I met Hunter this past summer because we both had internships at the same company. He is double majoring in Economics as well as Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. The HOD major is especially interesting because it is a unique degree to Vanderbilt, which I thought was really cool.
What are some interesting facts about Vanderbilt?
- We have a 3:1 squirrel to student ratio – there are about 20,000 squirrels on campus
- Our campus is an arboretum
- We’ve been voted the nation’s happiest campus for 3 of the past 4 years
- Cornelius Vanderbilt owned 1/5 of the currency in the world at one point because of the work he did on the Panama Canal
Why did you choose to attend Vanderbilt?
I went to St. Louis University High School which is a pretty good, challenging high school. I ended up deciding between Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. Since they’re both top academic schools, it came down to the locations. I thought Nashville would be more fun and have more business opportunities. It’s warmer, in the same time zone as where I’m from, has great Greek life, and just seemed to come out ahead in every aspect.
Looking back, why are you glad that you stayed at Vanderbilt?
My freshman year was okay. Both social and business fraternity opportunities fell through, which was tough. But the thing about Vanderbilt is that there are so many opportunities to succeed, get involved, and find a group of friends. Teachers and guidance counselors also make suggestions on how to get involved, which is nice. I ended up becoming a part of VUcept and joining Club Lacrosse, and things started working out because I found people that I loved to be around.
Can you talk a little more about the clubs you’re involved in?
I’m on the Club Lacrosse team and in hindsight I wish I had joined my freshman year instead of waiting. Sports was huge for me in high school and I missed having a set schedule and a group of guys like I did then. We only have practices 2 or 3 times a week and they aren’t mandatory. There are about 35 guys on the team, and it’s really cool because we get to travel and get the sports aspect of playing Georgia Tech, Auburn, Mizzou, Alabama, and more. Then the team will all hang out together after the games and have a ton of fun at bars, restaurants, etc. which is really fun.
I’m also a part of VUcept which is like a peer mentorship student organization. One upperclassman has a group of about 20 first-year students, and we meet together weekly for an hour from the beginning of the semester up until Thanksgiving break. It’s a ton of fun and you form real relationships with people through it.
I also do a lot of volunteer work through a program called Best Buddies, which works with people with disabilities.
What is one of your favorite things about Vanderbilt?
Anytime I’m walking to class, I see anywhere from 5 to 15 people that I know. Originally, I thought I wanted to go to a big state school, but going to a smaller school and seeing people I know is awesome. I never walk around with headphones in because I know I’m going to see someone and more than likely have a conversation.
What about a least favorite thing?
Sometimes students from bigger cities like Chicago, New York, Miami, and some of the other Upper East Coast cities know a ton of people at Vanderbilt and have an advantage over the people from smaller areas, even still somewhat large cities St. Louis. I think there are 28 people from St. Louis but I only know 3 or 4 of them. So I guess it feels like if you’re from a big city you’ll immediately fit in, and if you’re not then you’ll have to work a little harder to find a group. I think we do a better job of making everyone feel welcome than some schools, but it’s still a little noticeable even if it’s unintentional.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Honestly I go to Chili’s and Chipotle the most, but there’s an awesome Sushi place called Nama less than 2 blocks away from campus. You can pay with your school card and it’s half priced on Monday and Thursday. There’s also a famous breakfast place called Pancake Pantry, and there’s always like an hour and a half wait in the mornings. I’ll go there with my family whenever they’re in town.
What do you like and dislike about Nashville?
I just love everything. There’s live music at all of the bars and parks in town. The food is amazing, especially downtown.
I hate the traffic. Because so many people travel to and through Nashville, the roads are about 20 years behind where they should be. They weren’t built to handle as many people as they currently have to.
You’re majoring in Economics as well as Human and Organizational Development- can you talk about how you decided to major in those?
I wanted to major in Economics because I really enjoyed by business classes in high school, and economics is the best program Vanderbilt has for business. Once I was on campus, I discovered the Human and Organizational Development (HOD) major, which is a unique major to Vanderbilt, and decided to add it. It’s a highly recognized program by companies which is great.
How are the two programs structured?
The Economics major is the College of Arts and Sciences, and it’s pretty much all economics classes. The classes for the HOD major are all pretty small with 15 to 30 students. There’s a lot of group work. I took a course where the main project was for each group to find something to improve on campus. We ended up putting healthier foods toward the front of an on-campus express grocery store (instead of soda, chips, etc.) to see how influences people’s purchases.
What has been one of your favorite courses?
I really liked a Sports Economics course I took. I was applying theoretical economics concepts to actual sports teams in football, basketball, hockey, and baseball.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I would like to get into investment banking. Then, I would like to get my masters in Finance, preferably in the Kellogg School of Management in Northwestern. I’m also interested in venture capital and private equity.
How do you feel the programs you’re in have prepared you for your future career?
The HOD major has helped me with interpersonal relationships and answering questions. Economics has helped me understand markets, basic concepts of competition, and just how the world works. I also have two finance minors which have helped me with business skills.
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