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Capstone Project Spotlight: Edley’s Bar-B-Que [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 07:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Capstone Project Spotlight: Edley’s Bar-B-Que
For students in the Executive MBA Program, the capstone strategy project is one of several unique immersive chances to apply lessons from the classroom to challenges posed by real businesses.

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Edley’s fare includes brisket, pork, chicken, and ribs

The Client: Edley’s, a fast-casual BBQ restaurant chain with three locations in Nashville, is a “tribute to all things Southern.” The proprietor, Will Newman, built the restaurant as a testament to the hard work and unfailing hospitality of his grandfather, Edley Newman.

The Project: After quickly growing to three locations within Nashville, Newman and his team were interested in bringing his distinctive offering to other parts of the country. Newman asked a team of four EMBA students (Alice Little, Matt Kidder, Joshua Hughes, and Steele Hutto) to analyze opportunities for expansion through a regional franchising strategy.

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The Edley’s C-Team – Hutto, Hughes, Little, Kidder (L to R)

The Analysis: The team took a deep dive into Edley’s numbers, looking at the chain’s startup costs, financials, menu, and consumer insights. They supplemented the internal data with additional research at the Walker Management library as well as several demographic studies. “The process was about creating a framework,” said Hughes, “and diving into our questions to deliver data-driven answers.”

Using factors like demographics and ROI, the Vanderbilt team analyzed seven markets within a four- or five-hour drive from Nashville, including Lexington, Ky., where a developer had approach Newman about opening a location. In the end, the Vanderbilt team recommended Lexington as its top priority.

“What sealed the deal about Edley’s proceeding with the Lexington location was the analysis done by the team.” – Will Newman, Edley’s

The Impact: “We took the team’s recommendations very seriously,” Newman said. “What sealed the deal about Edley’s proceeding with the Lexington location was the analysis done by the team.” Edley’s opened in Lexington earlier this year, and last month opened another location in Chattanooga.

The Feedback: “The team members were all extremely professional and eager to learn more about how they could be of service,” added Newman. “It was a great project from beginning to end.”

The post Capstone Project Spotlight: Edley’s Bar-B-Que appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Student-Led Trip Studies Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Colombia [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Student-Led Trip Studies Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Colombia
On the last day of Mod I, 12 students boarded a plane and flew to Colombia to spend 10 non-stop days learning about local innovation and entrepreneurship.

Each fall break, the Global Business Association (GBA) plans an international trip for MBA candidates to learn about doing business in another country. Students receive one credit for the trip, which counts towards the International Studies emphasis.

This year’s trip was coordinated by the GBA as well as the Latin Business Association (LBA), since the trip focused on a Latin American country.

“The goal of the trip is also the goal of the LBA: bringing a little bit more (knowledge) about how to do business in Latin America,” said Alejandro Sabillon (MBA’18), VP of External Affairs for GBA and a member of LBA.

Student-Centered, Student-Led

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The visits the ProColombia offices

Student input shaped the trip at every step of the process, including the choice of destination. Over the summer, GBA and LBA sent out a poll asking them to pick one of three countries they’d prefer to visit. Colombia won out, and organizers set about gathering applications and hosting info sessions.

After finalizing the participants list, organizers solicited feedback on industries they wanted to explore. Based on the student feedback, trip planners reached out to companies in specific verticals to set up site visits and presentations.

Mario Avila (MBA’12), Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, did accompany the students on the trip. He also helped them decide on the theme: innovation and entrepreneurship in Colombia.

“I gave the trip direction…that’s the one of the things Colombia has been known for, entrepreneurship and innovation,” he said. “I kind of set the tone of the class…and made some connections (but the students handled the details).”

David Parsley, E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Economics and Finance, served as faculty director, setting guidelines for achieving course credit. He also graded the final presentations student gave after their return.

On the Ground

After a few days of sightseeing in Cartagena, the team headed for the capital, Bogotá, where they investigated innovation in larger corporations and entrepreneurship in smaller startups. Stops in Bogotá included a rose farm, the U.S. Embassy, and ProColombia, a government agency that promotes exports, tourism, and foreign investment.

At their next stop, Medellín, two companies particularly stood out to students: Portafolio Verde and Interactuar. Portafolio Verde is a consulting firm that helps companies reach sustainable development goals; it’s previously worked with Starbucks and other big names. Interactuar provides one-year training programs for entrepreneurs to help them launch their businesses.

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Colombia is one of the world’s leading exporters of flowers

“For a lot of students, you’re learning about a lot of industries you may never work in, like the floral culture industry. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t parallels and there aren’t ideas from those companies visits that can be useful in whatever you end up doing,” said Marita Lawler (MBA’18), President of the Latin Business Association.

Students left Colombia with a new perspective on the country, having seen firsthand the efforts it has made to address its infrastructure challenges and promote business.

“There were assumptions from students (before the trip) that Colombia is a third world country,” Avila said. “(But) the overwhelming response from the students is that’s it’s a bustling country with a lot of opportunity.” 

Takeaways

The trip gives students a chance to network and make connections, not only with the companies but also with each other. “For me personally, I think these trips during business school are really important, because that’s when I have built really strong relationships,” Sabillon said.

