January 20, 2017

Graduate Spotlight - Niki Whelan, Master's in Finance

Niki Whelan

Graduate Spotlight - Niki Whelan

There are many paths students can take as graduates of UOnline’s finance program. Many students apply what they learned during their courses by taking on more advanced roles or moving into a management position. UOnline graduate Niki Whelan, an Investment Analyst, decided to advance her career post-masters by pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

“A lot of the coursework provided a great foundation and supplement for the material covered in the CFA program. Content from coursework made becoming a CFA Charterholder seem like a natural progression.”

Niki always knew she wanted to pursue a career in finance. After completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance, she decided to further her education by pursuing a master’s program with a stronger focus in quantitative finance.

As an aspiring young professional, Niki also wanted to attend a program that would not require her to leave her job and become a full-time student. After learning more about UOnline, she decided the Master’s in Finance program would be a perfect fit.

“I knew that going back to school fulltime would be challenging because working full-time limits the schools I could attend. UOnline allowed me to go to reputable school while continuing my career. I felt like I could be part of the University of Miami experience without having to attend class on-campus.”

As a student, Niki completed eight courses that ranged from analytical fundamentals to derivatives and financial modeling, each course building upon the previous. For Niki, it was the behavioral finance and psychology of investing, incorporated into several courses, which elevated UOnline’s program beyond her expectations.

“It was interesting to study the impact of psychology on financial decision making. In addition to the quantitative aspects of finance, an emphasis was placed on the qualitative factors as well. UOnline does a great job of incorporating the raw human and behavioral components into what has been traditionally quantitative material.”

Additionally, Niki’s curriculum continues to have real-world application in her career. For instance, in a course focused on financial decision making, students looked beyond data when evaluating a decision.

“In my career, I make decisions for my clients about what companies and sectors to invest in. This course took data that is available for making these investment decisions and revealed how the data was evaluated and produced. Rather than just understanding these metrics, I was able uncover the information that is utilized in the calculation of the resultant analytics.”

As a UOnline graduate, Niki is excited to advance as a young professional as well as continue to work towards becoming a CFA Charterholder, a certification held by approximately 120,000 individuals globally.

“UM allowed me to attend a prestigious school, and to be taught by world-class faculty - in tandem with the pursuit of my career. A lot of what I learned in the master’s program has been applicable to my day-to-day job and has prepared me to advance in my field.”