Class of 2017: Derek Vadnais Works as Investment Specialist for Merrill Lynch


With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2017:

Name: Derek Vadnais

Hometown: Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Major: Vadnais graduated with a major in Business Administration and a minors in Finance and Economics on May 6.

Post-graduation plans: Vadnais joins Merrill Lynch in Lincoln, Rhode Island as an investment specialist. Since starting the position in May, Vadnais has successfully completed his FINRA certifications with the passing of his Series 7 and Series 66 exams.  He is working for the Merrill Edge division of Merrill Lynch, delivering financial services to Merrill’s online, self-directed clients. Merrill Lynch has provided Vadnais with the experience and opportunity to challenge himself.

How HPU helped you get there: “High Point University showed me how to strive for the things you only dream of. From the beautiful dorms, classrooms, and campus, you learn what you want and where you want to be in life. Hard work does not come easy, and HPU has taught me that through constant hard work and dedication, extraordinary is in your grasp. The moment I got the interview, I gave Career & Professional Development a call. April Cosner was fantastic. She provided me with guidance, tips, but most importantly, confidence before I had the interview. She taught me how important it was just to believe in myself. When you have that confidence, it’s so easy to sell yourself to a competitive employer like Merrill.” 

Most impactful mentor at HPU: “With an outstanding faculty and staff, it is difficult to single out a mentor. So the mentor to choose is a man that emulates everything the students, staff, and faculty stand for, Dr. Nido Qubein. While on campus, you see the commitment of a man that worked for everything he has earned. We are reminded while walking to class everyday, how hard work can pay off and it shows through the unbelievable campus that man has built. 

Most impactful moment at HPU: “Joining the Kappa Sigma Fraternity was my most impactful moment at HPU. The connections and lifelong friendships I’ll have with my brothers is something you cannot put into words. It is the only experience I’ve had where you need to experience the great impact this brotherhood can have on one, in order to fully comprehend it.” 

Advice for underclassmen: “Never get down on yourself. We’ve all been there. Whether it be not hitting your grades, not making a team, or not getting a bid to Greek Life. Work harder, and keep pushing. You will one day run into someone who will see the eagerness and desire in your eyes to succeed, and if given the opportunity, capitalize on your chance. Always be ready.” 


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