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Meet the Major: Finance

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Group of UMass Isenberg students. Text: Meet the Major: Finance

Meet Abigail Varney, a sophomore finance student here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. With aspirations to explore the depths of equity and credit research, here is how UMass Amherst is helping prepare her to reach her goals.

Why did you decide to come to UMass Amherst?

I decided to come to UMass Amherst for the passionate students and the ability to get involved with research within any major! During my tour and through speaking with current students, I was captivated by the "city feel" of UMass, and I knew there would always be new clubs to join, people to meet, and ways to get involved in my community. In addition, my freshman year I was able to be involved in research covering female representation in the finance industry. I knew UMass would be somewhere I could flourish socially and academically, and after two years at UMass, I can say it was the best choice I ever made! 

Why did you choose your major?

I originally applied to UMass Amherst as a math major, purely for my love of numbers and analytical thinking. However, in my senior high school economics class, I was required to participate in a stock pitch simulator project. Throughout this project, I was able to use my analytical and numerical reasoning to analyze stock prices and trends. I was also able to tie in more overarching issues into my thesis, such as trade tension, company-specific goals, as well as political factors. Throughout the project, I was able to discover that finance allowed me to combine my analytical side with my passion for history and politics. I was able to switch my major to finance before stepping foot on campus and have been involved with the major ever since!

What are your classes like? Do you have any favorites? 

My classes are extremely engaging and interesting. Although I am in primarily business-focused classes as of right now, I have had the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes across campus. My favorite class so far has been my intro to Python course. I originally took the class just to explore a new topic. Now, however, I have decided to pursue an IT minor after completing the course!

What are the professors like?

I have found that professors are always willing to talk to students about research, career goals, or just life in general. It is great to know that in any of my courses and classes, big or small, I have the support of my professor, teaching assistants, as well as a variety of on-campus resources to help me succeed! 

How do you plan to use your degree? How have you prepared for this path?

I plan to use my degree to do equity or credit research at an asset management firm or bank. I have prepared for this path through several extracurriculars, networking trips, as well as internships! I currently am the CEO of Smart Woman Securities, a nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering undergraduate women on finance and investments, as well as being an analyst in the Minutemen Fixed Income Fund on campus. I have also participated in several networking trips to Boston and New York City, where students can mmet alumni and explore careers within finance and business. Through these experiences and the great resources at Isenberg, I have been able to secure internships in credit and equity research for summer 2020 and 2021.

Any tips for incoming students within the major?

Get involved and ask questions! In my freshman year, I did not own a suit or even know what a resume was -- and that is okay! UMass and Isenberg make all the resources available to you to succeed in this major!

Have questions about majors and life as a UMass Amherst student? Contact Abigail and our other student tour guides by emailing


Life at UMass

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