Skip navigation Jump to main navigation Jump to main navigation

Health Guidance

Masking is strongly recommended in all indoor settings. New students and faculty and staff are required to sign an updated version of the Columbia Community Compact. Learn more.
Close alert

Meet the Founding Donors of the New Wealth Management Fellowship

In an effort to diversify the financial advising profession, students in the first cohort of Columbia University’s Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Wealth Management program founded a fellowship to accelerate the educational and career development of underrepresented talent. The Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship will cover the full tuition of one student admitted to the program beginning in Fall 2022. 

Recent graduates and industry insiders Craig Lyman, Jason Papier, and Miles Sharpe not only generously gave financial support to establish the fellowship but involved all of their fellow classmates to contribute; 100% of the first cohort, which completed the program in December, contributed to the fellowship. Lyman, Papier, and Sharpe shared what inspired them to donate and how they hope the fellowship will help diverse, rising talent to succeed and drive innovation within the industry.

Craig Lyman, '22SPS, M.P.S. in Wealth Management; LPL Financial Advisor, Eckelkamp & Lyman Retirement Planning 

What inspired you to initiate this fellowship? 

The incredible diversity we experienced in our cohort at Columbia University's Master of Professional Studies in Wealth Management Program had a meaningful impact on our experience. Interim Program Director Tracy Schwartz and her team did a great job of selecting a very diverse group for the first cohort. As a veteran of the financial services industry, I have heard for years that the industry "needs more diversity," so our cohort decided to “be about it” rather than just talk about it and lead by example.

How can people support the growth and longevity of this fellowship?

The fellowship was literally funded by the first 17 students in the program. We hadn’t even graduated yet but contributed every dime that will fund this fellowship. We did that to show the world we believe in this initiative and to get the word out to the industry that Columbia University is serious about creating opportunities for underrepresented populations in the advisor community. 

We want people to share the news with every advisor who identifies as either female or non-binary, every advisor of color, every differently-abled advisor, and every LGBTQ+ advisor; we’d like them to apply for the program. In the future, we plan to open up this fellowship to outside funding since it’s a heavy lift for 17 people to fund this on our own. We will seek help from future cohorts, industry leaders, and individuals who believe that the financial services ecosystem should look like the United States as a whole. You can reach out to Major Gifts Officer Adam Siepiola (as5869 [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu) to line up a gift for next year's fellowship. With your help, we can diversify the advising industry. 

How do you see diversity shaping the future of the wealth management profession? 

The United States is one of the youngest countries in the world and the wealth management profession is one of the country’s youngest professions. Both our country and our industry are on the move. Now more than ever, there is a push in the financial services industry to add people who are underrepresented in current advisor populations. Everyone in our cohort benefited from having a diversity of thought, culture, and experience in one cohort and the industry will see similar growth by embracing and leading in the diversity arena. I am proud to say Columbia University will lead the way. 

Jason Papier, '22SPS, M.P.S. in Wealth Management; Managing Partner, Werba Rubin Papier Wealth Management

What inspired you to initiate this fellowship? 

We created the fellowship to promote diversity in leadership within wealth management practices, which is vital to the evolution of our profession. We hope this will allow high performers to “level up” and take on positions of greater impact within their organizations.

How can people support the growth and longevity of this fellowship? 

Allies in our profession may not know what they can do beyond vocalizing support to promote the development of diverse candidates. Contributing to this fellowship is a tangible way to increase the skill set and profile of diverse planners and promote their growth in our industry.

How do you see diversity shaping the future of the wealth management profession?  

Diversity in wealth management leadership has been slow to progress. But different perspectives based on different experiences are what make any profession grow and evolve. Supporting this fellowship is an opportunity to develop the next group of leaders and to help shape what our profession looks like in the future. We hope representation in leadership will inspire other diverse candidates to see growth opportunities and to make positive change in our profession.

Miles Sharpe, '22SPS, M.P.S. in Wealth Management; Senior Partner, MNA Partnership

What inspired you to initiate this fellowship? 

My inspiration came from my cohort colleagues and faculty. As a group, I believe we already represent a capable, diverse team of current and future wealth management leaders and we need to encourage the same values and initiative across our industry. When I heard my colleagues were forming the fellowship, I felt it represented a great opportunity to help to expand the good work Tracy Schwartz and the Columbia lecturers have instigated by creating our program.

How can people support the growth and longevity of this fellowship? 

Financial commitments from individuals as well as corporate sponsorships are welcome. I would also encourage Columbia SPS Wealth Management alumni and future student cohorts to support this initiative in any way they can. Our goal is to expand and enable the fellowship to allow broader recruitment for years to come.

How do you see diversity shaping the future of the wealth management profession? 

Diversity in academia is important as we continue to improve society. But it’s also an opportunity for us to improve an industry that traditionally served a relatively narrow demographic. The global flow of wealth is now a cascade across more areas of society than we’ve seen before. Therefore, wealth managers must be prepared to guide, coach, and educate their clients to achieve personal and financial goals for their families in alignment with their values. To achieve this, wealth managers and financial planners must better connect with clients from different backgrounds.

Applications are open for Fall 2022 enrollment. Admitted students may also apply for a full-tuition fellowship; learn about the fellowship's eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Thank You, Donors

The Columbia University School of Professional Studies would like to thank the Wealth Management Class of 2022 for their generosity in funding the Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship for the Class of 2024.

Shinaola Atoro

Jenifer Bloodsworth

Jacob Brandenburg

Filipe Delvaux

Kara Fransted

Susan Grbic

Drew Hanessian

Arch Hoffman

Anisa LaRochelle

Craig Lyman

Jahaad Martin

Jason Papier

Lisa Patton

Christopher Radtke

Miles Sharpe

Deirdre Smith

Samuel Shaun Wright

We would also like to thank and acknowledge Bank of America for their matching gift.