will open a block from GGU later this year.

San Francisco is not a single place – rather a patchwork of neighborhoods, each with its own character. Some are cultural centers, some have a park-like feel, others are great for shopping. Of all these areas, Golden Gate University’s Financial District (downtown) neighborhood is ideal for business students.
Golden Gate University is located in the business epicenter of the city, where you can find the headquarters of Uber, Twitter, Wells Fargo, Salesforce, McKesson, and many others. The campus is literally surrounded by heavy hitters in the business world – the same firms from which the university draws its faculty. In fact, 80 percent of GGU instructors are working professionals who share their very real-world knowledge and connections with students.

But downtown San Francisco is not all business. A 5.4-acre park on the roof of a new transit center will be just a block from GGU’s campus, and the beautiful Embarcadero is a 5-minute walk away. If you’re considering college or grad school, you owe it to yourself to check out Golden Gate University’s graduate and undergraduate programs. We also provide special information for international students.