Small Business Owner Reflects on Changing Careers and Pursuing a Graduate Degree

Friday, October 22, 2021
Student Insight: Seth Lingafeldt, M.S. in Mathematical Finance Ambassador, shares his experience.

When I showed up to class on my first day, I did not know what to expect. I had my bookbag, TI-36 calculator, four color-coded notebooks and my face mask. Some things were the same; going over the syllabus, giving introductions to which I, in standard Seth fashion, made the room chuckle and talked much longer than everyone else. Two months in and I still find myself asking questions like "is the exam the entire period?".

Changing careers is scary! As a matter of self-growth, I try to practice being vulnerable by seeking out advice and help from others when I know I am not a specialist. I sought out a mentor, spoke with people in different professional fields that I was interested in, and confided my worries and anxieties to those close to me and whom I trust. Vulnerability is underrated — admitting that you don't know something is powerful on its own.  I have no qualms with changing my mind or viewpoint after being presented with new information and thinking on it and I believe that, while uncomfortable in the moment, in the long run this provides me with additional value on the margins of areas that I would otherwise be ignorant of.

When I decided that I wanted to leave the health and fitness field, something I was comfortable with and good at, I didn't exactly know what to do next. I sought out ways that I could become a professional in my next career, and it culminated with returning to school. This was not an easy decision. I had been out of school for over ten years, and the M.S. in Mathematical Finance program was not a direct extension of my undergraduate degree in economics.

Once I had accepted returning to higher education, choosing the M.S. in Math Finance program was not difficult at all: I am a person who sees the desired ends and justifies the necessary means. I run multiple algorithmic trading systems on multiple asset classes, I love interacting with the markets and I love profit extraction. I make minimal assumptions and I let math on price be the final determinant of whether or not I participate on a given instrument. "Financial Engineering" is my future, and the M.S. in Math Finance program is the means by which I will achieve it.

Talk to people. Be vulnerable. Seek out new information. Don't be afraid to change your mind. I did, and I would recommend it.

Article Written by Seth Lingafeldt, M.S. in Mathematical Finance Ambassador

Seth Lingafeldt, a student in the Belk College M.S. in Mathematical Finance, serves as a Student Ambassador for the graduate program. Learn more about Seth by viewing their Faces of Belk College profile or connect with Seth via email or LinkedIn.