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A Day in the Life of Wealth Manager and Columbia Master’s in Wealth Management Student Vinícius Arold

Vinícius Arold, CFP® had been working in financial advising for nearly a decade when he learned about Columbia University’s Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Wealth Management program. He enrolled in the 16-month online master’s program to elevate his practice for his high-net-worth clients. Born, raised, and currently living in Brazil, Arold shares a detailed look into his daily life as both a full-time wealth manager and an international, part-time student at Columbia, including his leadership role as the Vice President of the Columbia Wealth Management Club.

How would you explain wealth management to someone who is unfamiliar with it?

Wealth managers are responsible for holistically and thoughtfully advising clients on their entire portfolio, from investment and retirement planning to tax and estate planning. Wealth managers act as stewards of their client’s wealth, helping them to achieve their lifelong goals, and protecting and perpetuating their wealth through generations. 

Tell us about your career.

I was born and raised in Brazil and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. At the beginning of my career, I worked in the U.S. advising Brazilian clients who invested there. I currently work at Portofino Multi Family Office, a wealth management firm in Brazil. In my role as a Relationship Manager, I advise families on their wealth, from asset allocation to estate, tax, and retirement planning. 

Why did you decide to enroll in Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P.S. program?

Wealth Management, in my opinion, is one of the most multidisciplinary professions. On a daily basis, we have to deal with investment management, tax planning, estate planning, succession planning, family governance, and sometimes the client’s family business. Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P.S. program provides a really strong foundation for anyone who is (or wants to become) a high-end wealth manager. I wanted to elevate my practice to another level to serve my clients with excellence, so I decided to attend the only Ivy League program focused on the subject.  

How do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of the online program?

I participate in the online discussion board posts and attend synchronous office hours as much as I can. I always read the resources in advance. This gives me more time to ask questions and to actively participate in the discussions, which are usually very rich; the professors and the students often exchange insightful, real-life experiences from their own careers.

How do you balance your work and/or home life in Brazil with your studies?

Alongside Columbia and my day-to-day job, I am an active member of an institute in Brazil called IFL-SP (Instituto de Formação de Líderes) that is focused on developing the leadership of its members and providing a strong network. I also have a two-year-old-son, who has already joined a couple of online classes! I manage my time by blocking my schedule with the tasks that I need to deliver, and I treat Columbia as one of my clients–definitely my most demanding one. Also, the time zone in Brazil is really close to Eastern Standard Time, so I don’t have major issues with planning. 

How has your learning from the program contributed to your career? 

Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P.S. program is rich with resources and materials that are applicable from day one. All of the professors are working professionals in the field, so we are learning directly from successful wealth management professionals with decades of experience.

In the Wealth Management Landscape course, we had a module on Family Offices where we learned the main needs and requirements to build a single-family office. Shortly thereafter, I was prospecting a family with significant wealth that was determining if they should build their own single family office or hire a multi-family office. I presented the different kinds of structures I had learned in the course to help them make a thoughtful decision given their current situation. After several meetings and presentations, they elected to join the already established multi-family office for which I work. 

How do you work with professors and other students in your cohort? 

Several of our group projects require us to meet online and discuss problems in real-life wealth management situations. The cohort is diverse and we are in different time zones, so we always try to accommodate everyone. Besides the required meetings, I have had some “virtual coffees” with my colleagues and professors to exchange experiences and best practices.

For me, this is a very rich experience since there is always something to learn from these informal conversations. One of the professors introduced me to the CEO of a large multi-family office in the U.S. and I was able to virtually meet him and learn a lot. I don’t see how I would have manifested this invaluable opportunity without the program.  

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

You have to be willing to commit and dedicate many hours of study on weekdays and weekends. The Wealth Management M.P.S. program is very demanding and as hard as you would expect from a master’s program at Columbia University. But the experience acquired, the network built, and the resources provided are incomparable and definitely worth the effort. It is the kind of program that you will enjoy and will want to take advantage of—every lecture, every reading, and every discussion. You will find it all to be applicable to your future or existing wealth management practice. 

What does a day in the life of Vinícius Arold look like?

5.00 AM: Starting the day by studying before going to the office, or working out at 7 AM twice a week

(Above) An illustration of Arold’s desk while studying remotely from Brazil 

9.00 AM: Working at the office

(Above) Arold’s working desk at his office in Brazil 

12.00 PM: Watching the recorded class sections

Afternoon: Joining office hours, at least twice a week

7.00 PM: Networking with Wealth Management Cohort and Professors

(Above) Arold and his cohort at Columbia’s MPS in Wealth Management doing a virtual meeting

9 PM: Watching a recorded class session

(Above) Arold watching one of his recorded class sessions during his free time

Fall 2022 applications are open for Columbia University's Master of Professional Studies in Wealth Management program. Admitted students may also apply for a full-tuition fellowship; learn about the fellowship's eligibility requirements and how to apply.