- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Nontraditional college students are not uncommon. Those who finish in the 99th percentile of a highly regarded business/financial aptitude test are as rare as silver dollars from the 1800s.

It took the birth of his son four years ago to give Brian Seelinger, 37, the incentive to return to school and earn a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2013 at Penn State Behrend. Then, just a few weeks ago, Seelinger suddenly stood out in a crowd of top-flight students.

Seelinger, an Erie native and 1994 Cathedral Preparatory School graduate now in pursuit of a master’s degree in business administration, was tied for fifth out of 7,000 in the Americas region for the February version of the Bloomberg Aptitude Test. Seelinger scored 690 of 800 total points - no one has attained a perfect score - in the two-hour test that has 100 multiple-choice questions designed to determine aptitude for business and finance.

“Actually, when I was sent my preliminary score, and it said 690, I was very disappointed and expected it to be better, and I missed the e-mail that congratulated me for my ranking, ” Seelinger said. “I didn’t realize the scale of the test, so I didn’t believe it was a good score.”

“That’s a hall-of-fame score,” said Greg Filbeck, professor of finance and associate director of the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Behrend, who first administered the test to students three years ago. “I was not surprised at Brian’s score. Not only is it a testament to his hard work, but the caliber of students that are in our programs. What he has done, however, is a great promotion for the school.”

Seelinger gives kudos to Behrend for offering comprehensive programs for students - Behrend has a Bloomberg terminal, a computer service with access to a vast array of financial information - who head into the business world.

“From my perspective, regardless of the skill set I bring in, this is really a testament to the program at Behrend,” he said. “People don’t realize the gem we have here and, dollar for dollar, a dynamic deal for education without leaving town.”

Seelinger was an executive with Erie Computer-Costcentral.com for 15 years, helping the company grow while exhibiting superb computer and sales skills. Driven and tireless, he worked full time while acquiring his degree, earning top scholarships in the process.

So why the drive for another career, which he likely can attain since top firms now have access to his glossy résumé?

Seelinger, who got married in 2009 - and who, with his wife, Rebeka, is expecting a second child in October - said that he regretted never completing his undergraduate degree.

“When my son Robert was born, I thought that it would be hypocritical of myself to encourage him to get a degree when he grows up when I didn’t do it myself, so I decided to get my undergrad degree in finance,” Seelinger said.

Seelinger continued to work 40-hour weeks while pursuing his career-changing goal.

“First of all, my wife is very tolerant,” he said. “Then I always joke that everyone in the family is either an attorney, doctor, or both, so I guess I should step it up. Coming back became my plan. (With) what Behrend has to offer, it was really a no-brainer to get the MBA. I hope to move into some type of analytical position in the realm of finance.”

His family will be larger when he completes his task in 2015.

“My wife is understanding in letting me do this,” Seelinger said. “But Robert, well, he’s the boss.”





Information from: Erie Times-News, https://www.goerie.com

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