A calculator and budget sheet

Graduate certificate helps alumnus become a financial advisor

Changing career trajectories can be a challenging process, especially if it means going back to school to earn a new degree. CityU alumnus Scott McClave knew that from experience, which is why when he was ready to change careers for the second time he wanted to expedite the process. So, he decided to pair his existing skills and experience with a graduate certificate.

While he was working as an elementary teacher, Scott held a bachelor’s degree in commerce and had a few years of experience working in finance for banks in San Francisco. He chose a Graduate Certificate in Accounting to help him transition into financial advising.

“My goals were to get a better foundation in accounting and to be able to sit for the CPA exam, which the certificate enabled me to do,” Scott said. “My choice was to do the requirements, get the foundation, pass the exams, and then learn on-hands in the actual corporate world.”

Scott McClave's baby son and wife

Scott McClave’s infant son, Kieran, and wife, Jocelyn

He completed the online program while he was still working full time and he and his wife were busy preparing for the birth of their first child.

“The program offered me flexibility while starting a family,” Scott said. “It’s a good program that provides the foundation that you need, a good learning opportunity, and there are a lot of connections throughout the Seattle area through CityU. It comes down to what works best for you. When I was 18, I liked going to [a traditional] college, but that wouldn’t have been the same as a 30-something going back, it’s a different time of life.”

The start of a financial advising career

Getting on the path to long-term financial health is a goal that most people have, but reaching the goal can seem elusive or even unattainable. Scott didn’t believe it should be that way, and now enjoys using his classroom skills to educate clients about personal finance as an investment advisor representative at Voya Financial Advisors in Bellevue.

“Teaching is huge, what I do is teach clients what they can do, what is offered and what is available,” Scott said. “You ask questions, listen and find out about people’s desires and goals. I like to work with people and help them solve their [financial] problems.”

Staying on top of changing trends and new opportunities is a big part of what he does.

“I like the challenges that are there,” Scott said. “It keeps me very active and engaged on what will fit for each client, and how to get them where they want to go… CityU helped me be able to see what the numbers say.”

Scott is enjoying the process of growing his client base, and looks forward to helping even more people in the future.

“I set down roots here,” Scott said. “My goal is to be able to help more people reach financial peace and to retire when they want to and more comfortably. I know finance and how to help, and I’m excited to help anybody get where they want to be. It’s intimidating, but it’s not as bad as you think.”

Learn more about CityU’s accounting programs

If you’re interested in learning more about the graduate certificate in accounting, or CityU’s undergraduate and graduate-level accounting programs, visit our website or request more information.