Our Stories

Pursuing His Goals in a ‘Fun City’

For John Branisa, both the program and location mattered

John Branisa
M&A - Valuation Consultant, FTI Consulting

Vanderbilt MAcc Valuation 2021

John Branisa had his sights set on a career at the intersection of accounting and finance. He majored in accounting in college and enjoys reading books on finance (along with philosophy). He went looking for a specialized program, he says, that would provide “technical experience to supplement my liberal arts background” and help him obtain licensure as a CPA and a CFA.

That led him to look at Vanderbilt, whose MAcc Valuation program met his criteria—and on top of that, he says, “Vanderbilt has great brand recognition worldwide, and Nashville is a really fun city to live in for a year.” (It didn’t hurt that John visited the Vanderbilt campus in the fall. “The leaves were beautiful,” he remembers.) And he would be able to live with his cousin, who was a law student at Vanderbilt.

Once he arrived, the program exceeded his expectations. John counts the quality of the professors he learned from as one of his highlights. “Placement into internships was phenomenal, especially in the midst of a pandemic,” he says. (John landed a spot as a Business Valuation Associate with KPMG in New York.) “And the program gave me a slew of alumni to talk to and better orient my career path.”

Nashville, too, proved just as satisfying a place to spend a school year as it had initially appeared to John. During his time in the program, he spent most Saturday mornings road-biking from the west part of the city to East Nashville and back, a route of approximately 45 miles.

And, in the end, he came out with what he originally sought: a position with Deloitte in New York as an analyst in Transactions and Business, in the company’s Risk & Financial Advisory Group, as well as the preparation he needed to sit for the CPA and Level 2 CFA exams in the summer following graduation.

Fun Fact: John has traveled to 35 countries on five continents.

Placement into internships was phenomenal, especially in the midst of a pandemic.