Our Stories

Writing Her Own Career Song

For German native (and amateur country songwriter), where better to study finance than Vanderbilt?

Vanessa Arndt
Associate Consultant, Bain & Co., Houston, TX

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2016

Once you get to know Vanessa Arndt, you understand why she describes “the world” as her hometown. While earning her undergraduate degree in International Business, she spent four semesters in her native Germany and three in China. During that time, she realized that she enjoys “working with people from all over the world” as much as she enjoys working with numbers. “To further indulge my passion for finance and living abroad,” she says, “I applied to the Owen MSF program. Where better to study finance than in the U.S.?”

As a prospective student and first-time visitor to Nashville, Vanessa was struck immediately by the hospitality of the city (“strangers will talk to you on the street”) and by the friendliness of everyone at the school. “From the beginning of the admissions process, I was impressed with the accessibility and willingness to help from the staff as well as the incumbent students. It only got better after I actually got to Nashville for classes.”

In fact, Vanessa credits the Career Management Center team as a major element of that support as she figured out her career goals. When she applied to the MSF program, she thought she wanted to work in corporate finance. Then she concluded that investment banking was more to her liking. Then she realized that management consulting would enable her to combine those two interests. “The CMC staff were incredibly supportive through this entire process,” she says. “They were with me every step of the way.”

As she prepared to embark on her career as a consultant with Bain & Co., Vanessa noted another way that her time at Vanderbilt had molded her. “Nashville’s country music scene has had such a strong effect on me,” she says, “that I am composing songs about heartbreak on my guitar, which I taught myself how to play.”

Fun Fact: Vanessa speaks five languages.

“Thanks to everybody’s help, I was able to start my dream job coming out of the program.”