Ryan Kanetoku is a June 2014 graduate in the inaugural master's in Finance (MSF) cohort. We talked to him about his decision to get a graduate degree and his reasons for choosing Santa Clara.
I always knew that I wanted to get some sort of advanced degree. In this day and age, it is extremely common to see executives and leaders with more than just an undergraduate degree. As a business student, an MS or MBA are your main options. Because I had the benefit of interning with Morgan Stanley I had my mind set on working in the investments field with aspirations of becoming a private wealth advisor. Since I knew what career path I wanted to follow I talked with my parents and employers, and decided, for me, an MBA was not as relevant to a career in wealth management. An MSF degree at this point in my career would set me apart from most other candidates, and solidify my foundation in finance before I enter the workforce.
There are two things that I'd really like to gain from the MSF program: an expanded network of peers with similar interests and aspirations, and an advanced degree that allows me to stand out from the crowd of already very talented students entering the workforce. I hope that my educational and professional experience will allow firms to view me as an asset to their team rather than just another entry-level associate.
I fell in love with the Silicon Valley my junior year of high school and began as a freshman at Santa Clara University in 2009. There is no better place, in my opinion, to start a career. The valley is filled with the greatest minds in the world and it has fostered some of the most promising careers. Also, since I attended Santa Clara for my undergraduate I had a pretty well established network of friends and peers who remained in the area post-graduation. Finally, Santa Clara has just about the closest weather patterns as Honolulu, where I am originally from. I could not move anywhere much colder than here.
The Leavey School of Business has already done a great deal for me - several of my internship experiences as an undergrad came through the Business School's connections. Earning my graduate degree from a leading business school in the Bay Area will help me expand my network in the Valley, and gain attention from employers who value the strong finance faculty and alumni at SCU.
The program has been a really great experience thus far. It is definitely a different game taking classes at the graduate level. I am probably one of the most junior students in the program, so interacting with people who have been working for years is a really great experience. There is a great deal to be learned from every single classmate. This is a great program and I have benefited a great deal from being here.
Coming into the program, I expected a high level of competition or cut-throat behavior among my classmates, especially since it is a graduate degree program. However, I found that all of my classmates are highly collaborative and more than willing to foster your growth alongside their own. There was no competitiveness for grades as I expected, rather there was this desire for the whole class to succeed. I really think as the first MSF class, a lot of the students feel a strong commitment to the well-being and success of the program.