Jenai Patrick, an associate banker at JP Morgan Private Bank, has been awarded Columbia University’s 2023-2024 Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship. Wealth management firm Hightower Advisors, LLC made a generous gift that will fund the full cost of tuition for this year’s fellow. This August, Jenai, along with 28 other students in her cohort, came to Columbia’s Morningside campus to participate in a three-day residency program that kicked off this year’s program.
“We believe the best experience, and the best conversations, for our clients come from a diversity of experience. And Jenai is going to bring just that,” said Hightower chairman and CEO Bob Oros. “We look forward to seeing what new wealth managers, like Jenai, will contribute to the field and are excited to support her continuing education through the fellowship with Columbia.”
Now in its second year, the fellowship is designed to diversify the financial advising industry as well as to retain and help accelerate the careers of high-caliber professionals from underrepresented groups in the field, including, but not limited to, women and first-generation students.
“We are thrilled to award Jenai this year’s Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship,” said Tracy Schwartz, Wealth Management’s senior program director. “Jenai stood out among many qualified fellowship candidates as an accomplished student, a leader at both her undergraduate university and JP Morgan, and someone who will bring a valued perspective to our program.”
Matthias Kuhlmey, Wealth Management lecturer and Chief Development Officer at Hightower; Jenai Patrick, 2023-2024 Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellow and associate banker at JP Morgan Private Bank; and Tracy Schwartz, Wealth Management’s senior program director at the program’s in-person residency on August 14.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jenai went to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, an HBCU, where she majored in finance and graduated summa cum laude. While at Lincoln, she took on various leadership roles, including president of the student board and student outreach committee chair of the Student Senate.
After college, Jenai joined the analyst program at JP Morgan Private Bank, where she has excelled: Two years into the program, she has been promoted to associate banker. She was inspired to pursue this career in finance because of her academic work in college and a deep interest in the field, as well as her desire to help others who have similar backgrounds with their investments and finances.
Jenai was attracted to the Wealth Management Master of Professional Studies degree because it allows students to complete their master's in wealth management while satisfying the educational requirements for CFP® certification. "That was a huge draw for me,” she said. When she learned that she was accepted into the program and was awarded the fellowship, she was “shocked and elated.” After the initial shock wore off, Jenai describes how she has been “incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”
This year, she is looking forward to sharpening her investment skills in this academic environment in order to “more confidently come to the table with advice for her future clients.” She not only hopes that her background will add to class conversations, but she wants to learn from others who have had different experiences growing up.
When Jenai completes the program, she wants to pass on the knowledge she gains to the next generation of analysts. “Mentorship is extremely important to me,” said Jenai. “At some point, someone probably lent you a helping hand or looked out for you or gave you advice. I want to be that mentor for others starting out in this industry."
About Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P.S. Program
Columbia University’s Master of Professional Studies degree in Wealth Management is the only program of its kind in the Ivy League. It prepares experienced and aspiring wealth management professionals to meet the disruptive challenges of today’s industry. The rigorous, multidisciplinary program helps students build expertise in the theory and practice of core areas of wealth management, such as investment, tax, estate, and retirement planning in conjunction with honing important client skills, such as communication, psychology, decision-making, and relationship management.
A sixteen-month online program specially designed to accommodate working professionals, Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management program is taught by elite faculty with deep, applied experience in their respective fields. Additionally, it is a CFP Board Registered program, designed to help students meet the educational requirements for CFP® certification.