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Preparing for a Bigger Impact

Startup star gets the skills and expertise for finance career

Vedanti Shah
Investment Banking Associate, Jefferies

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

In her native India, Vedanti Shah enjoyed the thrill of working for startups. She remembers the excitement of curating her company’s first workshop—a product that became the core revenue generator in its business model—executing the marketing, venue management, logistics, and PR.

After working with startups, Vedanti ultimately longed to create a larger-scale impact and focused her attention on financial services, an industry that appealed to her. Despite her demonstrated prowess, however, her background in biochemistry had not equipped her with the skills and technical expertise for an executive role in finance.

Her path would require another transition, too. In small startups, Vedanti had typically worked in small teams. Moving into a large, complex organization setting, she knew, would require her to learn and build managerial skills. She found that Vanderbilt “was one of the very few programs that checked this very niche box of ‘personal and influential.’ It is a small program with an intimate class size where I am not just a name in the crowd. But it is also a well renowned program with excellent resources and access to the financial industry.”

At Vanderbilt, the Career Management Center team worked with Vedanti to identify transferrable skills from her earlier career and to develop a resume that accentuated them. In addition, she connected with Vanderbilt finance alumni—a key step, she says, given that “banking is a heavily networking-driven industry.”

“Interacting with the alumni in companies I liked and understanding their perspective on the organization went a long way in my recruiting efforts,” Vedanti says. “Moreover, the alumni are genuinely interested in your success. The Owen alum I spoke with at Jefferies [where she ultimately landed a permanent position] gave honest advice and supported me a lot as I navigated the banking recruitment journey.”

Thanks to alumni and her fellow students, Vedanti says she has established not only a new career but a strong cohort of colleagues: “I have formed relationships and a network way beyond the two-year program, and I have a job in an industry and organization that I feel passionate about.”

Fun Fact: Vedanti is a certified open-water SCUBA diver.

Interacting with the alumni in companies I liked and understanding their perspective on the organization went a long way in my recruiting efforts.