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Purdue University: Career-advancing immersions in the world of finance

As a forward-thinking student, gaining real-world experience is essential. Experiential learning opportunities offer valuable insight into how corporations and organisations function, allowing for the development of skills that are critical to employers today. At the same time, the benefits of being an active member of the student community cannot be understated. In this, choosing a university that combines both can be a graduate’s winning factor.

Enter Purdue University. Founded in 1869, this top-ranked public university in West Lafayette, Indiana, US is home to the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, known nationwide for delivering excellence in its undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes. This has earned it a collection of distinguished rankings, including placing #44 among the Best Business Schools in the US.

One of the most sought-after programmes here is the professionally-revered Master of Science in Finance (MSF). Ideal for recent graduates with a background in finance, statistics and mathematics, the MSF is designed to expand capabilities and boost careers in a wide range of industries and organizations, from corporate titans to the public sector to commercial banking.

MSF achieves this by offering diverse student experiences that expose them to the inner workings of the finance world, help them build solid connections, and equip them with skills vital for success in the industry.

At the heart of this is an emphasis on learning by doing. Classroom studies are complemented by on-the-ground action, where students have access to the brightest minds in finance on a daily basis. Every aspect of the curriculum is tailored to be adaptable, responding to the current trends of corporate finance, investment management, commercial and retail banking, and more.

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Source: Purdue University

Here, professional development is practised from day one. For example, alumni mentoring connects students with more than 40,000 in Purdue’s alumni network. In 2022, over 1,000 alumni-student connections were cultivated through case competitions, classroom visits, mentoring and networking events.

The Purdue Finance Workshop (PFW) is another prime example. Run by finance alums living and working in Manhattan, the PFW aims to prepare Daniels School of Business graduates for dynamic careers in banking and investments. It does so through comprehensive workshops that explore roles in finance, soft skill refinement, technical training, networking events and more.

Plenty of student-organised clubs serve to guide students along the path of finance, as well. For instance, the Student Managed Investment Fund manages approximately US$400,000 in the stock market. It’s a concrete chance for students to gain real experience in the field.

“It gives me the opportunity to work alongside faculty and alumni to enable my career in asset management, investment research, and equity research,” shares student Sanskruti Nainutia. “We all work together to create biweekly reports and evaluate companies.”

Then there’s the Student Managed Venture Fund. It’s 100% student-managed, allowing learners to interact with firms and investors in venture capital, with the option of co-investing with a partner.

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Source: Purdue University

“Students receive mentorship from professionals who spend time teaching them the science and art involved in investing in early stage, non-public companies across industries,” explains alum Varun Bali, MSF ‘23. “One of the most memorable meetings that we had was with the CEO of Elevate Ventures, Christopher (Toph) Day, where he talked about the different funds within Elevate, their investment style, the rounds that they like to invest in, and what they look for in entrepreneurs.”

That’s not to distract from the myriad of corporate visits and networking opportunities available at the Daniels School of Business. Every semester, MSF students visit a major metropolitan area and connect with industry leaders through corporate office visits. To date, they’ve built relationships with firms like Morgan Stanley in cities like Chicago, Indianapolis and New York City.

Students not only visit major corporations — they work on projects with them too. Work experience is gained through consulting projects, where students are treated as entry-level analysts by corporate partners. Many are active members of the CFA Society of Indianapolis, which brings together the Indianapolis investment community to collectively learn from and engage with each other. Through these, students sharpen essential skills such as presenting, communication, presence and more.

They do so on a dynamic, engaging campus in a city that’s full of innovation and legacy. Students draw inspiration from the likes of Amelia Earhart and Neil Armstrong, both of whom studied at Purdue University. And in between classes, they walk through historic neighbourhoods, visit quaint coffee shops and relax and unwind in plenty of open spaces.

All in all, a degree from Purdue University isn’t just an academic pursuit — it’s a career-defining experience. “[The MSF] is rigorous without being back-breaking,” shares graduate Alejandro Serrano. “I have gotten my hands dirty in a wide variety of spheres within finance. Classes go beyond the basics and challenge my ability to learn quickly. I feel confident that my master’s will be the cornerstone on which I build my career.”

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