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Enjoying Challenges Every Day

MSF helps Ledak turn weaknesses into new strengths

Bridgett Ledak
Ernst & Young Consulting, Dallas, TX

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2018

With a degree in Economics and a minor in Journalism, Bridgett Ledak left college feeling fairly well-rounded as she made plans to land a consulting job. And yet, she says, “I knew something was missing for me to be ready to start my career.”

An MSF, she concluded, was “the perfect way for me to expose gaps in my quantitative skills and target those gaps head-on.”

Once she chose to pursue that degree, Owen appeared on Bridgett’s radar, she says, because “Vanderbilt had one of the more established programs and was well-ranked.” But, as with so many prospective students, her decision was cinched when she came to visit. “The community at Owen just felt more cohesive and welcoming than any other school I had been considering, and that was a huge factor for me,” she says. “I couldn’t turn down a close-knit community like this.”

Reflecting on her experience, Bridgett says that the program challenged her every single day: “It addresses all your strengths and weaknesses and gives you the tools to grow those weaknesses into new strengths.” At times, she says, the adjustment was difficult. But she credits the entire Owen team – particularly Blake Gore in Career Management, Maura Clark in Admissions and faculty such as Nick Bollen and Cherrie Wilkerson – with support that prepared her for success in a consulting career.

That support, she suggests, was also valuable for a woman in a field traditionally dominated by men. “There were times,” she says, “when I was the only woman in the room. But never once did I feel at a disadvantage among peers. Owen does a phenomenal job of addressing the realities of being a woman in business and how we can better prepare ourselves for some of the unique obstacles we may face. They provide opportunities to feel empowered and to learn from other women who have walked the path before them.”



Fun Fact: Bridgett loves (in no particular order) Tex-Mex food, movies “of all genres and generations,” and hiking. On St. Patrick’s Day 2018, the completed her first half-marathon – “a big goal for me because I am not a runner.”

“There were times,” she says, “when I was the only woman in the room. But never once did I feel at a disadvantage among peers.”