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Strome College of Business

Student Stories: Matthew Foster

"Why not go further?" is what recent Old Dominion graduate Matthew Foster asked himself in 2017 when he looked across campus after receiving his associates degree. For him, the road was longer than he anticipated. His college journey had not followed the traditional path that most students take, but now he is one of the best in his class.

Matthew Foster was born and raised in the Virginia Beach area. After high school, he attended Tidewater Community College, Blue Ridge Community College and then James Madison University where he was forced to drop out in 2012 due to struggling with addiction. Foster then joined the workforce for the next five years where he began working as a Parks and Recreation Aid, contractor, and locksmith. When Matt learned that he only needed two classes to receive his Associates degree, he decided to complete them at Old Dominion University (ODU) where he met his now wife. Matthew says his wife convinced him to walk at graduation to celebrate this important milestone and set aside doubts about the journey. He credits her as being his key motivation to want more because after he walked across the stage, he decided to pursue further education.

In August of 2017, Matthew Foster began his journey at Strome College of Business pursuing a degree in finance. He says that he has always had an interest in personal finance and that several classes he took sparked interests in other fields. For Foster, working a full-time job and being a part time student was not easy. He could not join clubs or honor societies he had been invited to because of his job. Although he regrets not being able to attend most campus activities, he is glad that he was able to take advantage of the many resources offered in the college of business saying, "I have taken many resources from Strome College of Business. Bloomberg Terminal and the trading room was a tremendous resource that I will hopefully be able to use in my preferred career as an Equity Analyst. Having the experience and the certificate is very beneficial on the job search and my resume. The cumulative education at Strome provided invaluable resources for my professional and entrepreneurial development. I am more data driven than before and can utilize various methods of analysis to make managerial decisions."

One experience Matt says he enjoyed was being able to sit and have lunch with Merrill Lynch management director Aashish Mahtani along with the dean and other faculty members. It was beneficial for him to interact with leaders face to face. Being a student, he mentions, has benefited him in his current occupation by, "Learning and identifying poor management, leadership, and communication styles within my organization in the public sector." He noted that the finance and business analytics classes helped him to learn and utilize programs like Microsoft Excel and Arena Simulation Software.

After receiving his bachelor in May 2022, Matthew plans to obtain his CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) and find an internship to begin his career as a securities analyst. He sums up his experience at Strome, "Working full-time and being completely independent from parental support financially, I valued education much more since I was working and paying for school, taking it very seriously. I used these experiences to give it my all to education and prove to myself that I can be successful."

He says the advice he would give to young students is to, "Take college seriously and never get distracted from the ultimate goal."