The trip allows participants to apply business concepts from their classes in a new environment. Furthermore, they’re immersed in different businesses and industries, such as the rose farm, that they wouldn’t necessarily come across otherwise.

“You get the opportunity to learn about not only a business environment or country that’s different than your own, but also different businesses than maybe you would normally interact with during the MBA program,” Lawler said.

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The group snaps a picture in the lobby of Rappi, an e-commerce company

Perhaps most important, the Colombia trip helps students develop the international mentality needed to succeed in an increasingly global economy.

“If you want to have that mindset of international business or trade, you need to learn how to do business with someone from Latin America,” Sabillon said. “Yes, you’re coming to the MBA program, but at the same time, you will work with people from different cultures, and I think this direct experience will help you with that.”

The post Student-Led Trip Studies Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Colombia appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Forecasting the Future at the Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conferenc [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 15:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Forecasting the Future at the Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conference
On November 3, health care students and industry professionals convened at the Aertson Midtown hotel for the Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conference. Organized entirely by Owen MBAs, this year’s conference focused on “Disrupting Healthcare: The Radical New Ways to Consume and Deliver Healthcare.”

Attendees gained insights from five different speakers, as well as an MBA career panel featuring healthcare recruiters and talent developers. Each presentation focused on a different aspect of the disruptions coming to the health care industry.

The conference concluded with a career fair and networking happy hour, where attendees connected with representatives from major health care companies, including Brookdale Senior Living, Cardinal Health, DaVita, HCA, UHS, and more.

The Speakers
Dr. Peter Pronovost, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins

“Innovation, to me, is ideas with impact,” he said, describing how you must bring diverse disciplines together to solve a problem. He focused on three narratives that the health care industry must change before it can improve patient outcomes: first, that patient harm is inevitable rather than preventable; next, that patient safety is a local project rather than an integrated operating management system; and finally, that patient safety is based on the heroism of clinicians rather than the design of safe systems.

Dr. Brian Fengler, EvidenceCare

An emergency room physician, Dr. Fengler stepped away from clinical practice 18 months ago to focus on his company EvidenceCare, a clinical decision support tool that delivers patient-specific evidence to the provider. In his talk, he discussed the statistics that inspired him to start EvidenceCare: Only 20% of care delivered is evidence-based, and providers are 7-10 years behind guidelines; in fact, doctors would need to read 160 hours a week just to stay abreast of the current research literature. “Providers are making decisions every single day at the bedside that impact the lives of patients, but we lack that (evidence-based) information,” he said.

Dr. Brent James

Dr. James, former Chief Quality Officer of Intermountain Healthcare, opened his presentation by describing the five main factors that contributed to an individual’s health. Behavior and personal choices influence about 40% of health, genetics 30%, physical and social environment 20%, and the health care system and delivery 10%. He outlined a new model of health care that addresses all of these factors to improve patient outcomes. While he acknowledged the challenges in the industry, he also ended on a note of encouragement. “I wish I was entering the field right now. We’re going to go far,” he said. “I’ll leave you with one thought: We could be dramatically better. That’s our task, that’s our goal.”

Dr. Jesse Spencer-Smith and Kim C. Sheehan, Clinical Services Group of HCA

Dr. Spencer-Smith and Sheehan gave a joint talk on the path of data science disruption. They walked attendees through the different steps of disruption: forecasting, machine learning, treatment anomaly detection, real-time prediction, prescriptive analytics, and artificial intelligence. “(Companies) aren’t just differentiated by their health care, they’re differentiated by their analytics,” Dr. Spencer-Smith said of industry players.

Career Panel
Three experts shared insights on the MBA health care recruiting process: Desmond McGroarty (MBA’11), Director of Talent Management at Brookdale Senior Living; Mark Privitera, Business Strategist for the Executive Development Program at Cerner (MBA’17); and Kelly Raulino, Senior Manager of MBA Talent Acquisition for the Redwoods Leadership Development Program at DaVita. They discussed how the MBA degree gives graduates a broad perspective, which can be a significant advantage in such a siloed industry. “How we can take another industry’s learnings, and apply it to health care?” Privitera asked.

To learn more about the health care concentration at Vanderbilt business, check out our story about the recent Health Care Immersion program.

The post Forecasting the Future at the Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conference appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Tami Fassinger First Recipient of EMBA Council “Spirit of Innovation”  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2017, 07:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Tami Fassinger First Recipient of EMBA Council “Spirit of Innovation” Award
Tami Fassinger, Chief Recruiting Officer at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, received the inaugural Spirit of Innovation Award at the EMBA Council’s 2017 Annual Meeting, on October 24 in Seattle.

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Tami Fassinger poses with Elmer Almachar (L) and Michael Desiderio (R) of EMBAC

The award acknowledges the innovative contributions to the Executive MBA industry and community. Recipients must have launched an innovation or series of innovations with significant material impact in areas such as admissions, curriculum, program delivery, operations, and outreach.

Fassinger, who held the role of Associate Dean of Executive Programs at Vanderbilt Business from 2004-2011 before assuming her current position, was lauded for her contributions to data collection and measurement, as well as new global programs.

“I can’t think of anyone more worthy to bear this honor than (Fassinger),” said Elmer Almachar, Chair of the Board of Trustees for EMBAC, in his award presentation. “An industry strategist, leader, and innovator, she is perhaps above all else our teacher, our role model, and our mentor.”

