By Arial Starks
After earning an undergraduate degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University in May 2021, Drew Kesselmark returned to Vanderbilt the following fall to pursue a MS Finance degree. The decision to continue her education and pivot to finance came while working as a Wealth Management Intern at UBS Financial Services Inc. in the fall of 2020. After being accepted to the MSF program that winter, she worked with Gen Cap America Inc. as a private equity intern after graduation, where she developed her passion for working in private equity.
“I loved it (the internship)! It was a lot of strategy and a nice combination of working with numbers required to make the investment and quantifying everything, but also figuring out how we were going to create value,” said Kesselmark.
Kesselmark began her journey in the Vanderbilt MSF program in August of 2021 and immediately began her job search. She worked with the Career Management Center (CMC) participating in mock interviews to prepare for recruiting. Kesselmark says her work with the CMC helped her gain important technical interviewing skills and narrow down her job search.
“It (the CMC) helped me develop a strategy for my job search when it came to which companies I should be targeting and how I should go about reaching out to them. Even when it came down to very specific things like how to craft a LinkedIn message or how to follow up with emails, it was super helpful,” says Kesselmark.
In the midst of recruiting, Kesselmark attended a virtual career fair at Vanderbilt, with the intention of meeting someone from private equity firm Brown Brothers Harriman Capital Partners. After connecting with an associate, Drew leveraged the Vanderbilt network to land an interview with the firm.
“Me landing an interview with Brown Brothers had a lot to do with Vanderbilt,” says Kesselmark. “It was networking and people being in positions that I wanted to be in. Looking back, it’s cool to see how it all played out and that it actually worked. When you put in the work with networking, you get good outcomes. You may not land the first interview you get, but I think the system has a way of shaking out great options for you if you put in the effort,” she adds.
Kesselmark was invited to a series of interviews with Brown Brothers throughout the month of October, and by early November, the firm had extended her a full-time offer for the role of Private Equity Analyst, which she accepted soon after. Following graduation in May 2022, Kesselmark will be headed to her hometown of New York to join the Brown Brothers team.
“Trust the process, is what I came out of this understanding,” she said.
Click through the timeline below to see a visual of how Drew Kesselmark got the job.