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By: Posted on: March 5, 2012 In:
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New Master of Science in Finance focuses on cross-disciplinary approach

By Barbara Clements

Pacific Lutheran University will begin the first classes in its Master of Science in Finance (MSF) this fall, putting the university on the leading edge of grooming finance leaders for the 21st century.

Kevin K. Boeh, MSF program director and finance professor, said he’s excited about the new program because of the students it targets and its interdisciplinary nature.

“This program comes from the fact there’s a global move and preference for specialized masters degrees, such as a masters of finance,” said Boeh, who in his other life was an investment banker on Wall Street and worked on the initial public offerings of companies such as Stamps.com, MapQuest, and Sina.com.

Many employers want deeper expertise in a particular field, Boeh (pronounced “BAY”) said. Graduates from this program, which will begin at PLU this fall, will have a deep expertise in finance, as well as related disciplines such as economics, mathematics and accounting.

“Larger university faculties may not be able to coordinate across these disciplines like we do,” Boeh said.

The masters program targets new and recent graduates, and is an intensive program that will take 10 months to complete, rather than the more traditional two years for an MBA, he said. Because of the small class size that is traditional at PLU, professors will have the opportunity to focus on the individual, he noted.

The PLU MSF aligns closely with the curriculum of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – a globally-known and respected designation.  Students have the opportunity to be well prepared to sit for the CFA Level I exam in December and the Level II exam the following June.

This degree, as well as preparing for the CFA, will give PLU graduates a competitive edge in the business and investment world, said Darcy Johnson ’78 ’82, a PLU Regent and a member of the School of Business Executive Advisory Board.

“Throughout my 30 years of experience in the investment management business, the world has changed dramatically,” said Johnson, a principal at Fulcrum Capital, LLC.. “The one constant is the Chartered Financial Analyst program. The CFA designation is the hallmark of the industry and a ‘must have’ in order to compete with the best and the brightest in this business. Almost every portfolio management job opportunity, entry level or otherwise, requires an MBA or CFA designation. This program will jump start a graduates’s career in investments.”

Those with or without industry experience are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have quantitative backgrounds, and are likely to have an undergraduate degree in finance, mathematics, economics, accounting, engineering, physics, or another quantitative discipline. Target students include:

  • Recent undergraduates hoping to embark on careers in finance with a skill set that differentiates them from their peers.
  • Graduates in quantitatively rich disciplines (e.g., sciences and engineering) who want to prepare for careers in finance.
  • Students interested in pursuing the CFA charter.
  • International students interested in studying in the U.S. while obtaining the MSF degree and better preparing for the CFA charter examinations.
  • Industry professionals wishing to pursue the MSF degree while intensively preparing for the CFA examinations.
  • Accounting majors fulfilling CPA 150-credit hour requirements.

This 10-month, 40-semester hour program will begin in September and continue to the following June. The PLU MSF program is accepting applications for the 2012 cohort. For more information, please visit the Master of Science in Finance website. In addition to the MS in Finance, PLU offers the BBA, MBA, BS in Financial Mathematics and BA in Economics.