An industry strategist, leader, and innovator, she is perhaps above all else our teacher, our role model, and our mentor. – Elmer Almachar

Fassinger downplayed her individual contributions in her acceptance speech, crediting her teams with bringing her ideas to life. She did mention three personal attributes that led to her success.

“In my career,” she said, “I was always trying to be approachable. People could tell me what was really in their heart and know that I wouldn’t judge it.

“The next thing is being really curious about people and their stories. My ideas…usually came from listening a lot to those stories.

“And lastly, I love being networked. This (EMBAC) group is a networking group that I rely on a lot.”

About EMBAC

The academic association that represents the Executive MBA (EMBA) industry, the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) advances the cause of EMBA Programs by serving as a facilitator of best practice sharing and knowledge dissemination, and fostering a community among high-quality programs.

About the Executive MBA at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management

Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA Program is a globally recognized MBA program for working professionals, with world class faculty and resources. The program offers two tracks — Executive Edge or Global Immersion — that provide options to focus on leadership and strategic skills or explore the nuances of doing business globally. For more information on the Executive MBA program, click here.

The post Tami Fassinger First Recipient of EMBA Council “Spirit of Innovation” Award appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Photo Essay: Marketing Madness 2017 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2017, 10:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: Photo Essay: Marketing Madness 2017
Every fall, the Vanderbilt Marketing Association and several major brands sponsor the Marketing Madness Closing Bell. The companies provide product and materials, and students are responsible for creating booths and activities to market their respective brands.

While the contest is optional, many MBA candidates with brand concentrations as well as the Master of Marketing students choose to participate each year.

The post Photo Essay: Marketing Madness 2017 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Equifax profit falls as hacking costs take toll [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 07:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Equifax profit falls as hacking costs take toll
The post Equifax profit falls as hacking costs take toll appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Moving Up (And Around) in the Financial World [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 11:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Moving Up (And Around) in the Financial World
When Ronke Oyekunle (MSF’15) graduated from Tufts University in 2013, she “essentially had no idea what I wanted to do with my career,” as she recalls. The former track and field athlete found a job in the accounting department of a small investment bank in Boston and tried to figure out what she did want her post-college career to look like.

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After six months, Oyekunle realized that accounting wasn’t for her — but she was interested in investment banking. She began looking at Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Programs to help kick-start her career in investment banking and was attracted by Vanderbilt’s hands-on career center and MBA-level classes.

Getting Started in Banking

MSF recruiting for investment banking starts early, so Oyekunle began working with Blake Gore, Senior Associate Director of the Career Management Center, during the summer before orientation. He helped connect Oyekunle to Owen alumni and internship opportunities. Once classes began, her second-year MBA peer coach and other MBA students helped her hone communications skills during mock interviews.

“Having worked with her to prepare, I knew she had tremendous value to offer and a strategy for messaging it. Her success as a collegiate athlete also suggested she was no stranger to performing under pressure,” Gore said.

The hard work paid off early, when Oyekunle connected with alumni working at Jeffries during the Wall Street Trek. They were so impressed by her performance they invited her to formally interview with the firm, along with a few other students. It was her first bank interview, and she aced the process, receiving and accepting an offer from Jeffries before the end of the first Mod.

“A few minutes after witnessing her first handshake on Wall Street, I knew she wouldn’t be on the market much longer,” Gore recalled.

A few minutes after witnessing her first handshake on Wall Street, I knew she wouldn’t be on the market much longer. -Blake Gore

The Next Chapter

Oyekunle moved to New York City and started her job with Jeffries following graduation. After several months on the job, she decided that she didn’t want to stay in investment banking forever and began considering next steps.

She considered transferring over to the private equity side but decided that didn’t fit well with her future goals either. Eventually, she hit upon a financial career that did appeal to those goals: venture capital, with a concentration in the technology sector, which is one of her passions.

“I was very focused on investment banking, and it worked out well for me. But I think if I had spent more time talking to other people and figuring out what I wanted to do — I probably would have realized early on that VC was a really good fit,” she said.

Oyekunle acknowledges that, during her career search at Vanderbilt, she never thought much beyond that first job in investment banking, or even seriously considered other financial services careers.

“If I hadn’t got my job (at Jeffries), I probably would have been applying to investment banking internships or jobs until graduation, given how focused I was on it…My goal was to get into investment banking, and then figure out what other paths made sense,” she said.

Obviously, the career management resources at Owen helped Oyekunle secure her desired job in investment banking. But she also credits the broad range of MSF classes with preparing her to make the switch to venture capital.

“You’re doing a very specific type of finance when you’re in investment banking. In the MSF program, on the other hand, we got exposed to a much wider of different types of finance,” she said. “That’s something I never would have gotten exposure to if I’d gone straight into banking right after undergrad.”

My goal was to get into investment banking, and then figure out what other paths made sense. -Ronke Oyekunle

Making the Switch

Oyekunle began job searching and found a position as an associate at NextEquity Partners, a venture capital firm that focuses on growth-stage technology companies. Earlier this year, she moved across the country from New York City to San Francisco to start the next chapter of her career. She greatly enjoys researching promising startups and technology trends and becoming part of the companies’ growth journeys by investing in them.

