I graduated from Clarion in May 2015 with a degree in Corporate and Personal Finance, and Monetary Economics (BSBA). I started out as a broadcast communications and finance major. Throughout high school I worked at a radio station and loved it, but in college it became more of a hobby. I really enjoyed my economics classes so I dropped the communications major and picked up economics. I was offered a job in the fall of my senior year at a major, Pittsburgh hospital system in their finance rotational program. Around the same time I accepted the job, Dr. Jeffrey Eicher selected myself and a few other personal finance students to participate in a financial planning competition, the 2015 FASTech Cup. I had often thought of financial planning as a hobby, but the competition changed that. It reminded me that I could intertwine my analytical finance and economics skills, with my communication background, in order to help people. We won First Place in the Case Study Competition, and I was left second-guessing my career choice.
So, after college I moved to Pittsburgh and started my career as a Financial Analyst. But it wasn't long until I realized my passion was on the personal side of finance. So Dr. Eicher connected me with a recruiting firm called New Planner Recruiting, that helps connect financial planning firms that lack a full-fledged HR department with qualified candidates. I completed their process and wound up at Vintage Financial Services in Ann Arbor, MI in July 2016. Since then I've passed the CFP(R) examination in November 2016 and will earn that designation later this summer. I also became an Enrolled Agent which allows me to practice and represent clients in front of the IRS. It took some time, but I've finally found the area of finance that's right for me.
Being in the Honors Program really helped shape my Clarion experience. The mentoring it provided opened my eyes to the array of opportunities I had as an undergraduate at Clarion. Because of that, I became involved on campus as a student leader and was appointed to the CSA Board of Directors and elected chairman my sophomore year. My time at CSA transformed my Clarion experience in a variety of ways. Building consensus, working as a team, and solving problems were all skills I honed in this role.
There are too many people to name that had an impact on my success at Clarion.
I'm currently pursuing a Masters in Advanced Financial Planning and Taxation at Golden Gate University. If there's one thing I learned at Clarion, it's that we should always have an open mind for opportunity, and that the education and experiences we have should continue to open doors for us.
I've always been interested and fascinated about numbers. I'm always one to see how far my dollar can go, and I knew finance would have an array of career opportunities available to me upon graduation. Whether it was the personal or corporate side of finance, I had no doubt that this would be an extremely rewarding career path that would consistently offer me potential to grow.
After two years of business courses, I declared finance as my major at the start of junior year. Dr. Jeffrey Eicher helped me decide to take the extra few credits to have both a personal and corporate concentration.
The support I received from faculty had the biggest impact on my success. When I felt lost, or felt like I was struggling to get through a class, I never hesitated to send an email, or stay after class, or setup a meeting with a professor. Professors felt more like friends because of how much they cared about my success and future as long as I was willing to work hard for my degree.
I'm currently an Analyst in the Financial Controllers/Global Markets Department at
The Bank of New York Mellon in downtown Pittsburgh. Working in a team environment,
we individually assess the daily, monthly, quarterly and
yearly P&L (profit and loss) reporting for multiple business portfolios and accounts. We
also analyze the daily shift and movement of the stock market by using Greek
measures (Theta, Vega, Gamma, Delta). This helps report the sensitivity of
options and reduce risk to appropriately hedge portfolios to upper management.
I absolutely attribute my success from the preparation I received at Clarion. Let's face it, not everybody is prepared for the real world once graduation is over. I was very confident in starting an entry level position with BNY Mellon because of the course I took at Clarion. It was very challenging, as any new job can be, but I was very familiar with the basic accounting and finance tools, skills, and language and felt prepared. In under two years I was promoted, and within three years I was interviewing for my current position while obtaining my MBA degree.
Dr. Eicher impacted my time at Clarion the most because he is an excellent advisor and helped me work through my wants and needs in a career to help me declare finance as my major. He also explained the benefits of majoring in both personal and corporate tracks of finance and helped me pick up a marketing minor along the way by adding specific classes to my schedule. Finally, he wrote me a letter of recommendation to help with my interview at BNY Mellon upon graduating (in which I was then hired).
