The unexpected value of immersion

Author: Christine Cox

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Eric Dyer

Eric Dyer has been an Irish fan his entire life, but never expected to earn a degree from Notre Dame. That is, until the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) offered him a golden opportunity.

The fact that the program is based in Chicago made it a perfect fit. He commutes easily from out of state, takes courses from internationally recognized finance experts, and enjoys three weeks on the Notre Dame campus — a benefit that turned out to be unexpectedly significant, even for a lifelong Irish fan.

“Staying on campus allows you to fully experience what it means to be part of the Notre Dame community,” says Dyer, who works as an investment management consultant. “It’s the perfect complement to the Chicago component of the program. I can’t say enough about it.”

IMMERSION: IN KNOWLEDGE, IN COMMUNITY
The MSF kicks off with an orientation immersion in January and follows up with immersions in June and October that cover intensive topics in the program’s two tracks: investments and corporate finance.  

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Students stay at the historic Morris Inn on campus and gather for programming at the Stayer Center for Executive Education, a classically designed, state-of-the-art building that opened in 2013.  

“Immersions give us time to connect,” Dyer says. “We see each other in Chicago, but we’re in class all day. So immersion weeks are exciting and special. We stay in the same space together, learn together, and study for finals together.”

Studying together is critical because the immersions are rigorous. For the October immersion, for example, investment track students enroll in Topics in Investments while corporate finance students enroll in International Finance. Both tracks take Entrepreneurial Finance. Immersion weeks include team projects, guest speakers, presentations, and exams.

“By our last immersion in October, we are on advanced, advanced topics,” Dyer explains. “So it’s challenging, but you also see everything coming together. It moves at a fast pace and you really have to be able to build on your experiences to get it all. We’re here for an immersion and we are immersed.”

In between classes and projects, MSF candidates are immersed in the Notre Dame community and culture. “We’re out talking to people on campus and making connections,” Dyer says. “It happens naturally. You understand Notre Dame’s reputation as a place where people want to help each other and get to know each other. The network is real.”

ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES
Dyer holds an undergraduate degree in accounting, an MBA with a finance concentration and a certificate in project management (PMP).

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Even with these credentials, he wanted an advanced degree in finance to help him reach his career goal of specializing in front office investment decisions. “In the front office you work with folks who are gauging and measuring investment risk. You work with the portfolio managers, who are making the investment decisions — what do we buy, what do we sell, how do we do it?” Dyer explains.

“The MSF is giving me a deep level of understanding of these topics — how to calculate investment risk, how to value securities, how securities behave in the marketplace, how to use securities for different investment actions like hedging.”

He enjoys the deep level of understanding. “I learned about some of these same topics in my MBA with a concentration in finance, but I wasn’t able to absorb as much then because I didn’t have as much experience,” he says. “Now I have 11 years of experience in this industry, so I’m able to absorb everything better and apply it.

“I always say that an MBA gives you understanding a mile wide and an inch deep. But the MSF is a mile deep.”

In looking ahead to graduation and beyond, Dyer describes his opportunities as endless.

“I can take this degree and confidently do a lot of things,” he says. “This program has really empowered me.”

For more information about the MSF program, please contact Eric Dyer at edyer@nd.edu or Nick Farmer, senior associate director for admissions at 574-631-8351 or nfarmer@nd.edu.