From biology to finance: Master’s in Finance student shares his journey


Every student’s journey is unique. While many use graduate school to expand on their undergraduate education, others use graduate school to start over. With an undergraduate degree in biology, Sean Prendergast realized he had a passion for finance, and found George Mason University’s Master’s in Finance program could provide him with the skills he needed to pivot in a new direction.

Master's in Finance Student Sean Prendergast
Sean Prendergast

Prendergast’s growing interest in finance started early on. “My passion for finance began in the second semester of my junior year as a biology major at James Madison University, but I still wanted to finish my biology degree,” said Sean. Many people have a misconception that they must have relevant undergraduate coursework to succeed in graduate school. Prendergast is proving that theory wrong. He believes Mason was the perfect choice for graduate school because it did not require previous finance experience, and it gave him great opportunities to grow. “George Mason provided someone like myself a gateway to turn my passion into a career. I was also drawn to George Mason due to its great reputation as an institution that provides students with unique opportunities to utilize their classroom learning in a real-world scenario.”  

"George Mason provided someone like myself a gateway to turn my passion into a career."

Being a student in the master’s in finance program has been instrumental in helping Prendergast develop the quantitative and interpersonal skills necessary to achieve his career goals. Prendergast says the program “has helped me grow to become a more disciplined student and person.” He suggests that he was able to become more outspoken thanks to his professors, who helped him by “focusing on engaging students in group discussion's during class time and earnestly listening to their thoughts and opinions.”  

As for other students looking to pursue a graduate degree in a field in which they don’t have prior experience, Prendergast has some sage advice. “I would suggest newly admitted students focus on time management in their classes as eight-week courses go by extremely quickly. The classes are content heavy which leaves little room for cramming at the end; however, the professors do a great job of making the content digestible.”  

Prendergast also praises the School of Business for providing the support he needed to be successful. “I would also suggest that newly admitted students take the opportunities that are offered to them by the faculty and George Mason's School of Business. They want you to succeed and do a wonderful job of providing ample opportunities to do so.” 

Learn more about the Master's in Finance program here