Our Stories

Graduating from Technician to Leader

Hurtt builds skills that expand career options

Graham Hurtt
Managing Director - Investment Banking, Raymond James

Vanderbilt MBA 2013

Along with gaining valuable experience, Graham Hurtt learned a valuable lesson as part of a team that managed assets for DuPont's pension fund. His focus on private markets investment management had served him well in his job search after he graduated from Drexel University, where he was a member of the varsity rowing team. He discovered, however, that “career plans are accurate until they come in contact with reality.” Over time Graham realized he wanted “a role that was more transaction- and advisory-oriented.”

To make a career pivot, “I needed to refine my technical skills and work on some of the 'soft' skills that separate a technician from a leader and a strategic thinker,” says the Wallingford, Connecticut, native. He chose Vanderbilt for three reasons: the program's small size; the “intelligent and interesting” people; and for the opportunity to take classes from “the finance professors I had met and read about and who are some of the brightest minds in financial markets research.”

Looking back on his two years in Nashville, Graham says, “Owen has been the best investment I've ever made. The classes and clubs helped me develop a toolbox to solve real-world problems. I've learned from great professors, built a network among alumni and made a great set of friends who will be part of my life for years to come.” (Among them is his wife.)

Building on his earlier experience, Graham says he also learned another valuable lesson from Owen: “flexibility pays dividends.” Now, instead of being locked into one path, he has the broader knowledge and skills that can take him in a variety of directions, depending, he says, “on the opportunities I can create or capitalize on.”