Our Stories

Moving Ahead and Paying It Forward

MSF grad now helping new students transition to success.

Scott Merdinger
Investment Banking Analyst, Lincoln International

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2022

For Scott Merdinger, the MSF program was a chance to move ahead on two different fronts. The obvious opportunity, he explains, involved “being able to land a great job in a highly competitive industry like investment banking.” The other front, he says, was social: “COVID-19 threw a wrench into my college experience, so continuing my education would be a new experience in an incredible city. It was a unique opportunity for me to create new and lifelong friendships.”

Meeting people, as it turned out, was integral to Scott’s Vanderbilt experience. He became familiar with the MSF program, he says, only by networking with MSF alumni and Vanderbilt undergrads. One of the alums became “a close mentor who guided me through the entirety of my career search process. A great deal of my success is due to him.

“So much of life is about developing relationships, and the school does a great job of putting on events to help students build relationships,” Scott explains. “A huge part of being a member of Owen is networking with other students to expand your bubble because you never know which relationship could open an influential door for you.”

Relationships with faculty, too, have been important for Scott’s journey. “Certain faculty members looked out for me throughout the entire year and were invested in my success,” he says. “This is a unique aspect of the program that was different than my experiences in undergrad. Having them in my corner made a significant impact on my outcomes.” 

Now, with degree and job in hand, Scott is paying it forward: The faculty selected him as an MSF Transition Coach. “Them trusting me to help incoming MSFs with their career journeys is a huge compliment and responsibility,” Scott says. “This program allowed me to step into a completely unfamiliar city where I didn’t know anyone. It tested me as an individual and gave me the confidence to know I can thrive in any situation. So many people helped me throughout my professional journey, so the least I can do is contribute back.”

Fun Fact: As a member of the rugby team at the University of Kansas, Scott traveled to New Zealand for a 17-day rugby tour.

A huge part of being a member of Owen is networking with other students to expand your bubble.