Online MBA – Finance Information Session with Dr. Mario Reyes, WSU Carson College of Business Master of Business Administration – Finance

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Transcript

Jason Techeira:
Hi. Good day. And thank you for joining us with our finance specialization spotlight webinar today.I do just want to give a brief overview of what the purpose of today’s webinar is, hopefully just to give you a little bit more of an insight to the finance concentration of our MBA program compared to other programs in various schools in the marketplace.

Today with us we do have myself. I am the Graduate Advisor for our online MBA and Executive MBA programs. My name is Jason Techeira. And I do have the pleasure of speaking with us today Dr. Mario Reyes, Faculty with the WSU Carson College of Business, Master of Business Administration, finance concentration.

Good morning, Dr. Mario. How are you doing today?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
I’m doing well, Jason. Thank you so much.

Jason Techeira:
Thank you. And thank you for joining us today and going over this specialization. The finance concentration is probably one of my favorite concentrations in the whole program. It’s just a very deeply sought after credential these days. And so I’m glad that you’re able to share a little bit of your insight into the program.

Did you mind if I went ahead and just continued with some of these questions here?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Not at all. You know, I thank you for the opportunity to speak about the exciting world of finance, Jason.

Jason Techeira:
My pleasure. All right. So as far as the academic and research that you have done, can you just give us a little bit of your history? You know, a little bit of your background, and how you got into finance as well?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Certainly. I am a Clinical Professor of Finance in the Department of Finance and Management Science in the Carson College of Business at Washington State University, where I mentor the students in the Cougar Investment Fund, a student-run investment fund about three million dollars. And I teach corporate finance and investments in the undergraduate and the graduate level.

My research interests include the role of information in financial markets, the interdependence of the stock markets around the world, and financial liberalization of foreign stock markets.

My industry engagement has focused on energy executives financial management training and evaluation of privately held businesses.

Prior to coming to the Carson College of Business, I was at the University of Idaho, College of Business and Economics, where I served in various capacities over 31 years.

In June of 2016, I retired as Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Finance. So I started as a faculty member of Finance, then became Associate Dean, and the last five years I was a Dean of the College of Business there.

But I failed retirement, and I have this wonderful opportunity to join the Carson College of Business, mentoring students, back in a classroom all over again. And I’m so excited to be here.

Jason Techeira:
Fantastic. Yeah, we’re absolutely excited to have you and I don’t have … As an enrollment advisor, I don’t typically have too many students that go deeply into a lot of their courses. But the few that I have, have always mentioned that you’re a fantastic professor, so-

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Thank you.

Jason Techeira:
… I’m sure that just … Absolutely. And I’m sure that that’s just a kind of a … coincides with your background in that field and having just a good understanding of it.

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Thanks.

Jason Techeira:
So moving on here, as far as learning outcomes, would you mind sharing some of the, you know, just expected learning outcomes that students can experience within the MBA finance specialization?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Certainly. Students in the finance concentration, in the Carson College of Business online MBA program, can expect to hone and build, and/or build upon their financial analysis skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the financial environment, domestic and international, of organizations.

If you look at the offerings, they include investment analysis, portfolio management, interest in the markets, and international finance. So those four courses combined will provide those necessary skills that prepare the students for a global financial environment.

Jason Techeira:
Okay. Fantastic. And as far as … I know that within the program there’s typically going to be several roles that individuals will move into and transition into. Did you have any insight into potential career outcomes for MBA students that choose a finance concentration?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Yes. Actually, you know, concentrating in finance in the online MBA program here actually opens up various opportunities for students in that concentration. It will prepare them for careers in investment management, if that’s what their interest lie. Banking, treasury, corporate finance for those inspiring to be CFOs. And international finance, obviously.

And this is not an exhaustive list of potential opportunities for them, but these are the typical areas where they could pursue with a finance concentration.

Jason Techeira:
Okay. I know that in the marketplace right now, some of the top finance jobs that I’ve personally looked into would be such as senior financial analyst or finance directors, CFOs. Are you familiar with any students or transitions that people have made in the program into these positions?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Oh, yes. I’ve only been at WSU for two years, but I have heard of graduates from the online graduate programs transitioning into those types of positions. But like I said, they could pursue different lines of different careers, depending upon where their interests are. They may become an equity analyst or portfolio manager. They could be a senior bank or corporate banking officer. Or be the treasurer for the company. Or, like you mentioned, for senior financial analyst or CFO. Or, if they wanna be in international banking or international finance careers. The concentration really opens up all those potential opportunities for them.