“What venture capital gives you the opportunity to do is learn about all of these startups, either when they’re in the early stage or the growth stage or whenever it is, and be at the foreground of really exciting technology development,” she said.

Oyekunle doesn’t regret her time in investment banking, but she counsels current and prospective students not to get too focused on banking at the expense of other options. She points to her own experience as proof that keeping an open mind can lead to a more fulfilling career.

“Banking was a good experience for me, in the sense that it’s helped me with what I wanted to do and gave me a good skill set, but it’s not the only avenue that you could have gone to get (into venture capital),” she said. “There are probably other career paths that are just as interesting to you that might be a really fit for your long-term career…Take the time and do a little bit of research and see what else is out there. And you can do that at the same time you’re pursuing banking.”

To learn more about the Master of Science in Finance, visit our program page.

The post Moving Up (And Around) in the Financial World appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Why You Should Buy The Stocks That Lobby The Most [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2017, 10:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: Why You Should Buy The Stocks That Lobby The Most
The post [url=https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonconstable/2017/11/13/how-to-profit-from-the-swamp/#7b57df03c284#new_tab]Why You Should Buy The Stocks That Lobby The Most[/url] appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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OFC Hosts Corporate Finance Case Competition in the Lead-Up to Interns [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2017, 15:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: OFC Hosts Corporate Finance Case Competition in the Lead-Up to Internship Recruiting
Last Thursday, the Owen Finance Club (OFC) hosted their second case competition of the year, the Corporate Finance Case Competition. The competition puts first-year MBAs in the role of a Chief Financial Officer of a large corporation and asks them to think strategically about improving business models.

With applications being released for summer internships in corporate finance, the competition is a natural opportunity to begin networking with alums and preparing for interviews.

“The case competition allows students to showcase their skills in front of senior representatives from several Fortune 500 companies and some of the largest recruiters at Owen,” said Evan Hutto, Vice President of Events for the OFC. “Employers are able to build relationships with students early in the recruiting cycle and evaluate students outside of the normal resume reviews and interview processes.”

The case competition allows students to showcase their skills in front of several Fortune 500 companies. -Evan Hutto

The Case: Unlike the Investment Banking Case Competition held last month, this year’s Corporate Finance Case Competition gave participants the option to choose their company: Procter & Gamble or Unilever. Teams had to outline how their chosen company was different from their competitor and pull historical financial data to back up their claims.

Working in teams of four or five, students were tasked with determining how differences in product portfolio, market geography, manufacturing, and more contribute to financial performance. Their analysis included working capital management and liquidity ratios, as well as recommendations for how either Procter & Gamble or Unilever could continue to stand out and grow strategically.

“For students, this case competition offers the opportunity to put the skills they learned over the first two mods at Owen into practice,” Hutto said. “By working on a real-world corporate finance project, students develop a better understanding of the actual responsibilities of a corporate finance practitioner.”

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Judges deliberate the winner at the Corporate Finance Case Competition

The Judges: Seven judges from major corporations — including Eastman Chemical, ExxonMobil, Cardinal Health, Cigna, and Mars Petcare — evaluated participants’ presentations based on the strength of the financial analysis and strategic recommendations. In addition to providing feedback on the different approaches to the case, the judges networked with students at both lunch and a happy hour.

“I’ve heard from a couple of the companies, (saying) ‘We didn’t know who this candidate was (before)…but we identified them at the case competition, and that was the start of us wanting to get know that candidate more,’” said Brook Meissner, Senior Associate Director at the Career Management Center.

The Winner: Team five (Eric Brooks, Marc Santolin, Zach Schneider, and Scott Beerens) took first place, based on their strong presentation and in-depth financial analysis and forecasting.

Winners aside, the real value of the competition is the opportunity to present to corporate finance practitioners and receive immediate feedback. “(The competition) gives the students a chance to start thinking about what kinds of things they may need to work on in preparation for interviews,” Meissner said. “I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some of the students participating in this (event) are often some of the more competitive students when it comes to the recruiting side.”

To learn more about the Vanderbilt MBA and corporate finance opportunities, visit our program page.

The post OFC Hosts Corporate Finance Case Competition in the Lead-Up to Internship Recruiting appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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MAcc Valuation Alum Hits the Right Note with a Career in Entertainment [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: MAcc Valuation Alum Hits the Right Note with a Career in Entertainment
Leah Robinson (MAcc’16) always planned on a career in the music and entertainment industry. While she appreciated the creative side — she played the piano and participated in choir in high school — she decided in college that she wanted to work on the business side instead.

Originally, Robinson was “100% sure” she would pursue a career in entertainment law, and she started applying to law schools while wrapping up her senior year at the University of Delaware. Moving through the law school application process, however, she increasingly realized that she didn’t want to practice law after all.

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Leah Robinson, MAcc ’16

Robinson had already applied to Vanderbilt Law School when she received an email from the Master of Accountancy program at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. She researched the program online and contacted admissions to get more information.

“I was like, (the MAcc program) is so much of a better fit for me, what I’m good at, my undergrad major, everything I want to go into,” Robinson recalled.

She quickly took the GMAT and switched her track from law school to business school. Even as her plans for graduate school changed, her passion for the entertainment industry never wavered.

