Current working professional and student in the Professional MBA program at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, Jonathan Pliszka, is currently the Vice President of Business Development at Morningstar. With the education that he's receiving in the UK MBA program, along with his professional experiences, Jonathan has now added a new opportunity as the Principal of High Knoll Wealth Advisors, LLC, an independent wealth management practice registered in the state of Kentucky serving the investment management and financial planning needs of individuals and business owners.
"There are nearly 1,300 financial advisors spread across 120 different firms in Lexington," says Jonathan. "These classes challenged me to think about my greater strategy, to focus on which areas I want to compete (and where I’m going) to spend my marketing dollars to generate the highest ROI. Most importantly, the classes reinforced that I must differentiate myself relative to my competition in order to build a sustainable competitive advantage."
The Professional MBA at the University of Kentucky is a part-time program designed for full-time working professionals all over Kentucky and beyond. Candidates bring industry experience from a myriad of industries including engineering, law, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, technology, banking and finance, government, military, and more.
"When my family moved to Lexington, I had very limited social circle locally and viewed the MBA program as an opportunity to challenge myself both personally and professionally while also opening me up to a network of motivated professionals with similar interests," says Jonathan. "The relationships that I’ve built thus far have exceeded all of my expectations."
Since graduating from DePaul University with his Bachelor's degree in Finance, Jonathan has spent his entire career educating financial professionals on best practices related to investment research and portfolio construction. As a result, venturing down the path of starting High Knoll Wealth Advisors, LLC, was a natural next step for Jonathan.
"Knowing my background in the industry, a family friend reached out and asked that I review their family portfolio. After seeing a series of high fee products coupled with the lack of investment objective, I knew that I could leverage my experience and that I had a real opportunity to help people," he said. "I went through the process of registering as a Registered Investment Advisor with the State of Kentucky and was granted approval in late 2019. High Knoll Wealth Advisors now operates as a fee-only (no commission) investment advisor and serves as a fiduciary to our clients."
In the Professional MBA program at UK, candidates have the opportunity to interact, network and engage with other working professionals, industry leaders and leading executives. Offered in two-year (20 months) and three-year (32 months) plans of study, students bring their daily work responsibilities into the program and then immediately apply what they've learned in real-time to their professional roles.
"There’s such a diverse network of people with all types of personal and professional experiences enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Kentucky," says Jonathan. "Everyone has a unique story and their stories and experiences are worth listening to. Through the program, I’ve learned about industries that I knew nothing about and I’ve been able to take those anecdotes and apply them to my work in financial services in meaningful ways."
Graduates and alumni of the Professional MBA program at Gatton are able to pursue various managerial, technical and leadership roles while either currently enrolled in the program, after they graduate and beyond.
"While advancing your career might be your current motivation to enter the MBA program, the network that you create will have a far greater return on your investment," says Jonathan. "I’ve met classmates in the program that will not only lead to long-term business relationships, but more importantly, lifelong friendships."