McDonough School of Business
Melissa Siew (MSF'24) reflects on the importance of building community.
News Story

Melissa Siew (MSF‘24) on Building Community and Believing in Yourself

As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of the Class of 2024. This year’s graduating class demonstrated immense commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as they embark on their next chapter as Hoya alumni. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting several of the exceptional students in the Class of 2024 as they share their personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and preview what the future holds after commencement.

Melissa Siew (MSF‘24) has become comfortable with stepping outside of her comfort zone. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Siew pivoted to pursue a career in the finance industry. Eager to further develop her skills and career, she applied to Georgetown McDonough’s Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program, an experience that would prove to be transformative both professionally and personally.

Here, Siew reflects on her favorite experiences in the program, important people who nurtured her growth, and the importance of building community. 

Tell us about your background. What led you to the MSF program?

Following her service in the Marine Corps, Melissa Siew pursued a corporate career in finance.

Melissa Siew (MSF’24)

Following my service in the Marine Corps, I pursued a corporate career and gained experience in a variety of finance roles including accounting, operations, and wealth management. A few years ago, I realized I wanted a new challenge, one that would enable me to further advance in the finance industry. 

The Georgetown M.S. in Finance program caught my attention for several reasons. First, its flexible structure, featuring pre-recorded lectures and weekly class meetings, allowed me to seamlessly balance my ongoing work commitments while attending school. In addition to the online component of the program, the incorporation of face-to-face interactions and on-campus learning opportunities also resonated with me. This unique blend of virtual convenience and in-person engagement fostered a sense of connection to the Georgetown community. Finally, the prestige associated with the McDonough School of Business was also a big draw for me. I felt the inclusive and dynamic learning environment that the MSF program offered was an exciting opportunity that motivated me to pursue my degree.

What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at McDonough?

My proudest moment from my time at McDonough was when I was brought on as a teaching assistant (TA). It was a great honor and a chance to give back to the program. Being a TA has been a fun and exciting experience not only in terms of understanding the dynamics of teaching, but also in fostering respect for my professors and peers. This experience changed my approach to studying and renewed my respect for how much the staff engages with the diversity of the student body and their various learning abilities. 

Siew found it rewarding to be selected as a teaching assistant.

Siew with Ammerman and fellow teaching assistants

I am forever grateful to David Allen Ammerman for having faith and believing in me. Being a TA has fortified my confidence and given me the opportunity to expand my ability to articulate and understand what I am looking for in my career. This role is vital to supporting the belief I have in myself and my capabilities. I am humbled that I was given the opportunity to assist others and support their growth in the program as well. My goal is to inspire and empower other students, as the staff and professors have done for me. Finally, being a TA shaped the friendships and network that I will carry forward well beyond graduation from McDonough. 

What was your favorite course or experience while in the MSF program?

Though every course in the MSF program held its own significance, one that stands out for me is Financial Modeling and Valuation. This course was the first opportunity I had to highlight how much I had learned throughout the program. The hands-on learning approach coupled with invaluable guidance from the instructor influenced my career aspirations. This course led me to pursue a valuation project in the Global Consulting Project, which allowed me to travel abroad and collaborate with peers whom I had grown alongside over the last two years.

Siew grew deeper connections with her classmates through the Global Consulting Project.

Siew in Toledo, Spain with her Global Consulting Project classmates

The experience was both challenging and rewarding, as working on this project granted us the opportunity to translate classroom knowledge into real-world applications. Additionally, the project fostered deeper connections with my classmates, enriching the overall experience with shared learning and camaraderie. It was truly a remarkable journey that I was fortunate to embark on with such talented and inspiring individuals. My experience in the valuation course and the Global Consulting Project has influenced my decision to pursue a career in valuation. 

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?

Siew is grateful for her network of support at Georgetown McDonough

Siew is grateful for her network of support at Georgetown McDonough

One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Georgetown is the importance of collaboration and networking. The diverse cohort of students and the supportive community at McDonough encouraged me to actively engage with my peers, seek mentorship from faculty and alumni, and leverage various resources available to me. I realized that success in the finance industry is not just about individual achievement, but also about building strong relationships, fostering teamwork, and continuously learning from others. I am humbled by the community built through this program and it is an honor to be a part of it. I’ve greatly appreciated getting to know my peers and have established a network of peers who I cherish, have a mutual respect for, and who have become close friends. We support each other both academically and professionally; we are each other’s cheerleaders and push each other to be better every day. 

Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?

While there have been numerous exceptional individuals within the Georgetown community who have contributed to my success, two stand out for their profound impact: David Allen Ammerman, assistant teaching professor and director of academic operations for the MSF program, and Donna Tanenbaum, my career advisor. Both have had a significant impact on my time at Georgetown, demonstrating not only deep expertise, but also a genuine passion for teaching and mentoring. Their mentorship strengthened my proficiency in finance. However, their guidance, encouragement, and invaluable insights helped to build confidence in myself and take pride in my accomplishments. I will never be able to repay either of them for all the time and effort they have poured into my success. Without their support, I wouldn’t have found success as easily as I have over the last two years, nor would I know what I want for the future. 

Siew is grateful for the David Allen Ammerman and Donna Tanenbaum for their mentorship and support.

Siew with Tanenbaum and Global Consulting Project peers

What are your post-graduate plans?

My goal is to pursue a career in private equity or corporate finance, specifically in a valuation analyst role where I can leverage my analytical skills and financial knowledge to make meaningful contributions. I am actively exploring opportunities that align with my interests and career aspirations, and I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.

What advice would you give to the next cohort of MSF students?

Fully immerse yourself in the program, seize every opportunity for learning and growth, and build strong relationships within the Georgetown community. Take advantage of the resources available to you, whether it’s networking events, career workshops, or extracurricular activities. Be proactive in seeking mentorship from faculty and alumni, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Remember that your time at Georgetown McDonough is not just about acquiring knowledge, but also developing the skills, mindset, and network that will set you up for success in your future both professionally and personally.

Class of 2024
M.S. in Finance