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How I’m Advancing My Career In Finance After A Master’s At NYU Stern School Of Business

Hear from two finance professionals about how they are bolstering their skill set and transforming their careers via a master’s degree

Wed Nov 15 2023

It’s no secret that the business world is growing increasingly competitive, with career advancement an even harder pursuit. Across industries, employers are looking for talent with high-level skill sets, ready to tackle unique business challenges. 

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), today employers place a premium on interpersonal skills, communication, and data analysis and interpretation as the most important skills for professionals

Recognizing the opportunity to get ahead, Edgar Warnholtz Perez and Aygül Mustafina opted for business school. 

The online Master in Quantitative Management (MSQM) Program at New York University Stern School of Business (NYU Stern) offers working professional students the chance to upskill in business fundamentals through core MBA courses alongside essential analytical thinking skills. 

“It was the perfect combination for gaining a broader understanding of business through the lens of data,” says Aygül. 

We spoke to Edgar and Aygül to find out more about the impact the program is having on their careers in finance. 

Gaining essential data analytics skills 

Data has always been intrinsic to a career in business, but it’s now more important than ever. As the volume and use of data increase, so does the necessity for professionals to adapt. 

According to GMAC, 74% employers cite data visualization and statistical analysis as growing in value over the next five years.  a4dd5a69ae8b46eeb353cf9f0d4959637d526030.png

“My role in finance was very analytical and data driven already but I knew that I would need skills far beyond how to use Excel to create a financial model as we head towards an increasingly data-driven world,” says Edgar. 

When joining the MSQM program at NYU Stern, Edgar worked as a credit rating analyst at Fortune 500 firm S&P Global. The online format of the program was perfect as it meant he could advance his education and career simultaneously. 

He says that the master’s at NYU Stern helped him a explore and emphasize the importance of data in decision-making. In courses such as R Programming for Data, Data Visualization, and Data Science and Predictive Analysis, students learn how to approach business problems data-analytically. 

“I started to see that managerial decisions could be made with more certainty by leveraging data to make those choices,” he says.  

Studying in the MSQM program while working means professionals will learn to understand the applications of data in the specific context of their role and industry. 

For Aygül, this was especially useful when preparing financial reports and planning the 2024 budget in her role as a financial planning and analysis (FP&A) manager at a financial services firm.

“The exposure to programming languages and analytics has helped me become more articulate when presenting data. It’s also helped me build a stronger relationship with the more heavily data-focused teams within the company,” she says. 

Meeting a network of like-minded professionals 

For anyone striving to advance their career, building a network is crucial. At business school, you have access to a wealth of experience and expertise at your fingertips. 

“The network really was a goldmine while studying because we all come from different backgrounds—we have software engineers, entrepreneurs, financial analysts—all with different strengths. Throughout the MSQM program, I tapped into the knowledge of all my classmates,” says Aygül.

At the beginning of each year in the MSQM program, students have the chance to meet in-person during a four-day residential at NYU Stern’s campus in Greenwich Village. The cohort takes part in courses that are focused on building interpersonal skills such as Communication and Conflict & Negotiation. 

Solidifying these connections at the start of the program really set the tone going forward, says Aygül. 

“This is where I made the strongest connections and lifelong friends. The people I’ve met are smart, ambitious, and they challenge me. They’ve helped me look at problems from a different perspective,” she says. 

Switching roles while studying for a master’s at NYU Stern

Studying at business school while working means professionals can experience immediate career impact. This was the case for Edgar, who switched roles while studying in the MSQM program. 

The program gave him the expertise, flexibility, and confidence to explore career options to decide which was the best fit for him. 

“Gaining advanced knowledge and sharpening your skills while having the flexibility of continuing your career or moving to a different city for a new opportunity is a very compelling value proposition,” says Edgar. 

In his second career move, Edgar relocated from New York to San Diego when he landed a role as a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professional at software company Cordance. 

“When we create an opportunity to acquire a company, I rely on data to evaluate the business and tell me how successful that acquisition may be,” he says. 

Before joining the MSQM program, Edgar hadn’t known exactly what a career in software M&A entailed. However, as the program combines core MBA courses covering business fundamentals with data analytics, Edgar gained deeper insight into this new career path and decided to take a leap. 

Pivoting to an NYU Stern MBA degree 

Students enrolled in NYU Stern’s MSQM Program also have the unique option to transfer credits to Stern’s Langone Part-time MBA Program—given they meet eligibility requirements—and graduate with an MBA from the renowned business school instead of a master of science. 

“The MQSM program presented this great opportunity to tap into this data analytics world, but also have an open door to pivot into the MBA program,” says Aygül, who is now part-way through completing the MBA.  ca1b1eecb2ef78f3e1920fdaa9895b07f551cca8.png

Stern’s Langone Part-time MBA offers the same flexibility as students can choose between four study options—weeknight classes, Saturday classes, an accelerated two-year study option, or an online/modular option.

Having studied core MBA courses during the MSQM program, Aygül is now enjoying being able to specialize. The course called Work Wisdom and Happiness, part of the Sustainable Business and Innovation specialization, has particularly caught her interest.

“I read the professor's book even prior to joining the program so I’m very excited to learn from someone like him,” she says. 

For Edgar, “I feel well prepared not only for today, but for what might come and who knows what that might be. The MSQM program is all about being able to make better decisions using data that leads to more conviction in abstract business environments."