“When I came into Owen, I was very clear that I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, and that I would do anything to get there,” she said.

I was very clear that I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, and that I would do anything to get there. -Leah Robinson

Preparing for the Next Step

Robinson was drawn to the valuation track at the MAcc program, which provided a mixture of accounting and finance that fit well with her undergraduate major in economics. The valuation track also allowed her to use many of the logical and analytical skills that originally made her interested her in law school.

“It’s a lot of hard facts, but you also have to make assumptions and think logically, which is kind of what drew me to law school in the first place,” she said.

The MAcc program also taught Robinson how to network with recruiters and prepare for interviews. Since Robinson hadn’t had a full-time internship before, the career coaching “completely changed” how she networked and interviewed.

“The draw of the MAcc program at Vanderbilt was the interview prep, the close personal relationships that you get with the Big 4 recruiters and the partners,” she said. “I don’t think any other program has anything like that. I made a completely informed decision about where I was going to do my internship and eventually work.”

Launching Her Career

Robinson secured her Mod III internship at Ernst & Young (EY) in the valuation department for the entertainment and media group. EY doesn’t usually have winter valuation interns, but Robinson had networked beforehand with an audit partner who thought she would be a great fit for the team. He helped her secure a winter internship in the valuation department, the only one that season.

“They didn’t treat me like an intern. I was full staff, doing work for not just staff ones and twos but seniors and managers. I learned so much,” she said.

Robinson’s hard work paid off: the internship led to a job offer, and she started full time in EY’s NYC offices after graduating in May 2016. She worked on a variety of clients, providing audit assistance and pure valuation work.

They didn’t treat me like an intern. I was full staff, doing work for…seniors and managers.

Moving to the Client Side

After nine months, Robinson began contemplating a move to the client side. She hadn’t planned to make the transition from EY so soon, but a great opportunity presented itself: a financial analyst role at Warner Music Group’s headquarters in NYC.

Understandably, Robinson was a bit hesitant about making the switch so soon. She reached out to fellow MAcc alumni who had the made the move from the Big 4 firms to the client side themselves.

“I talked to a few students who had made the move, or who wanted to make the move. Everyone (said) ‘it’s a good move, it’s a good path.’ That really helped me feel comfortable making the decision to move from EY to Warner,” she said.

Robinson accepted the financial analyst position and started this May. She said the Vanderbilt name and the MAcc program helped her secure the new job, despite being less than a year out of school.

“It usually requires three years of experience for this job, but (they hired me) because of my background, because of the Vanderbilt name and the MAcc name, and then I had that Big 4 experience, along with my CPA,” she said.

Valuation at an entertainment company wasn’t her original plan, but Robinson greatly enjoys her work and appreciates how the MAcc program launched her career — all thanks to a single email.

“I would suggest (the MAcc program) to anybody, especially people like me who didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to go to law school and I kind of stumbled across this program, and it really opened so many doors.”

It usually requires three years of experience for this job, but (they hired me)…because of the Vanderbilt name and the MAcc name.

The post MAcc Valuation Alum Hits the Right Note with a Career in Entertainment appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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We finally have proof that visionary founders make the worst CEOs [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: We finally have proof that visionary founders make the worst CEOs
The post We finally have proof that visionary founders make the worst CEOs appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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The $1 Million Hult Prize Challenge 2018 Kicks off at Vanderbilt [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 09:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: The $1 Million Hult Prize Challenge 2018 Kicks off at Vanderbilt
How do you harness the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people? That’s the challenge put to teams vying for $1 million in the Hult Prize competition, a global event that brings entrepreneurial-minded students together to solve some of the world’s most pressing societal problems through for-profit business.

Last Friday, Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management and the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) co-hosted a school-sponsored pitch competition at Vanderbilt’s Wond’ry, where graduate students from Vanderbilt Business, Education, Law, Engineering, and other programs competed for a spot in the Hult Regional Finals, held in January. As an officially recognized Hult Prize event, the Vanderbilt competition allows its winner to bypass the general application round.

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The evening kicked off with video highlights of each team

“There was so much room for creativity and the opportunity for participants to pursue something they are truly passionate about,” said Christiana Newcomb (MBA’18), the Hult@Vanderbilt Director and a member of the TFC’s Programming Board.

This year’s challenge asks student teams to build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025. It defines six dimensions “ripe for transformation through energy-powered innovation”: connectivity; mobility; farming/food/agriculture; water collection/storage/transport; health and the human experience; and education.

This marks the third year that Vanderbilt has hosted a Hult competition event and the second that the TFC has organized it. As an interdisciplinary resource for graduate students across campus, the TFC is uniquely positioned to attract bright minds from various fields and bring them together for the competition. Each of the 12 teams that competed on Friday represented at least two graduate programs.

Getting Ready

The TFC invested significant resources into helping teams develop and refine their concepts and pitches in the month leading up to the competition. “We focused on providing additional insight into the energy transformation topic and everything that could fall under this umbrella,” Newcomb explained.

Each team was assigned a mentor to offer feedback and guidance along the way, and the TFC hosted a panel on alternative energy featuring Vanderbilt Law professor Michael Vandenbergh and a former energy consultant for the Tennessee Department for Environment and Conservation. Vanderbilt Business professor Brian McCann led a pitch workshop to help students outline their content in a clear, efficient way – a must when teams were limited to seven minutes for presentations.

