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Finding His True Light

Entrepreneur moves from tech startup to investment banking

Fitzgerald "Fitz" Light
Senior Analyst, Strategic Finance, SurveyMonkey

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2018

In college, Fitzgerald Light created a tech startup that drew enough attention to be invited to the Tech Emerge Americas Conference in Miami. But even with this entrepreneurial streak, his real interest was investment banking. And when he researched graduate programs that could take his career in that direction, the Vanderbilt MSF quickly rose to the top.

“The program is one of the best in the nation, and the Finance faculty is second to none,” Fitzgerald explains. “Many prominent firms recruit from Vanderbilt, and Vanderbilt’s vast alumni network in investment banking was another factor.

“The culture was a plus, too. The students and faculty I met during my campus visit were down-to-earth people I could see myself making a connection with.”

Fitzgerald credits the MSF curriculum with helping him “take a deeper dive into finance and improve my teamwork skills,” he says. But he found added value in a number of attributes of the program. He notes a career development class during orientation that taught him how to communicate in the business landscape and excel at future jobs. And he credits the Leadership Development Program with helping him identify strengths and areas where he could improve.

“The Hogan Assessment gave me a breakdown of my traits and areas I should focus on,” he says. “My executive coach (through the LDP) helped me clearly define my goals for the next five years and a plan to build on my existing strengths.”

Not least, Fitzgerald also credits the Career Management Center. “They helped me find jobs to apply for and perfect my interview skills through mock interviews. I obtained my post-graduate job working with them!”

Fun Fact: Fitzgerald earned a college-level associate’s degree before he graduated from high school.

“The program is one of the best in the nation, and the Finance faculty is second to none.”