Our Stories

Throwing Himself into Cold Water

German student takes the plunge with U.S. immersion at Vanderbilt

Max Weissbrodt
Investment Associate

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2017

After working for a year in private equity in his native Germany, Max Weissbrodt wanted to strengthen his skills in finance. Then he came to perhaps an even bigger decision: Rather than enroll in a German university, he would pursue an MSF in the United States. In other words, along with the challenge of graduate school, Max says, “I was throwing myself into the cold water of classes in English, the American college system and the everyday challenges of living in a foreign country on your own.”

Once he arrived at Vanderbilt, Max found he wasn’t entirely on his own after all. “The Owen community came in helping whenever I wasn’t sure about something,” he says. “The faculty are incredibly open to talk to students – something I never experienced at my undergraduate institution. Through their extensive experience in the industry, they’re also able to help with recruiting efforts. And Blake [Gore] at the Career Management Center was available for every kind of interview prep, career goal conversations, and a lot of nerve-calming talks right before interviews” (Max says they also talked “a lot” about soccer, a passion they share).

Max found himself assimilating quickly into both the Owen community and the larger one at Vanderbilt. He served on the Owen Honor Council and the student-led, multi-disciplinary Project Pyramid, which works to alleviate global poverty. He also became a fan of American sports and enjoyed cheering on the Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium, Memorial Gym and Hawkins Field. (One of the highlights of his year, he says, was the win over Tennessee in football: “Although freezing cold, it was just awesome.”)

Meanwhile, he says, “I learned more in one year about applying concepts to the real world than I had in three years as a finance major in college.” “It will definitely help me on the job,” he says, “when everything you do is applying financial concepts to real-world data.”

Fun Fact: Max hopes to travel in space someday.

“The faculty are incredibly open to talk to students – something I never experienced at my undergraduate institution.”