Master’s in finance gave graduate Will Tawney confidence to succeed in career
Will Tawney came to the W. P. Carey School of Business looking to build upon his undergraduate degree in finance. In taking that next step with the ASU master’s in finance, Tawney found life-changing connections in faculty and classmates — and a versatile education that prepared him for his current role as a grants manager for Vanderbilt University.
Will Tawney (MS Finance ’22) came to the W. P. Carey School of Business looking to build upon his undergraduate degree in finance. “My knowledge was good, but in order to truly achieve what I wanted for my future, I knew I needed to take that next step,” he says.
In taking that next step with the ASU master’s in finance, Tawney found life-changing connections in faculty and classmates — and a versatile education that prepared him for his current role as a grants manager for Vanderbilt University.
W. P. Carey spoke with Tawney to learn more about his experience in the MS-FIN program and how it made a lasting impact on his career.
Why W. P. Carey?
As Tawney was deciding where to pursue his master’s degree, the program at the W. P. Carey School of Business stood out due to the corporate-like curriculum, project-oriented approach to learning, and vast resources provided to students. His experiences as an MS-FIN student, including collaborations with Department of Finance faculty, reaffirmed those initial impressions.
“Wholly trusting faculty to thoroughly teach us all needed material was superb, but having the ability to reach out, ask questions, or simply talk over assignments was perfect,” he says. “The faculty provided a great learning environment and enhanced all aspects of comprehension through their individually unique approaches to each class.”
Tawney had the opportunity to take classes that have directly applied to his current work through the corporate finance and investments track. “Most applicable to my sets of responsibilities are concepts taken from Managerial Finance and Advanced Corporate Finance,” he says. “Preparing financial reports, forecasting for budget proposals, compiling metrics for optimal expense management; these skills were all developed through content covered in class.”
He also stressed the positive effects that connections with fellow classmates had on his experience within the program and at ASU in general. “Classmate connections made the MS-FIN learning experience extremely enjoyable,” he says. “The relationships made within my program allowed me to be comfortable and enjoy coming to class every day. Whether working on assignments together or having fun outside of the class, those connections were instrumental to my learning experience at ASU.”
Tawney has combined his passion for finance with his W. P. Carey education to create a career path that he finds interesting, rewarding, and inspiring. “I draw inspiration from my work, knowing my abilities to support university research ultimately leads to greater innovation and change in the world,” he says.
Tawney began his career at Vanderbilt University as a research financial analyst before moving to his current role as grants manager for the university’s chemistry department. “My day-to-day activities include preparing internal financial reports for faculty, ensuring financial compliance on sponsored projects, and furnishing any financial information pertinent to external sponsor reporting,” he says.
The MS-FIN program continues to support his career. “It not only gave me the technical knowledge to work confidently, but allowed me to hone other skills needed to effectively lead others around me.”
“I believe my area of finance is unique,” he adds. “Being able to utilize all aspects of finance learned in the MS-FIN program will only enhance the operations of universities worldwide. This area of finance offers many unique opportunities that function very similarly but allow for work in various departments.”
Although Tawney now lives and works on the other side of the country, he still stays connected with W. P. Carey and his fellow Sun Devils as much as possible. “When I'm able to be back on campus, I try to attend both W. P. Carey-specific and general ASU events. I hope to be back soon, but in the meantime, I look forward to keeping up to date on all happenings online.”
Tawney also hopes to encourage students who are considering a career in finance and wants to make sure future students are aware of the different career paths possible.
“I hope to show others that are interested in finance, that your skills are needed and appreciated in this environment [of higher education],” he says. “I enjoy what I do, and being able to serve in a capacity that utilizes my skills while promoting the efforts to further educate our society is something I am proud of.”
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