Alumni Spotlight- Matt Priest

Matt Priest (TXST 2004) was a member of the inaugural class of Terry Scholars at Texas State University in 2004. He currently works as a Senior Associate for the Sterling Group and previously worked as an Investment Banking Associate for Goldman Sachs. Matt explains why he pushed himself to his limits on Wall Street before examining his priorities and adjusting his path. He discusses his time as a Terry Scholar, his life post-graduation, and his advice for Scholars as they pursue their chosen fields.

The Terry Years

Early on, when we started the Texas State group, I’m pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. Terry came out for most events. I got to see them a lot; I got to hear him talk about his upbringing and what led him to start the Foundation and the opportunities he was given to go to UT. I come from a similar kind of background, where the scholarship created opportunity. Hearing those stories told– secondhand too as they got up in age–it’s fantastic the amount of access the Terrys allowed people to have to them and to discuss things. They’d sit down at the picnic and were one of the crew. They wanted to know what was happening in the lives of the students and the universities. I think they took a lot of pride and joy in seeing us do what we did on a university level.

Click the tabs to learn about Matt’s life post-graduation.

MY Advice to Terry Scholars

If investment banking is something that interests you, figure out why it interests you. I did it for- probably- some of the wrong reasons. It was a “prove to myself that I could do it” type of thing. I wanted to see how far I could go. While I was interested in what we were doing, I was never fulfilled by it. To this day, I still think about “what might have been” if I had chosen a different path. If you’re a current student still debating if you want to be an engineer or an investment banker or a doctor or a hedge fund guy, you have to really think about why you want to do those things. If you’re doing it for the nice job, the nice paycheck, the nice car, and recognition from society, you have got to decide what it is about that occupation that gives you fulfillment. If you want to save lives, then do it. Why do you want to do deals if you’re an investment banker guy? Is it the thrill of doing the transaction and negotiating? I can tell you that you will very rarely be there; it’s not as cool as it looks in the movies. There are things I love about it, and there are things I could never do again and be perfectly okay. People have to find what they view as valuable and fulfilling in their lives. Find a career that gets you that. If you’re more fulfilled by leaving work at 6 o’clock, being a good parent, and being involved with your family, then you have got to find a job that lets you do that- not all of them will. Think more long term than short term, and really understand what you’re striving for.