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The Magic of Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management Program

Thomas Boyer (‘24SPS, Wealth Management) may have more than two decades of experience as a financial planner under his belt, but he still finds ways to better serve his clients. When he wanted to refresh his education, he knew that one program best fit his needs: the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S) in Wealth Management at Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS).

The only program of its kind in the Ivy League, Columbia’s Wealth Management program is aimed at helping both experienced and aspiring wealth management professionals strengthen their theoretical foundations as well as practice core areas of wealth management and key client skills, including investment, retirement planning, and relationship management.

We recently spoke with Thomas about his experience in the program and how it helped him broaden his skill set and find a new job opportunity.

Tell us a bit about your personal and professional background.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my wife and 11-year-old son. Professionally, I am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) with over 20 years of experience providing financial advice to clients. As part of the Wealth Management program, I was introduced to a lot of very impressive firms, and I am very grateful that I found the unexpected opportunity to join one of these firms, Mariner Wealth Advisors.

How did that unexpected job opportunity come about?

I was invited by Senior Program Director Tracy Schwarz to attend BNY Mellon’s Pershing INSITE  conference last May as one of the representatives from our student cohort. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the wealth management landscape and to attend financial planning workshops and symposiums to better serve my clients. I had no intentions of considering a career change.

Fortunately, during the conference Tracy introduced me to Managing Director of Corporate Development at Mariner Wealth Advisors Kevin Corbett. My subsequent conversations with Kevin opened my eyes to some of Mariner's strategic initiatives, particularly focused on advisor independence and numerous new investment solutions for clients.

After a lot of thorough research, due diligence, and discussions with professionals and professors, I made the difficult and correct decision to transition my career and officially joined Mariner in February 2024. I am confident this decision will benefit my clients, help me be the best advisor I can be, and positively impact my family. This was made possible through connections at Columbia and through an introduction at INSITE. As a side note, I also got to meet keynote speaker Earvin “Magic” Johnson, which was an incredible experience in itself.

What drew you to the M.P.S. in Wealth Management program?

I've been a financial advisor for a long time, and I was looking for a way to refresh my education around the things that I provide for my clients every day—financial advice and wealth management in particular. It was a very specific program that aligned exactly with what I was already practicing as a professional, and it was the top program in the country, so it was a no-brainer to apply and try to learn as much as I could.

Was there a particular class you enjoyed?

Like a parent picking a favorite child, this is a challenging question. I enjoyed every class and learned a lot from the program. However, one class that comes to mind is Financial Psychology, because it has helped me better understand client behavior and emotions and helped me communicate empathetically and effectively around psychological aspects of investing.

What is one skill people will be surprised you learned from the program?

I believe the program helped improve the overall quality of my writing. I had a lot of practice writing papers and posting insights and responses on discussion boards. Additionally, learning to use references and citations properly helped my financial writing by building credibility and adding transparency and accuracy.

What keeps you dedicated to the field of wealth management?

My dedication to the field of wealth management stems from my genuine passion for discussing financial matters and helping clients. I very much enjoy managing wealth and inspiring others to develop a similar passion for finance.

What are some things that prospective students can look forward to in the program?

You’ll get to learn from a lot of highly capable and experienced professors, and a lot of very passionate students. This program can improve your professional ability to help your clients in all aspects of their financial lives.

Wealth Management alum Thomas Boyer

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.