Graduate vs. Undergraduate: My experiences at NU

by David Raymond on December 8, 2015
Graduate vs. Undergraduate: My experiences at NU

I graduated this past May 2015 with an undergraduate degree in accounting from Niagara University. It was clear in my mind that I wanted to stay here at NU to complete my M.S. in finance because of the awesome experience I had in the previous four years. The attention staff and professors give to every single student is outstanding. This is what impressed me the most about this institution. The small classroom size also makes for a better student experience. Because I have been studying at NU to do both of my degrees many people ask, “How do I find the graduate program compared with the undergraduate one?”

In my case, it has been quite a different journey so far. As an undergraduate student, I was on the tennis team. So like all the student-athletes, I was practicing hard, playing matches and traveling a lot. Of course, I was also going to class and spending a lot of time studying. It did not leave a lot of free time. Well, guess what? I do not have any more free time as a graduate student. In fact, I probably have even less, but I am involved in many different activities.

I am a full-time student registered for five classes this fall. Two of them are Saturday classes, which is a unique format they use here at Niagara. The class meets on five consecutive Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is great because it allows students to be done with a class in only five weeks compared to 15 weeks for all the other classes. However, it means that you have to get through all of the required materials in only five weeks as well. I was a bit scared when I entered my first Saturday class as I knew it would be something really different than any other classes I had done so far. Time went by pretty fast and I am already done with my first Saturday class so let me tell you about my experience.

I really enjoyed the format because it was all condensed, which allowed me to really concentrate on that particular class. I have to admit that, at times, it was super busy but it was good to work very hard and learn a lot about one specific subject in an accelerated way. Even though you need to sacrifice one day of your weekend for five weeks, I believe it was worth it.

My other three classes are either at night or toward the end of the afternoon. Graduate classes require students to put in more work and effort. They are highly practical classes so they include a lot of projects, readings and assignments. Overall, they are very interesting and make you want to learn even more about all of the different topics they cover.

I like to keep myself busy and I engaged in more activities. I am a teaching assistant in the French department. I thought it would be a great idea to help teach my first language to other students and transmit them my passion for languages. I also love to work out so I registered at a gym to keep myself in good shape. Both the undergraduate and graduate experience are a lot of fun. They go by very fast so my advice is to fully enjoy the time you spend at NU.

For more information about Niagara's master of science in finance, please contact Dr. Daniel Tompkins at 716.286.8157 or by email.