“Technology is always changing. New classes and professors keep EMTM on the forefront of what's happening in the world, because these are the people doing the research for the next generation.”
Chris Schaffer, EMTM’06
Chris Schaffer, EMTM’06
With a bachelor's degree in computer science from Rutgers and 12 years of industry experience at a small developer of global trading risk management software, Chris felt he was on the verge of moving into a management role. "I loved where I was heading and I always enjoyed working where business and technology overlapped. But I knew I was lacking on the business side." Recognizing that the overlap was only growing across industries, he wanted to supplement his education with classes in marketing, statistics and finance. At EMTM, however, Chris not only learned more about finance, he developed a new passion for the subject and decided to make a career change. Before he had even completed the program, he received a job offer at Delaware Investments where he works as a portfolio analyst today.
Weighing his options for advanced degree programs, Chris applied to both a part-time MBA program and EMTM. Though he was accepted to both, he chose EMTM for Penn's reputation and the weekend format. "I knew that the opportunity to stay on campus would help build a stronger network among classmates. It would also allow me to concentrate on the rigorous demands of the schoolwork." Chris also liked that the program seemed to be constantly evolving. "Technology is always changing. New classes and professors keep EMTM on the forefront of what's happening in the world, because these are the people doing the research for the next generation."
At EMTM, Chris dove into Computational Finance and Real Options Analysis, where he learned intensive quantitative analysis using programs like MatLab, creating models and building spreadsheets — all of which he uses in his work today. "At Delaware Investments I need to determine whether we should buy or hold various bonds in our portfolios and I now have the tools to assess their various attributes."
Chris refined his presentation skills in Foundations of Leadership. "I often have to present my work in meetings and my boss is one of the highest people in senior management. It's important for me to come in strong and make sure I can deliver."
Working on teams for projects proved a positive experience, both intellectually and socially. "My project team was a subset of people from many different industries and we really worked well together. My team helped me practice interviewing and polish my resume, which helped me get my new job. I really feel a network around me and it's powerful." Chris especially enjoyed the EMTM weekend experience. "I looked forward to every weekend on campus. I would do this program again if I could."
Having successfully transitioned into a new career, Chris feels that his options are much more open now. "The program was valuable from day one. I may stay on the finance side, start my own company or eventually become a chief technology officer in a finance-related company. Either way, I'll be able to marry those two skill sets forever."