Our Stories

Giving His Career a Favorable Forecast

Rauauskis blends weather and business to forge new pathway

Michael Ragauskis
Senior Analyst, Catastrophic Modeling, Ryan Specialty Group

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2023

If there were such a competition among his classmates in the MSF program, Michael Ragauskis believes he would win the prize for “most non-traditional background.” Before he came to Vanderbilt, he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences. He wrote a thesis on weather patterns and flood management in the Chicago area, where he grew up.

“I have been fascinated by the weather since I was four or five years old,” Michael says. “I always knew I wanted to be a meteorologist” (he’s been a member of the American Society of Meteorologists since 2016). “But as I got older, I grew interested in business, and I was introduced to all the ways weather and climate can impact business and the financial sector.”

He established a goal to build a career in the weather and climate risk space. “I wanted to expand my options for potential career paths and make myself more appealing on my resume, as opposed to having only a background in meteorology,” he says. “And I just had a general interest in learning more about finance and business.”

For Michael, Vanderbilt was a natural choice as the place to complement his meteorological expertise with the business acumen he lacked. His brother had earned an MBA here in 2012; another family member was part of the Master of Accounting class in 2013; yet another earned both an MSF and an MBA.

“Seeing how much they loved Owen, and how well they’ve all done in their careers, made me want to come experience it as well,” Michael says. “Being located in Nashville didn’t hurt, either.”

Once the program began, Michael soaked up what he learned in classes, which he looks back on as one of his favorite memories from Vanderbilt. “All of the material was brand-new to me,” he says, “so there was never a class that I found boring.”

But he especially credits his peers and alumni with making a substantial impact on his experience. “Our class was incredible,” Michael says. “I now have a core group of friends I know I’ll stay close with the rest of my life, and having these connections in different parts of the country will be cool and extremely beneficial. And alumni have always been extraordinarily willing to lend their time and advice.”

Now, like his other family members at Vanderbilt before him, Michael is using his new degree to propel him toward his goals. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a senior analyst in catastrophe modeling with Ryan Specialty Group, a Chicago-based insurance organization.

Fun Fact: Michael has worked as a volunteer storm spotter for the National Weather Service.

“There was never a class I found boring.”