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A Tennessean who earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane, then stayed in the “Big Easy” to work, Robert Bray returned to his home state to join the MSF program at Vanderbilt. When we caught up with him, shortly after graduation, he had driven his belongings in a U-Haul truck from Nashville to New York, where he had accepted a position with a startup firm specializing in renewable energy finance and technology. Robert describes a typical Monday during Mod I of his year in the MSF program as “a major exercise in time management.”

One Day in the Life:

Robert Bray Vanderbilt MS Finance | 2015

7:55 am

4:30 pm I arrive for my 8 a.m. Financial Economics class with After my last class of the day, I might stick around for Nick Bollen. It’s one of the core classes everyone takes an hour of group work. Otherwise, I drive home to my during Mod I. apartment in The Gulch (10 minutes from campus) so I can let out my dog Cash, a 45-pound mixed breed. He’s a 9:30 am two-and-a-half-year-old rescue. When I got him, he was When class ends, I grab coffee across the street or in the almost pitch black, so I named him for Johnny Cash, the lounge. It has to be fast. I have just a 10-minute break. “man in black.” We’ll walk around the neighborhood, or sometimes I take him to the Centennial Dog Park across 9:40 am from the campus. Financial Modeling focuses on what we learned in Professor Bollen’s class and how to put it all into an 5:15 pm Excel framework. In fact, we do all of our learning for After I take Cash out, I’ll typically go to the gym in my this class in Excel. apartment complex and exercise. 11:10 am

I’ll get lunch and eat at school while I do classwork or meet with classmates. We have a group assignment due every Tuesday. First, we meet to analyze the assignment and divvy up the work. Later in the week, we’ll meet again to see what everybody has done. On Mondays, I have a free block of three or four hours. In addition to homework, I’ll use some of the time for networking and job search prep—sending emails to potential employers, researching companies, keeping appointments to talk with them by phone (if they’re in Nashville, I meet with them in person).

6:30 pm

Cook dinner and eat. Then I might follow up on any classwork I need to complete. Or I’ll spend an hour on my other paid internship—a financial modeling project to help a local company understand their financial performance. It’s work I can do from home. Maybe later, I’ll walkto a nearby club or over to the Station Inn to hear some bluegrass. If I’m not cooking, I might walk to the San Anejo on McGavock Street. (On Tuesdays they have great cheap tacos!) Or I might go to East Nashville for dinner—especially the Pharmacy, a great place for a burger and beer.

On Tuesday and Thursdays, I spend several hours in the middle of the day at a year-long internship I arranged There’s so much to do in Nashville. You have to find the with a local company, so I bring my lunch there. time to enjoy it all!

3:00 pm

Econometrics with Cliff Ball—another excellent class that’s part of our core curriculum. 32


Day in the Life of Robert Bray