The Pitches

Friday’s pitches offered a wide variety of energy-related solutions, ranging from low-cost cookstoves to refrigeration networks, telehealth, surveying tools, and solar-powered internet cafes.

“Because we have students from multiple disciplines competing, it was interesting to see the different approaches they took to tackle this issue and the breadth of industries represented,” said Newcomb. Teams initially pitched in three groups of four, with one team from each group selected to pitch again in the final round. The panel of nine judges included representatives from Vanderbilt faculty, Google Fiber, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs. Judges measured pitches on scalability, impact, feasibility, disruptiveness, and alignment with the challenge.

The Final Round

The finalists addressed the energy challenge from different angles. Team Grounded transforms coffee by-products into livestock feed, reducing waste and creating a cost-effective alternative to corn and soy. FAM First proposed a mobile triage service that links families to health professionals during emergencies, saving hospitals energy and resources. SoLLago harnesses the cyclical energy ecosystems of lakes to provide power sources to underserved fishing communities in Africa.

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Team SoLLago

In the end, SoLLago earned first place and a spot in the regional finals. Three of the team members have been in this position before – Kayla Armgardt (MBA’18), Nat Robinson (MBA’07, Law’18), and Tori Samples (MBA’18) advanced to last year’s Regional Finals in Dubai. Their fourth teammate, Adam Cohen (MS Mechanical Engineering) has a patent pending on a new batter technology to be deployed in their solution.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Vanderbilt against this year at Hult,” said Robinson.

Team SoLLago will spend the next few months building the pilot. “We hope to compete in Africa this year so we can be close to our target market,” Robinson adds.

As the winners wait to learn which Regional Final they’ll be attending, the other teams still have an opportunity to make the Regionals through the general application round. It’s how the members of SoLLago advanced last year, and how some teams this year will keep their Hult dreams alive.

The post The $1 Million Hult Prize Challenge 2018 Kicks off at Vanderbilt appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Career Insider Follow-Up: Finance [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 12:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Career Insider Follow-Up: Finance
Continuing our Career Insider series, we return this week to Finance, specifically Investment Banking. Brook Meissner of the Career Management Center talked with Tripp Salem, who interned at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, about what it takes to succeed in a banking internship and how to make the most of your time, a skill of particular importance in the field.

Listen on iTunes here

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Capstone Project Spotlight: Bridgestone Americas [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 19:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Capstone Project Spotlight: Bridgestone Americas
For students in the Executive MBA Program, the capstone strategy project is one of several unique immersive chances to apply lessons from the classroom to challenges posed by real businesses.

The Client: Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire and rubber company, selling a range of rubber products and others used in a variety of everyday applications. The sponsor, Vibhav Veldore (EMBA’15), is Director, Agriculture and Off-the-Road Tires, in Bridgestone Latin American Tire Operations.

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Bridgestone project sponsor Vibhav Veldore (EMBA’15)

The Project: Before being approached by Vanderbilt, Veldore and Bridgestone were already planning to work on a distribution study involving several countries in Latin America. Specifically, they wanted to optimize their distribution model to serve customers better, and they wanted an outside perspective.

A five-person team of Executive MBA students (Erin Raccah, Jin Ping, Pamela Rodriguez, Austin Martin, and Ricardo Gimenez) were tasked with analyzing the company’s distribution model in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico and providing recommendations for improvement. “It was not hard to convince our management that this would be a good project,” Veldore recalled. “They are well aware of things Vanderbilt has done.”

The Analysis: After establishing a timeline, the team worked remotely and onsite to complete its analysis. Team members met with Veldore at least once a month, with those located outside the U.S. participating by phone. They visited Brazil and met with corporate leaders at Bridgestone facilities to get a close look at the model in action. The team’s research dug deep into Bridgestone’s practices and those of other comparable companies to benchmark best practices.

The Impact: At the end of the project, the team delivered a data-driven set of recommendations and solutions for some of Bridgestone’s systemic challenge. “The team’s work equaled outputs we would expect from premium consulting firms,” Veldore said. “They did a fabulous job. I received positive feedback directly from the president of the company!”

For a closer look at capstone projects and the Executive MBA program, please visit the EMBA program page.

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Bonus Career Insider — Private Wealth Management [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2017, 09:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: Bonus Career Insider — Private Wealth Management
We’re offering a bonus Career Insider episode this week, featuring Robb Scott (MBA’18), a former Division I baseball player and Wyoming outfitter who’s beginning a career in Private Wealth Management. CMC Director Brook Meissner talks with Robb before and after his summer internship at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Listen on iTunes here

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Around the World in Six International Business Clubs [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2017, 09:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: Around the World in Six International Business Clubs
Headed into the new academic year, the Japan Business Club (JBC) at Owen hoped to double its membership from 30 to 60 members. The goal was ambitious, but the organization had won the Impact Award — given to the best small affinity club on campus — the prior year, and members were confident the new awareness would boost their numbers.

By the end of the student organization fair in mid-August, the JBC had 80 members signed up.

“We had to bring down extra registration forms to get those names down,” recalled Tomo Nara (MBA’18), President of the JBC.

