UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State Smeal College of Business one year Masters in Corporate Finance produced its first graduates last year and provided them with valuable skills as they take on roles at nationally renowned companies.
“The curriculum has given me specific skills and knowledge that are essential for a successful career as a financial advisor.”
– Shravan Kumar, Class 2020, Penn State Smeal Master in Corporate Finance
The program enables students to earn an advanced STEM degree in finance in just one year by developing critical thinking skills in areas such as corporate strategy, valuation, market analysis, capital budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, investment analysis, and more to succeed be the corporate world.
Shravan Kumar is an early graduate of the program and now serves as a tax advisor at Deloitte, which provides auditing, advisory, tax and advisory services to global brands.
Kumar is currently working as a tax advisor but hopes his Masters in Corporate Finance will enable him to transition into his desired career as a financial advisor.
“I am confident that the corporate finance program will help my career move,” said Kumar. “The curriculum has given me specific skills and knowledge that are essential for a successful career as a financial advisor.”
Kumar considered two courses that he found particularly useful – financial assessments taught by Assistant Clinical Professor of Finance Jason Lunn and Portfolio Management taught by Associate Professor of Finance Timothy Simin.
Dedicated faculty members who prioritize their students are a fundamental element of the program’s success – and have helped advance Kumar’s decision to join Penn State’s Smeal College of Business ahead of other universities’ masters programs.
“I liked that you don’t need a financial background to be successful in this program. In addition to learning finances in the courses, I learned to think differently and really changed the way I tackle complex problems. “
– Vineet Champaneria, Class 2020, Penn State Smeal Master in Corporate Finance
While living in India and working for a shipping company doing tax work, Kumar decided it was time to pursue his goals and move into finance. He began doing research at universities with master’s degrees in various financial concentrations and learned about Smeal’s corporate finance program.
It wasn’t until he reached out to alumni and finance professionals on LinkedIn that he realized that Smeal would be the best way to achieve his goals.
“The people I spoke to explained how amazing the networking opportunities are and how easy it is to make connections,” said Kumar. “From there I was able to reach the faculty members within the program and speak directly to the professors, which was a huge advantage for me.”
The format of the program allows students to start web-based courses in the summer and finish in University Park in two semesters. Kumar described the transition from living in India to a Penn Stater as a “major cultural shift” that he embraced on a daily basis.
“The university is full of so many activities and career fairs and events,” said Kumar. “When considering this program, you need to prioritize your course load, which is strict because of the year-long curriculum. However, you should also take advantage of the experience and enjoy being part of this university.”
Vineet Champaneria is another graduate of the 2020 Masters in Corporate Finance program. He is currently a software engineer at Wells Fargo Securities. In his role, he works with the investment portfolio team and develops full-stack software for an investment bank.
Champaneria said earning a master’s degree in corporate finance after completing his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering helped him demonstrate his cross-functional skills to employers – and enabled him to secure a position on a team he was the only one on Is an employee with no degree in computer science.
“I loved that you don’t need financial knowledge to be successful in this program,” said Champaneria. “The courses didn’t just teach me finances – they also taught me how to think differently and really changed the way I approach complex problems.”
His advice to prospective Masters is that the program is “worth what you are willing to put into it” – and emphasizes that hard work and time management are necessary for a student’s overall success.
“The program gives you many opportunities to get a killer job, but you still have to put the work into it to get there,” said Champaneria.
However, Champaneria also said that he does not believe that students need to be sold within the program on any particular career path in order to use this program to their advantage.
“You will learn a lot of useful skills that can be applied to a wide variety of problems,” said Champaneria. “If you’re looking for a way to get your foot in the door for a financial career, this program is sure to help you.”
Smeal College of Business is currently accepting applications for its year-long Masters in Corporate Finance, which will begin this May. To be considered, students must apply by February 1st. More information is available on the program website.
Shravan Kumar graduated from the Penn State Smeal Masters program in corporate finance in 2020 and now works as a tax advisor at Deloitte.