From Notre Dame to Amazon HQ: Alumnus Bob Binford (MSF ’19) Shares His Story
Published: January 8, 2021 / Author: Bob Binford (MSF '19)
For M.S. Finance alumnus Bob Binford (MSF ’19) Mendoza’s one-year, Chicago-based program catapulted him to a career – and subsequent promotion – at Amazon headquarters. Read more about how the program boosted his career below.
A Natural Choice
Notre Dame has always been a school I admired and the flexible, downtown [Chicago] program really fit well with what I was looking for.
The Master of Science in Finance program allowed me to attend school while working full-time. At the end of the day it came down to value. I was choosing between University of Michigan’s weekend MBA program and the M.S. in Finance (MSF) program at Notre Dame. For the financial commitment, Notre Dame seemed like a natural choice given the value I was receiving in return.
Building a Solid Foundation
The program did a great job of teaching the financial fundamentals. During the program I developed a deep comfort with the time value of money, which was directly applicable in my job at the time. Additionally, topics I initially thought would be of little interest (i.e. bonds, fixed income) ended up being some of my favorite courses. I think this speaks to the strength of the faculty at Mendoza.
Connections for Life
The Chicago-based M.S. in Finance program does a great job of developing camaraderie amongst the cohort. Whether that is through the on-campus sessions, attending football tailgates or working through a case study, I developed lifelong friends through the Class of 2019. My peers are geographically based all over, from Chicago to New York to Seattle. This program developed my financial skills and created an immediate network of people I trust and enjoy being with.
Now, sharing the common experience of going to Notre Dame with a colleague is an immediate ice-breaker. There have been days where I happen to wear my Notre Dame polo to work and I create immediate connections with people I otherwise would not have.
Opening the Door to Amazon
I grew up on the West Coast and knew I eventually wanted to return. Having the MSF program and Notre Dame on my résumé opened up interview opportunities at companies like Amazon. Beyond helping me get my foot in the door, the skills I learned during the program have helped me advance on the job. I was promoted within six months of being hired at Amazon.
My time at Notre Dame developed my ability to juggle multiple things at once – schoolwork, actual work, spending time with my family, etc. I now have the confidence to handle the ambiguity and time constraints that come with leadership roles in corporate finance. Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Finance program deserves a lot of credit for developing this skill set.