During the fair, students had opportunities to sign up for Owen’s other international business clubs as well: the Asian Business Association (ABA), the Global Business Association (GBA), Greater China Business Club (GCBC), the Indian Business Club (IBC), and the Latin Business Association (LBA). Many of the clubs focus on particular countries or regions, but they are open to all students regardless background.

“We have club members from all nationalities, which is awesome…we welcome any and all comers,” said Marita Lawler (MBA’18), President of the LBA.

Club Membership Demographics

Nara estimates that a quarter to a third of the JBC’s members are international students, although not all international business clubs are as heavy on domestic students. For both the JBC and other clubs, international members frequently hail from multiple countries, regardless of the club’s regional affinity.

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Members of the Indian Business Club celebrate Holi, the spring festival of colors

Abhinav Verma (MBA’18), President of the IBC, says his club members come from five or six different countries, and that students from 10 or more nationalities — including Americans, Canadians, Colombians, Chinese, Ethiopians, and Japanese — frequently attend IBC events.

“We don’t want the IBC to be full of just Indians, because then it essentially has no meaning,” he said. “It’s not just a one-way flow of that cultural knowledge, it’s both ways. We want to learn, and we want other people to learn about our culture as well.”

The club leaders believe this two-way exchange of cultural information benefits students of all backgrounds.

“Because we have a diverse membership, we are able to accomplish our mission, both helping Asian students to make the transition to the U.S. and helping students from another part of the world learn more about Asia,” said Hieu Tran (MBA’18), President of the ABA.

Why Students Join the Clubs

Whether they are international or domestic, many students join the clubs as a way to meet fellow students they wouldn’t otherwise.

“(We want) to create a more inclusive community in general, one where we’re more likely to build friendships and relationships outside of the people who are just like us with the same backgrounds,” said James Northcutt (MBA’18), President of the GBA.

“Since I’m an international student, most of my relationships are with international students, so I just wanted to spend more time this year with non-international students,” Nara explained.

As Tran mentioned, the international clubs play a key role in helping international students acclimate to life in the U.S. Weigang Deng (MBA’18), now president of the GCBC, turned to second-year club members for advice when he first moved to Nashville from Shenzhen, China.

“When I had questions, I went to them (the club members)…after a couple weeks, I (officially) joined the GCB club,” he said.

“I think clubs were critical part of my development, professionally and personally, especially adjusting to the U.S.,” Verma agreed.

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Dean Eric Johnson (middle) snaps a photo with members of the Greater China Business Club

Likewise, domestic students — particularly those interested in working abroad — turn to international students for insight about working in other countries.

“Your immediate job right after school may be doing business in the U.S., but at some point, you may be doing business with another country, or you may move overseas,” Lawler pointed out.

Club Events and Programming

Long before classes start, many MBA candidates get a taste of the international clubs during Welcome Weekend in April. The clubs serve food from around the globe and network with the incoming students.

“Our biggest event is the Global Food Fest in the spring, which is a way to showcase all of our different students’ cultural backgrounds and also show the prospective incoming students how many different cultures there are and how we all come together,” Northcutt explained.

The various clubs also join forces for International Day, a themed Closing Bell to be held on December 7 this year. Each club puts on a traditional performance and serves cuisine from various countries and regions.

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Students perform at last year’s International Closing Bell

Clubs also partner directly with each other for smaller events. The GBA and LBA partnered to coordinate a trip to Colombia over fall break, and last spring the IBC and ABA sponsored a Bollywood movie night, with Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indian food on the menu.

In keeping with their missions, the international clubs try to offer a balance of cultural and professional events. They host lunch-and-learns where outside experts speak about doing business in different countries and trying to find a job in the U.S.

Sometimes these lunch-and-learns are incorporated into larger events. The Greater China Business Club, the Japan Business Club, and the Latin Business Club each host an entire week of programming (both professional and cultural) themed around their countries. The recent Latin Week featured salsa lessons and a Latin trivia night, while China Week in the spring includes Mandarin lessons and a dumpling demonstration.

While it doesn’t sponsor a full week of programming, the Global Business Association does offer Bridges, an initiative that pairs international and domestic students so they can build personal relationships. More than 40 students are participating this year. The GBA also hosts an International Thanksgiving potluck; students bring side dishes from their home cultures, while the club provides turkey and vegetarian entrees.

For students who seriously want to learn more about international business, the club leaders urge them to get involved in as many of the clubs and events as possible. The presidents themselves live out this advice: most of them are members of at least a few different international clubs.

“Joining as many international clubs as possible is probably the best way (to learn about other cultures),” Nara said. “Joining those clubs can lead to building individual relationships with the students from that country of origin. Once you build that (relationship), you can get a deeper dive into that culture.”

To learn more about student clubs at Owen, visit our student life page.

For more about life as an international student at Vanderbilt, click here.

The post Around the World in Six International Business Clubs appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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A Time for Gratitude [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 09:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: A Time for Gratitude
Article by Patricia Wheeler, an executive coach in Vanderbilt Business’ Alumni LDP coaching network.

