Our Stories

Working His Way from Football to Finance

Ex-college gridder finds path at Vanderbilt that takes him to his ‘passion’

Parker Henry
Healthcare Services Investment Banking Analyst, Raymond James

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2019

Parker Henry didn’t need to visit Vanderbilt. He’d been there before as a member of the University of Tennessee football team. As a result, he says, “I knew everything I needed to know.”

At UT, Parker began as an equipment manager and worked his way up to a spot on the field as a member of the special teams. Yet for all that focus on athletics, he says that finance is his passion. “The intricacy and opportunity within the financial sector fit my personality,” he says, “making it the best future for me.”

A native of the Nashville area, Parker had always planned to come home, he says, “and give my time and resources to develop the area that molded me.” So he considered himself fortunate to be accepted to the MSF program at Vanderbilt.

In particular, he appreciated that the program was designed in a way that combined challenging coursework with an outside internship—where he could apply the same blend of ambition and determination that earned him a spot on the football field. “During the fall semester,” Parker says, “I interned about 30 hours a week, allowing me to gain valuable, hands-on industry experience and to apply techniques I learned in class. I have no doubt this flexibility allowed me to obtain my job offer.”

He also credits help from the admissions and career services teams at Owen. He was drawn to the impressive placement statistics for the program. After enrolling, he discovered one of the reasons why the stats were so strong. The staff, he says, “works tirelessly to ensure we have every opportunity to land the job we want in the location we want.

“[The MSF team] has given me every chance to be successful. It’s that simple. They sold me on the idea that they can get me to where I wanted to be. They delivered for others, so I believed they could do the same for me.”

Fun Fact: Parker was the first University of Tennessee football player to win the honor of Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the Southeastern Conference. Parker also graduated with a 4.0 from the Vanderbilt MS Finance Program. 

“They sold me on the idea that they can get me to where I wanted to be…They delivered.”