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Day In The Life Of A Vanderbilt MS Finance Student

Mar 12, 2024
Discover a day in the life of Aakarsh Goyal, a student in the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Finance program

By Eigen Escario

Pictured: Headshot of Vanderbilt Master of Science in Finance student Aakarsh Goyal (MS Finance'24)

Aakarsh Goyal

The Vanderbilt Master of Science in Finance (MS Finance) is a 10-month graduate program that equips students with valuable technical skills for finance and enriching networking experiences to thrive in the workplace in any industry. Aakarsh Goyal (MSF‘24), walks us through a busy day in his life, packed with valuable coursework and opportunities for many paths within the MS Finance program.

7:00 AM | Morning Head Startmast

Goyal keeps his mornings simple by getting necessary things done to get ready for the day.

“My go-to ritual in the mornings is to just grab my phone and check my email first thing in the morning to hopefully see if there’s any updates,” Goyal said. “I also take a quick shower and head to campus right after because my classes start pretty early throughout the week.”

Breakfast is usually not on the menu for Goyal since he leaves for campus around 7:45, opting for a later meal after his morning classes.

“I tend to skip breakfast quite often as part of this program because I don’t have the time in the morning, and I value sleep a lot more,” Goyal said. “After class, I tend to grab something with a couple of my friends, usually a coffee and a bagel from the cafe downstairs at Owen.”

8:00 AM | Strategy & Operations Consulting with Professor Lehman

Pictured: Vanderbilt Business professor Jon Lehman teaching a class

Professor Jon Lehman

In line with his future career plans in consulting, Goyal talks about the program’s curriculum that will set him up for success in his field.

“On Mondays and Wednesdays I have Strategy and Operations Consulting, which I’m taking in addition to my Master of Science in Finance classes,” Goyal said. “It’s an MBA class, so it’s focused more towards a career in consulting. At Owen, you have the option to take classes outside of your program that best fits your path.”

Goyal takes full advantage of the interdisciplinary opportunities at Owen by diversifying his curriculum to fit his niche in business.

“The best part of my day is attending the variety of classes I like where I learn something I didn’t know before,” Goyal said. “I’m in the Strategy and Operations Consulting class, along with Financial Accounting, Business Machine Learning, and Entrepreneurial Finance class, so I’m learning something new every day. For example, in Business Machine Learning, we look at how to use A.I. in business applications and financial technology development in firms. It’s a pretty cool class.”

11:00 AM | Cosmopolitan Week

Pictured: Vanderbilt Business students socialize over lunch during Cosmo Week 2022

Vanderbilt Business students

Every year, Owen hosts a week-long campaign highlighting different cultures around the world to broaden student perspectives through various events.

“It’s Cosmopolitan Week right now, and there’s events every day like trivia, dialogues, and stuff like that,” Goyal said. “It’s international student based, and they had coffee and donuts for Owen students to connect and talk about our diverse backgrounds.”

In addition to networking events in support of Cosmo Week, Owen student programming hosts more informal, community-building events to uphold the same mission.

“Tonight, we actually have an international movie night where they’re going to show a Spanish movie selected,” Goyal said. “It’s a great event to connect with people, especially international students, but they usually have other fun events going on all the time.”

12:00 PM | Lunch with Friends

Goyal grabs a bite to recharge after a packed morning and takes advantage of Owen’s proximity to restaurants.

“My friends and I go grab a quick lunch, usually right across campus like Chipotle, Cava, or Subway,” Goyal said. “If we have more time, we’d go off campus somewhere. It really depends on what we feel like, but we come back to campus at around 1.”

As someone with dietary restrictions, Goyal talks about places and orders that are accessible and accommodating to students with similar considerations.

“I’m vegetarian, and I am trying to eat healthy most of the time, so I’d get a salad bowl from Cava as my go-to lunch order,” Goyal said. “And even if I don’t get the chance to get that, I’ll usually go for tofu to get my protein in for my day and keep me full through the rest of my classes.”

3:00 PM | Corporate Restructuring with Professor Seward

In the afternoon, Goyal attends his Corporate Restructuring class.

“It’s a weekend class that I have on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for 3 weeks,” Goyal said. “It’s nice because it frees up time during the week a little bit. It’s also a pass/fail class, so I can just focus on what’s going on in class, participate, do the work, and I get a good grade in that class.”

Goyal takes other classes where the main focus is simply absorbing valuable insights without the pressure of academic performance.

“On Thursdays, I have an MBA class called Healthcare Strategy and Leadership,” Goyal said. “I’m auditing this class, which means I don’t really have to do any of the assignments. I just go and sit, listen, participate and learn, which is nice because I don’t have to worry about keeping up with assignments alongside my busy schedule.”

6:00 PM | Group Case Interview Prep

After all of the day’s classes, Goyal builds on his momentum by meeting with some friends to work on their professional development.

“I start preparing for case interviews with a group of people who are pursuing a career in consulting – we would gather case interview material and walk through a full case before providing each other with feedback,” Goyal said. 

Goyal notes that this time is also valuable for networking and resource sharing among students interested in the same field.

“We also use this time to share information about job applications that we’ve seen and are coming up, along with any deadlines to discuss courses of action in a group setting,” he said. “We also connect each other to our networks based on our interests, and the people that I’ve talked to are really responsive and fit better in the context of my background.”

7:00 PM | Yoga and Chai

With all of the productive action items out of the way, Goyal takes advantage of Owen’s programming aimed at de-stressing and connecting with other students outside of professional environments.

“I went to Yoga and Chai for half an hour to end my day, and it was open to all Owen students who could participate or stop by for samosas and chai,” Goyal said. “There was a professional yoga instructor guiding us through the process, and it was a good event to destress from a busy day and connect with people.”

There are plenty of other opportunities for connections most nights – Goyal shares some of his favorite memories with his batch-mates.

“On Thursday nights, we have an event called Closing Bell where all Owen students come together for food and drinks,” Goyal said. “It’s a great time to relax and reflect on our week before we go our separate ways for the weekend since we don’t have classes on Friday.”

To learn more about the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Finance student experience, outcomes, and career paths, click here.

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