Master of Science in Financial Planning student, Andrejs Pilajevs was born in Latvia and immigrated to the United States 17 years ago. A father of two with a busy schedule was keen on finding an online program that suited his need for flexibility.
With 15 years of experience in the automotive finance field and a B.S. degree in IT management from the Western Governors University—Pilajevs chose to pursue his passion for personal finance at the University of Georgia.
“I chose this program because UGA is the top-ranking University that offers graduate-level studies in financial planning, it is nationally recognized, and because the online study setting fits perfectly into my lifestyle,” Pilajevs said.
Pilajevs said the program allows him to study in the early mornings and late evenings while focusing on his full-time job during the evening. The flexibility in his schedule also allows him to balance family time on the weekends.
Although the online program is tailored to busy lifestyles, Pilajevs said the deadlines within his courses allow him to stay focused on his academics.
Within the course, Pilajevs enjoys the discussion board and open perspectives that the conversations produce.
Through the discussion board, Pilajevs said he’s able to connect with business owners, corporate executives, solo practitioners, people who are just starting out in the business like myself, and those who have built successful companies.
“Learning from the experiences of others is invaluable and can only be duplicated by working with each one of them at their respective firms, or by participating in this type of program,”Pilajevs said. “ In my opinion, the discussion board closely resembles the process of getting hands-on experience from your colleagues in the everyday office environment.”
Pilajevs advises online students to take advantage of the resources UGA has to offer even if not on campus. During his first semester, MFP’s program offered an opportunity to attend an annual National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Conference in Chicago, IL—Pilajevs attended and is grateful for the experience.
Pilajevs said online students shouldn’t let the physical barrier of virtual learning keep them from advancing in their careers.
Ultimately, once he graduates from the program, Pilajevs hopes to become a Financial Planner in order to help his friends, family and first generation Americans, like himself. He plans to help first generation Americans become familiarized with the financial markets and support immigrant communities as much as he can.
“Being a first-generation immigrant, I have experienced first-hand how difficult it is for immigrants to navigate their way around complicated financial products. Immigrants tend to turn to their communities for guidance, but their communities often lack solid and affordable financial advice,” Pilajevs said.
In the short-term goal terms, Pilajevs plans to graduate from the UGA with a Master of Science in Financial Planning Degree, pass the CFP Board exam, and start practicing financial planning Long term, he hopes to start a financial planning firm, help clients achieve their retirement goals, and help first-generation Americans achieve the American Dream.