Jason Techeira:
Fantastic. Yeah, so it sounds very versatile, allowing you to not only be in domestic finance roles, but also even international roles like you mentioned as well.

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Yeah. It’s also a good preparation for those who want to start their own business. They need to know how to manage the financial affairs, especially during the start-up phase of the business.

So again, you mentioned versatility and diversity of possible opportunities for them.

Jason Techeira:
Fantastic. All right. So within the finance specialization, would you mind telling us about some of the unique features that are inherent in, maybe in your specific courses or just that concentration in general compared to other programs out there?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Yes. If you look at the course offerings, you’ll notice that the focus really is on financial markets, financial analysis, and evaluation. There’s a focus on those versus the take a course in this, take a course in insurance, take a course in this, you know, we’re in … The course offering is really focused on financial environment, financial analysis, and evaluation.

Jason Techeira:
Okay. Perfect. So that entails things such as what bond pricing and-

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Yeah.

Jason Techeira:
… financial futures.

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Yes. You know, instead of a hodgepodge, what I’m trying to say is, instead of a hodgepodge of different finance courses, the courses are financial investment analysis, portfolio management, interest rate in the financial markets, and international finance. The focus really is on the markets and the environment, financial analysis, and evaluation.

Jason Techeira:
Okay. Perfect. Okay. So then I guess the, you know, probably one of my final thoughts and questions that I would have to give our students the best chance of succeeding and choosing if this specialization is a good fit for them. What just overall advice do you have for students that are possibly interested in the finance concentration?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Of course. I have a couple. For the current financial news, if they haven’t been doing that, I would suggest they start keeping an eye on what’s going on in the financial environment.

The second one is, it would certainly help if they review, especially if they’ve been out of school for a while, is review accounting from econ and quantitative methods, make it a whole lot easier for the finance concentration if they have some refresher. Or if they keep this topic, subjects, in mind at the beginning of the program.

Clearly, when you do financial analysis, you use accounting as a source of information, and you have to apply the economic thinking as you’re trying to decide on different financial issues, financial decisions. And, of course, you know … and a comfort with using quantitative methods would certainly help in being successful in the concentration.

It’s not a must. All I said is comfort, not necessarily mastery, would be nice, but just being comfortable in using quantitative methods, and especially spreadsheets, would certainly ensure success in a concentration.

Jason Techeira:
Okay. Fantastic. And I guess I did have one more thought. Not to kind of backtrack, we talked about it a little bit already, but going into the courses, you know, learning outcomes, you mentioned so many different research projects and such an in-depth background that you had, you know, just throughout your career. Do you use any of your own personal research papers or journals within that finance specialization?

Dr. Mario Reyes:
Of course. You know, I bring into the class, whenever necessary, either to highlight things, to emphasize things, or to give examples, I bring into class my experience from industry. Before going back to school and doing a university, I was in the corporate world for four years. In fact, it was during the four years when I, as I was moving up the ladder so to speak, that I realized I needed more skillsets. And that’s when I decided to pursue an MBA and then I didn’t realize eventually I’ll end up getting a PhD.

So I bring those into class. I’ve had extensive 20 plus years of executive training in financial management. And during those training, you know, you hear the war stories and examples or issues they face in … when their lives. And also from my experience doing evaluation of privately-held businesses, whenever appropriate, I’ll bring them into the classroom to emphasize or drill upon, or to highlight certain concepts I’m teaching in class.

And so, for example, when I’m teaching investment analysis, it will involve evaluation of a publicly-held, or any company for that matter. But there will be a project in that. If I’m teaching corporate finance, when I’m teaching about treasury, then I’ll bring into the classroom the discussion, my experience in that topic.

So yes, I do bring research and professional experience into the classroom. And I’m not alone in that. I know that other faculty will do the same thing.

In other words, it’s not just a theoretical conceptual course. There’s gonna be the blend of practice and theory into the classroom.
[End of Audio]