MALVERN, Pa. — Working as a staff accountant, Erik Bullock wanted to accomplish more in his career. He had a strong educational background — a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA — but it hadn’t helped him to land his dream job as an investment banker.
“I knew accounting, marketing and business, but I needed to improve on my analytics and math,” he said. “While I was well-versed in many business concepts, it wasn’t enough to obtain the job I wanted. I needed something that would set me apart.”
That’s when Bullock came across Penn State Great Valley’s Master of Finance program delivered through World Campus. A competitively-priced option, the program’s online courses fit into his busy lifestyle, allowing him to complete schoolwork on the weekends while he spent the week focused on his job. He applied and was quickly accepted to a cohort filled with professionals from all over the world, many with whom he’s still in contact today.
Bullock found Penn State’s program to be extremely detailed and highly relevant. He could immediately apply what he was learning in the classroom to his work. The curriculum deeply emphasizes financial modeling, forecasting, statistics and valuation, compared to the broader focus of some master’s degrees in business or management. Bullock was able to improve his mathematical and analytical skills in a way that directly applied to investment banking.
“It’s a highly specialized degree and an intimidating field of study,” he said. “The faculty presented technical concepts in an easy-to-digest way. I was no longer intimidated, primarily because I knew I had access to the program’s exceptional faculty whenever I was confused or needed help.”
Shortly after receiving his master’s degree in finance, Bullock was presented with the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles for an investment banking job interview.
In 2015 he was hired by B. Riley & Co., a leading investment bank which provides corporate finance, research, and sales and trading to corporate, institutional and high net worth individual clients. The firm is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and is nationally recognized for its highly ranked proprietary equity research.
Now, in his second year with the firm, his role has expanded with his recent promotion from senior analyst to associate. He spends his days working on financial models, managing and educating analysts and interns, pitching ideas to enhance a client’s capital structure, or driving corporate valuations through mergers and acquisitions and strategic advisory.
“The program built my confidence,” remarked Bullock. “I have the same financial acumen as my colleagues with Ivy League degrees, and was able to articulate this in interviews and now meetings. A master’s degree in finance from Penn State gave me the competitive advantage I needed to advance my career and achieve my professional goals.”