I heard about the opportunity to study abroad in Lisbon, Portugal, through a friend who wanted to go on the trip. I signed up to go because it was such a great opportunity I just could not pass up. Traveling to Europe had been a dream of mine, and this trip allowed me to do that for a fraction of the cost of normal travel, gain six credits that applied to my major, and gain international business experiences.
While in Portugal, we met with two businesses. One of the businesses was a hotel that utilizes energy efficient plans, and the other was a business that helps start-up companies become successful. As part of our assignments, we had to talk to local business owners about the economy, environment, culture, and politics that might affect doing business in Portugal.
The entire trip was amazing, but the best part was getting afternoons and weekends free to travel. Some of the other students and I were able to travel to Spain and Gibraltar during the two weekends. During the week after class, we would travel around Lisbon to various attractions we wanted to go to, seeing castles, towers, beaches, and much more.
Studying abroad was definitely a little out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I went! I would highly recommend this opportunity to other students. The trip itself was only two weeks, and during this semester we are writing business plans for a startup in Portugal. From this trip, I am receiving three international business and three science credits. The cost was also very reasonable for the trip, and everything was already organized for us like plane tickets and hotels. This study abroad opportunity through Clarion University is perfect because of the affordable costs, two-week time period, organization, credits gained, and international experiences.
Samuel Saul Richardson
I chose the Paralegal certificate because after my experience as a Political Science minor and looking toward what I wanted to do with my life after my communication degree – plus having close to a year left in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard – I thought about law school. I realized that I didn't have enough time to do an entirely new degree, but I thought that the paralegal program would be a great stepping stone. I could use those classes to see if I enjoyed learning about the law while also applying to go to law school.
I didn't exactly think that I would be cut out for law school. So I looked around at different options. I knew that I enjoyed my Poli Sci classes and my now fiancée convinced me that if I really put the work in and enjoyed my classes during the one-year paralegal program that I could definitely handle law school. The Paralegal program helped tremendously. The Legal Research and Legal Writing classes were extremely hands-on and were almost exactly what I had to do in my first semester of law school research and writing classes. The Civil Litigation course that I took required research and writing skills that I use constantly now that I'm here and a part of that class required doing a mock trial where I played the part of the attorney and I believe that it directly led to me finishing in the Quaterfinals of my schools 1L (first year) Opening Statement Competition this past Fall. All of my other classes gave me insight on what attorneys do, as well as various parts of the law, which I believe gives me a huge advantage starting out over many of my fellow classmates.
I would have to say that, comparatively, Clarion is a small school. And I realized that that might have been my biggest advantage although I took it for granted while I was there. I could make personal relationships with faculty members that would help me in countless ways, but I was also able to do a variety of activities that allowed me to work with almost every different major offered. For a short time, I joined the College Republicans. I joined them during the election year because I was interning with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and was going to attend the RNC with the school that Summer. However, the biggest clubs that I have to give credit to are Kappa Kappa Psi, the marching band, Phi Mu Alpha, and the Student Veterans Association. Kappa Kappa Psi is the honorary band fraternity. I have to say that a variety of debates about the bylaws and constitution of that group probably pushed me towards law school.
I graduated from Clarion in May 2016 with a degree in personal and corporate finance, and accounting. I chose finance mainly because of my lifelong aspirations to become a financial advisor. I added accounting along the way due to some insightful guidance from Dr. (Jeffrey) Eicher. He was an invaluable resource to have while studying at Clarion and even today.
The faculty at Clarion is what really sets the program above others. The business professors made my time at Clarion special. Dr. Eicher, in particular, was the one professor I can truly say has made a big impact on my professional development. The supportive faculty is such an important factor that should not be overlooked when choosing a school.
I am currently a financial advisor working out of Pittsburgh for Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, on a multigenerational team. Our practice focuses on holistic planning to make sure all aspects of our clients lives are included in the planning process. By doing so, we help our clients make better, smarter decisions that ultimately lead to greater financial security and a better quality of life.
I received the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in June of 2018 after passing the exam a few months prior. Clarion was instrumental when it came to placing me in the right position to sit for the exam upon graduating. The personal finance track at Clarion satisfies the education requirement needed to obtain the designation. The CFP Board registered program at Clarion saved me from taking additional classes after graduating to be able to sit for the exam. The Clarion personal finance program gave me a strong foundation that allowed me to succeed in passing the CFP exam and practice financial planning at Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC.