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MS in Finance Online Students Meet in Person for First Time

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The first cohort of Georgetown McDonough’s Master of Science in Finance (MSF) online students were on campus April 11-16 for their onsite residency program. Many of the students met fellow classmates and faculty in person for the first time. For others, this was their inaugural visit to the campus.

Miranda Bacha, a practitioner in the field of education management, traveled from Port Orange, Fla., to Washington, D.C., to participate in the onsite residency.

For Bacha, who was excited to get to know her classmates and meet professors, the long flight was well worth it. “The residency helped students connect with one another, find people with similar interests and ambitions, and make professional connections,” she said.

“The onsite residency is a critical component of the program,” said Bacha, who added that the residency enabled “professors to establish a good rapport with students and students to get to know one another.”

For Joshua Hopkins, a D.C. resident who works in the U.S. financial services industry, the after-hours time spent with fellow students allowed him to connect more deeply with his cohort.

“Many of us had talked with excitement about meeting during our MSFLive sessions and very quickly began to bond over interests that extend beyond the core finance building blocks and into each other's personal motivations and professional interests,” said Hopkins. “I now have a deeper level of connection with my classmates with whom I can exchange ideas, contacts, and even a few laughs as we navigate our professional pursuits.”

A welcome reception and dinner kicked off the residency on April 11 in the university’s Leavey Center Ballroom. At the event, the students heard from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, Provost Robert Groves, Georgetown McDonough Dean David A. Thomas, and MSF Director Allan Eberhart. Each speaker highlighted the importance of building a Georgetown community anchored in technological innovation.

A key highlight of the Friday evening event was the remarks by David Booth, co-founder and CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, the investment firm featured in the residency case, and a university board member.

During the talk, Booth spoke on the strategy behind his company’s decision to enter into the retirement market. The students were excited to hear Booth touch on a number of concepts, including the efficient market hypothesis and the capital asset pricing model, which they had become familiar with from their previous Financial Markets course.

Throughout the two-credit residency, students participated in career, communication, and presentation skills workshops and delved into a case analysis dealing with the retirement industry. The students also attended lecture sessions, including one with Dean Thomas titled “Five Insights from Research on Leadership.” The week-long residency culminated in a case competition during which teams delivered presentations to a panel of judges.

For Hopkins, like other students, the residency provided a rewarding learning experience that was directly relevant to his professional work. He noted, “I left the residency feeling more knowledgeable about current trends within the retirement industry that I can make use of today.”

“I believe that for many students, one of the draws of the program is the opportunity to learn from their colleagues and to access this resource network while remaining in the workforce,” Eberhart said. “For the students, the on-site residency provides a great learning and bonding experience that hopefully, for many of them, will last a lifetime.”