Our Stories

Exceeding His Expectations, and Then Some

Business school isn’t what aspiring analyst anticipated

Jake Wetzel
Investment Banking Analyst, Deloitte Corporate Banking

Vanderbilt MAcc Valuation 2022

One reason Jake Wetzel chose Vanderbilt involved a fixed location. “Being in the heart of Nashville,” he explains, “allowed so many different opportunities.” But for Jake, another, equally compelling reason was that, in terms of career direction, he wasn’t locked into anything fixed at all.

“The fact that [the Vanderbilt MAcc program] offers separate tracks for assurance and valuation was a differentiating factor for me when I looked at graduate schools,” says the Pennsylvania native. “Many schools kind of lump their Master’s of Accounting program all into the assurance side and channel you into the traditional audit route. Valuation gives you a blending of accounting and finance, and that’s what I was looking for. People in the valuation track can go into consulting, mergers and acquisitions, or business valuation. I was interested in consulting.”

While he was drawn to what he knew about the program going in, it’s what he discovered after arriving that he found especially valuable. For example, he says, the faculty at Vanderbilt “are not your prototypical professors that you might have seen in your undergrad. All of our professors have real-world experience, and they brought those experiences into class, which gave me insights that allowed me to excel in my learning.”

An even more pleasant surprise was the culture and people. “Initially, I thought business school was going to be very buttoned up and strict, and that we were going to be kind of ‘closed doors,’” Jake explains. “But then I realized that at Vanderbilt, it’s actually the exact opposite. People are very friendly, open to networking, and constantly trying to help you, whether it’s finding a job or working on a group project.”

The camaraderie extended to student clubs, which allowed Jake to enjoy a mixture of business and pleasure. In the Finance Club, he says, “You have access to a great network of students who are aspiring to financial careers, and you can learn from each other in an open-minded, non-judgmental way.” Meanwhile, he adds, “I loved being able to go out on weekends with a bunch of different people in the Golf Club and just play golf and get to know them better.

“Vanderbilt was a very collaborative experience, and that’s something I’ll always remember.”

Fun Fact: Jake enjoys cooking, weightlifting, and golfing.

People are very friendly, open to networking, and constantly trying to help you, whether it’s finding a job or working on a group project.