Our Stories

Getting the Right Experience

Campus culture and competitions equip Fritzsche for a career in finance

Chad Fritzsche
Financial Development Program Associate, Cigna, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

As Chad Fritzsche can attest, sometimes there’s no substitute for personal experiences. He took two years off between high school and college, and during that time, he traveled down the Amazon River by boat and biked through southern China.

So when it came time to apply to MBA programs, Chad already appreciated the value of experiencing the campus for himself. A day at Vanderbilt made his decision easier.

“I was very impressed with how engaged the students were in class,” Chad says. “While the professor moderated the dialogue, the students really drove the conversation forward. They built on each other’s ideas and challenged them in a professional way. It helped solidify that Owen’s culture was the best fit for me.”

Experiences beyond the classroom—in particular, a case competition sponsored by the Owen Finance Club—also helped equip Chad for a summer internship in investment banking (IB). “Recruiting for IB is an incredibly stressful, busy, and accelerated process,” Chad says. “The competition allows students to get a better understanding of a recent transaction. My team and I had to work together to value a company, understand the strategic rationale for why the transaction occurred, and put together a presentation that clearly articulated our findings.

“We then presented our findings to a panel of bankers ranging from associates to managing directors. After some intense Q&A, there is a networking reception that allows students to connect with the bankers. The competition allowed me to apply the skills I had learned in the classroom to the real world, while also getting a better understanding of what a career in IB would look like.”

Chad’s time at Vanderbilt, he says, allowed him to see himself living in Nashville for the long term. That direct experience, too, paid off: he accepted a finance position with Cigna that enables him to stay in Music City.

Fun Fact: I brew my own beer.

I was very impressed with how engaged the students were in class.