• Finance student Tom Stranberg connects his classroom education with real-world experiences through UML’s co-op program.

To help cash-starved businesses and nonprofits weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve created the Main Street Lending Program. Anyone who visited the Fed’s website for updates and reports on the $600 billion initiative was looking at the data analytics handiwork of business major Tom Stranberg.

“It feels meaningful to publish information that helps people,” says Stranberg, who created dashboards and visuals for the website as part of his corporate communications co-op with the Boston Federal Reserve, which administered the national program.

The Sudbury, Massachusetts, native landed the six-month virtual co-op his junior year through UML’s Professional Co-op Program. He ended up staying on for an additional year in a part-time role, going into the downtown Boston office once a week.

“They have a really supportive culture that helps you grow and develop,” says Stranberg, who turned his in-depth research on the Main Street Lending Program into his Honors College thesis.

Stranberg’s three older brothers all attended UMass Amherst, but he chose a different path and enrolled at UMass Lowell.

“I thought I’d have an advantage with all the opportunities here — the clubs, the competitions — where I can really shine more than at another school,” he says.

Stranberg did just that at UML, serving as vice president of the Business Analytics Society and Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society and vice chair of academic affairs for the Student Government Association. He also participated in the DifferenceMaker program, the International Business Ethics Case Competition (where his team won) and the Bloomberg Trading Challenge (where his team finished in the top 8% globally).

Stranberg, who chose to concentrate in finance, was initially hesitant to study business since that’s what his dad and several brothers did.

“I thought I’d do marketing, but I started taking finance classes and realized that I actually enjoyed it,” he says. “I was learning useful skills on how to manage my own money to make sure I don’t end up broke.”

Stranberg credits a business analytics course he took with Assoc. Prof. Asil Oztekin for challenging him to think about his career options in a new way — and inspiring him to land a six-month business analytics co-op at Wayfair in Boston his sophomore year. 

“My co-ops were great work experiences that made my education so much more impactful,” he says. “When I returned to the classroom, I could see how what I was learning applied to my career.”

Stranberg, who plans to get a couple years of work experience under his belt before returning to school for a master’s degree, is glad he chose UML.

“UMass Lowell students are hard-working and know the value of this education,” he says. “If you use the resources that are here for you, you can come out of college a lot better off for it.”