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SIE Scholarship Helps College Students Pursue Dream Careers in Finance

After Rosemont College senior Brandon Lam finished taking his SIE exam, he ran outside to the biggest tree he could find and hugged it.

Lam passed the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, a foundational exam required to become a securities industry professional.

He was one step closer to his dream career.

“I was so happy, I had to express my happiness somehow,” Lam said. “I not only proved to myself I could do it, but I got validation from regulators that I belong here, pursuing a career in finance.”

“He couldn’t see the bridge to a career in finance. The KM SIE Scholarship provided that bridge.” 

Benefits of a KM SIE Scholarship

A finance major at Rosemont College, Lam trained for the exam after receiving an SIE Scholarship from Knopman Marks. The scholarship aims to create access to careers for underrepresented communities in the industry while providing opportunities to those in disadvantaged socio-economic or educational circumstances.

Todd Berman
Todd Berman
Brandon Lam
Brandon Lam








Christine Hagedorn, Lam’s professor, saw how highly motivated he was. “Brandon couldn’t see the bridge to a career in finance,” said Hagedorn, assistant professor of business at Rosemont College. “The scholarship provided that bridge.”

For Todd Berman, a junior at Rosemont College, receiving the Knopman Marks SIE Scholarship motivated him to give his exam prep his all.

“I had to make sacrifices,” said Berman, a finance major. “I was excited about the scholarship. I put my Xbox away, set down my cell phone, and missed TV shows.  I spent my time in the library watching the class videos, taking practice quizzes, and studying.”

On weekends during the seven-week training, Berman told his friends and family that he would not be available “to give them the time they deserve.” He read the SIE exam textbook “cover to cover,” watched the class videos, made his own flashcards, took the assessments, and carried around a Key Concepts folder everywhere he went.

“I immersed myself. I wanted to be thorough in my prep,” Berman said. “During that final week, I was drilling eight hours a day.”

Proud College Grad: Todd Berman with his business professor Christine Hagedorn on the Rosemont College campus.
Proud College Grad: Todd Berman with his business professor Christine Hagedorn on the Rosemont College campus.

Passing the SIE Exam on the First Try

Berman’s sacrifices were worth it. Though he found taking the SIE Exam to be nerve-racking, he passed on his first try. “I am so grateful for the scholarship and the opportunity I was given,” said Berman,  who had attended the Community College of Philadelphia and worked as a shift supervisor at Rite Aid before transferring to Rosemont College in 2021 to study business and finance.

“Passing the SIE exam is the most important thing on my resume at this point,” said Berman, who hopes it sets him apart in his job search.

“We were happy to make our scholarship available to these deserving students at Rosemont College,” said Liza Streiff, CEO of Knopman Marks. “We provided the educational support, and they provided the grit and dedication.”

“Knopman Marks aims to help more deserving students break into the industry.”

A visit to the New York Stock Exchange

Educational Support to Break into Finance

Passing the SIE Exam provides an edge in the race to secure a competitive internship, analyst position, or another registered position at a financial firm. By offering underrepresented communities an opportunity to prepare for the SIE Exam, Knopman Marks aims to help more students break into the industry.

“I am so proud of all of my students,” Hagedorn said. “We have many students who are the first generation in their families to attend college. They work hard and make the most of every opportunity.”

Suzanne Riss is an author and Director of Communications at Knopman Marks Financial Training. Previously the award-winning Editor-in-Chief of Working Mother magazine, she is a fierce advocate for issues facing working moms and an authority on work/life trends. Her expertise has been tapped in interviews by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and CNN. Suzanne's third book, Work Disrupted, published by Wiley, was released in January 2021.