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How a Master’s in Wealth Management Led to an SPS Alum’s Professional Growth

Interested in pivoting to the field of wealth management and looking to fill gaps in her “resume of experience,” Jenifer Bloodsworth (’22SPS, Wealth Management) used time during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic to contemplate her current career trajectory and initiate significant changes in her life.

Jenifer’s path ultimately led her to pursue an M.P.S. in Wealth Management degree at Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS).

Now a national account manager at First Eagle Investments, Jenifer recently spoke to SPS about her journey to Columbia, her recent Eagle’s Club Award recognition, and how her experience in the Wealth Management program has helped her acquire new skills, new knowledge, and new connections.

What inspired you to apply to Columbia’s Wealth Management graduate program?

One of the reasons why I chose SPS is because it’s the only Wealth Management master's program in the Ivy League. My undergraduate studies were not in finance or wealth management. When COVID happened and I was no longer commuting and began feeling a bit isolated from other people, I decided two things. One, I believed that it was a great opportunity for me to fill what I felt was a gap in my resume of experience by going back and pursuing an educational degree in the field that I work in now. And two, after being isolated from both my typical social network and my career networks, I thought that pursuing this degree might be a good way to engage with people on a regular basis.

How do you think your Columbia experience has boosted your professional career?

It’s given me a deeper knowledge of the industry that I work in. Going through this program really expanded my network, connecting with people in the industry across different firms and disciplines, so I've been able to continue to rely on that network to better understand trends within the industry and gain different perspectives. A large part of the Wealth Management program also involves problem-based learning, which has been a great way to practice and learn about working with other people. I utilize those skills every single day.

You recently received the Eagle’s Club Award. Could you share a bit about this recognition?

I was an Eagle’s Club Award recipient for 2023. The Eagle’s Club Award is an honor given to the members of the First Eagle distribution team who have demonstrated Excellence in Execution. It's a way to recognize members of the sales organization who have done an outstanding job for the year.

Do you have a favorite memory from your experience in the Wealth Management program?

Typically, the program begins and ends with an in-person residency. When we started, the school was not open for in-person sessions due to COVID. So our first residency had to be virtual. In fact, we went through the first year of the program completely virtually.

A year into the program, a bunch of fellow students voluntarily came to New York to meet up. We planned some activities, and one of them was a tour of Wall Street. I remember showing up for the tour and meeting these people in person for the first time. All of us ran up to each other and hugged, and the tour guide asked, “How do you all know each other? You seem really close. Is this like some sort of high school reunion?” And we told him, “We're literally meeting for the first time in person. We've been doing this program together for a year and we've finally gotten to meet!”

How was your experience with faculty and fellow students in the program?

I wasn't expecting to become as close with people in the program as I did, and that was a pleasant surprise. Even though the program is asynchronous, my cohort became extremely close, largely through the PBLs [problem-based learning] and group projects, but also through chatting and side conversations outside the group work. The wealth management industry is pretty siloed, so being able to come together with a group of people within the industry—with different perspectives and working at different firms—was a breath of fresh air.

It was a high honor for you to be selected as the student speaker for the SPS graduation ceremony. What advice did you share in your speech?

I shared a piece of advice that has really helped me in life, which is that “strangers are actually ‘future-old-friends’ that you’re just meeting for the first time.” My cohort started out as 17 strangers spread out across different continents, but we quickly adopted the mantra of “no cohort member left behind.” And because of this, when I look back to when we first started the program, I can tell you that we were truly 17 “future-old-friends” meeting for the first time. I encouraged everyone in the audience to find ways to make a positive impact and to support their “future-old-friends” in the broader SPS community.


About the Program

A 16-month online program with asynchronous instruction, specially designed to accommodate working professionals, Columbia University’s Master of Professional Studies in Wealth Management program is taught by distinguished 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.