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Harbert College MBA alumnus John Bright with his wife, Debra, and children, from left to right, Addyburke, Kate, and Jack.
"I chose Auburn because I thought it was going to be the best value education that I could afford while getting a return on my investment." — John Bright, MBA alumnus and founder of Bright Investments
John Bright had three dreams in life .... all of which came true because of his time at Auburn University.
“I accomplished what I call the three most important decisions you can make toward your pursuit of happiness: being proactive in choosing who you marry, where you live, and what you really want to do with your life," he said. In 1996, Bright left his six-year career on Wall Street to pursue an MBA at the Harbert College of Business.
“I didn’t have any relatives in Alabama, didn’t have any friends, had never been to Auburn or the state," he added. "I chose Auburn because I thought it was going to be the best value education that I could afford while getting a return on my investment.”
Bright says that his first dream came true after moving to Auburn: being a part of the community and a culture focused on school and family. However, in pursuit of another dream, owning his own firm, he temporarily moved from the area upon completion of his degree.
“When you finish graduate school, you may not have any money," Bright said. "I wanted to live in Auburn and create my firm in Auburn, but I wanted to apply my dream of providing investment advice to the Southeast.”
Bright worked in Memphis, New Orleans, and Nashville before informing his partners in 2007 that he purchased a house and was moving to Auburn, Alabama where his second dream would come true just a year later: meeting his wife, Debra. He continued to work remotely with his partners for seven more years before finally pursuing his third and final dream.
Bright opened his firm, Bright Investments, in 2015 and was introduced to the Auburn Financial Management Association.
The Financial Management Association (FMA) is an elite program providing a support network for students interested in finance careers. Its mission is to provide a fully integrated program that combines education, career preparation, industry intellectual capital, alumni engagement, and information resources to produce the best trained and prepared students for finance careers. FMA currently boasts a 100 percent placement rate for graduates.
“What really sold me on the program was how the students take ownership of the organization," Bright said. "The way the students own it is the result of its vast successes.”
Last year, Bright became the chairman of the board for FMA. In this position, he supports students through guest speaking at various events, providing and connecting students to various internships, and working with his network of contacts to build relationships between students and working professionals.
In the most recent FMA meeting, inducting this year’s new members, Bright was honored with the FMA National Executive of the Year award celebrating a professional who has had the greatest impact on a Financial Management Association chapter.
“I was surprised and really quite touched by the effort and recognition," Bright said. To students looking to follow in Bright’s footsteps, he said to “pursue your passion.”
“Proactively make your decisions in life," he added. "Choose what you want to do and figure out how to do it, because if you can do that as a job, then life will be wonderful. I wake up every morning, and if I didn’t get paid a penny, I would still do exactly what I’m doing. Choose what you want to do, and I promise, recognition, fulfillment, and money will follow.”