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Finding a Program That’s Not ‘an Afterthought’

Emphasis on Master of Finance helps draw Nigerian banker to Vanderbilt

Bryan Ejiofor
Public Finance - Infrastructure, J.P. Morgan, New York

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2019

With his degree in accounting, Bryan Ejiofor easily secured an investment banking job in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. But he aspired to a career on a larger scale.

A Master of Finance, he realized, “offered a very credible pathway to international opportunity in finance.” With that in mind, Bryan applied to programs in the United States and was accepted by multiple schools.

During the process, he came to a second realization. “When you start to explore MSF programs, you immediately get a sense of the regard each business school has for its MSF program,” Bryan says. “At Vanderbilt, I got the sense that the MSF was taken very seriously and not merely as an afterthought to the MBA program.”

The small size of the program and the large size of the Vanderbilt network also appealed strongly to him. “When you come from an undergraduate program with 300 students in class, you have a healthy appreciation for smaller programs where you can actually build relationships and learn interactively,” Bryan says. “And I realized that joining a strong community like Owen would elevate my professional stature immediately.”

At Vanderbilt, Bryan simultaneously immersed himself in a new program, a new community, and a new country. He was part of the Finance Club, the Owen Black Students Association, and Out & Allied. After a hard week of classes, he enjoyed hanging out with classmates downtown (the dance floor at Nashville Underground was a favorite), and he often walked across the street to San Antonio Taco Company between classes. The emphasis on group assignments, he believes, also helped forge a sense of community. “Nothing is greater than building something with others, and I really enjoyed that,” Bryan says. “This has been one of the best experiences of my life.”

Fun Fact: From the time he was 13, Bryan worked in his family’s business, selling fabrics for women’s and children’s clothes in a Lagos market.

At Vanderbilt, I got the sense that the MSF was taken very seriously and not merely as an afterthought to the MBA program.