As vice president of Elevator Consulting Services Inc., Gregory Ernst may not have a job that's directly tied to M&A, but he certainly has seen his fair share of deals over the years.

However, that's not exactly how he planned it. During his time at the University of Washington in Seattle, Ernst searched out an internship at IBM located in Tarrytown, New York to be close to Wall Street in hopes of landing a job on the Street upon graduating. Ernst was asked to join the analyst program at Morgan Stanley in its M&A department. His career was taking shape.

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