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Danielle Akins

Danielle Akins

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2009

Financial Risk Management Analyst, Tennessee Valley Authority


Making the Numbers Work

Akins Learned to Master—and Enter—a New Field


Danielle Akins, a math major who had prepared for a career as a teacher, knew all about numbers. Finance, however, was a different matter. Developing skills in that area, she believed, would help advance her career.

At the same time, her lack of experience with finance made the subject a little daunting. Initially, she says, "it was easy to feel intimidated among students who already excelled in finance and had worked in the financial industry." But the experience of working on group projects with open, supportive colleagues helped Danielle quickly overcome her unease.

By the time she graduated from the MS Finance program, she had gained key skills in working with financial time series in econometrics and navigating financial models in Excel. She employs those skills continually in her position with the Tennessee Valley Authority, where she evaluates and forecasts trends in commodity prices and analyzes the financial impact of several energy efficiency and demand response programs.

At Owen, says Danielle, "I knew I'd be challenged in ways I'd never been challenged before. But I also knew I'd be surrounded with people who'd do everything they could to help me get the most from my education. The skills I've gained have helped me successfully transition into a new career."