Our Stories

Becoming Empowered

MSF helped international student recognize and expand her capabilities

Amalia Soteriou
Investment Analyst, Invel Real Estate

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2022

After earning her undergraduate degree from the London School of Economics, Amalia Soteriou worked for a startup in the UK and then for a multinational corporation in her native Cyprus. “I missed the fast-paced world of finance,” she says, “and the easiest and fastest way to get back there was a master’s degree.”

For several reasons—starting with the university’s global reputation and the MSF program’s position, as Amalia describes it, “at the top of the charts in the USA”—Vanderbilt was an obvious choice. The idea of following in the footsteps of her father, a Vanderbilt alum, was also appealing, and she was eager for a college campus experience that was unavailable to her in London.

After she arrived, however, Amalia initially experienced doubt and worry. “The very first day,” she says, “I walked in and saw there were less than 25 percent women in the course. I questioned what it would be like. And I sat there thinking, ‘So many mods, so many weeks—there is no way this will fly.’”

The anxieties quickly passed. Even though most of her colleagues in the MSF program were male, she says, “Owen has a great community of women, including students, staff, and alumni. They are all very empowering, and if anything, they make you realize how powerful it is to be a woman in the industry.”

In fact, Amalia explains, the whole experience left her feeling empowered: “I will never be the same person. I picked up and moved to the other side of the world and was thrown into the deep end with schoolwork and recruiting, while also trying to adapt to a new environment. It has made me stronger emotionally and has also helped me understand that, once you realize what you are capable of, you feel limitless.”

Fun Fact: A citizen of Cyprus, Amalia (along with her twin sister) was born at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Once you realize what you are capable of, you feel limitless.