For those of you who grew up in American households, you likely engaged in the yearly ritual of Thanksgiving. This generally entails several days of shopping, cooking, visiting, stuffing yourself beyond capacity and, quite possibly, watching football. Oh, and there’s often a ritual where family and friends go around the table and name what they’re thankful for. In my experience, this is likely to be a small part of the festivities, done much of the time in a perfunctory manner and as a teaching tool to the children at the table about giving thanks.

But how often is this ritual of giving thanks revisited throughout the year and practiced with our families, our communities and our organizations?

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Executive Coach Patricia Wheeler

From my observation, not nearly enough.

Scientists have now found clear evidence that giving thanks, which I will here call “gratitude,” yields positive results for our health, relationships, and teams.

Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of the University of California Davis and the author of “Thanks,” is the leading researcher on the science of gratitude. He and other scientists found in a number of studies that acts of gratitude yield measurable positive results. In one study, individuals who were asked to consciously focus on expressing their gratitude to themselves and others over a period of weeks reported fewer health complaints, slept better and spent more time exercising.

Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania studied a group of university fund-raisers. Not surprisingly, they found that those employees whose managers thanked them for their contributions made 50% more fund-raising calls than employees who were not thanked.

Recently, I had the privilege of facilitating a team of leaders who needed to create more alignment across their business. The organization was under financial pressure, and each participant seemed more focused on the needs and goals of their domain rather than looking toward the greater organizational good.  They often failed to understand how their actions affected the domains of others; resentment and infighting had broken out.

I began the meeting with an exercise I learned from my colleague Tom Akins.  After we clarified the hoped-for results, I asked each participant to begin by expressing appreciation to someone in the room. After some initial squirming, one brave soul turned to a colleague and thanked him for always responding quickly to her requests. One continued by complimenting the kindness of another. Sharing became progressively easier; you could sense the room beginning to relax, and people began to smile. We were off to a good start.

This simple exercise in no way negated the difficult problems the team had to solve. However, these simple expressions of gratitude set the tone for listening and cooperation, rather than defensiveness and contention.

Here’s a simple exercise that you can do for five minutes each day to increase your gratitude muscle. Each night, think of three good things that happened during that day. They don’t have to be big ones. It may have been an accomplishment, a step forward, something positive that you notice about yourself or another, or even a small thing that you enjoyed. Write them down in a notebook; many do this before bedtime to create a stable time and place to solidify the ritual. That’s all! If you want to supercharge the exercise, take a moment to remember and savor one of those moments.

Sound too simple to be true? It isn’t. I’ve used it not only myself but with a number of my executive coaching clients. They’ve reported less stress and worry, more positive outlook even in challenging situations, better connection and collaboration with colleagues and more focus and execution on their most important results.

Is it worth five minutes a day to increase your positivity, resilience and perhaps your health? All this in less time than it takes to eat a second helping of that Thanksgiving turkey. So don’t let thankfulness and gratitude be a once-a-year ritual. Practice it daily — at least try it for six weeks. You’ll be glad you did.

Dr. Patricia Wheeler is Managing Partner of The Levin Group, a global leadership advisory firm. With more than 25 years of coaching and consulting experience, she works with leaders around the world who must innovate and deliver exceptional business results within an environment of rapid change and increasing complexity. She is a contributor to Best Practices in Organizational Development, the AMA Handbook of Leadership and Coaching For Leadership: Third Edition. She is the author of the FastForward Program, helping leaders gain maximum traction and success in new roles.  Click here to learn more about Patricia.

Patricia Wheeler and Marshall Goldsmith publish Leading News, a leadership resource featuring articles and podcasts.  Visit subscribe@LeadingNews.org to have issues delivered to your inbox.

Copyright 2017, Patricia Wheeler Ph.D.

About Alumni Leadership Development at Vanderbilt Business

The Leadership Development team at Owen provides a variety of development resources for alumni. Visit their website to learn more.

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Brand Week Highlights [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Brand Week Highlights
Brand Week is a three-day marketing immersion featuring real-world case projects from local companies. Participants include Master of Marketing and MBA students who work together on teams to develop strategies and marketing plans.



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MSF Alum Powers Up a Career in Renewable Energy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 09:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: MSF Alum Powers Up a Career in Renewable Energy
Ask Master of Science in Finance alum Robert Bray (MSF’15) how he got to where he is today, and he’ll probably use words like “non-traditional” and even “strange” to describe his educational and career paths.

“At first, I didn’t have any idea (my current job) existed when I was at Owen, much less did I think I would have anything do with this certain career path,” he confessed.

Bray works as a product manager at T-REX Group, a company that offers a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform with financial modeling tools for valuation, risk analysis, and structuring. The platform is specifically tailored to businesses working in the renewable energy sector.

Pursuing a Passion for Renewable Energy

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Robert Bray

Bray originally started down this career path because of his interest in renewable energy. Ever since high school, he has been passionate about the biggest problems the world is facing. “I saw moving towards cleaner sources of energy as one of those challenges,” he said.

He graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. in economics and began his career at a boutique consulting firm in New Orleans. While there, he worked on a small renewable energy project that involved a lot of financial challenges. The project helped Bray refine his professional ambitions.

“Once I started working on this project, I started realizing that the most interesting challenges — and the challenges that would have the biggest impact — were solving the financial complication around renewables, getting these projects to the point where they’re cheap enough and the economics look good enough that they can really be deployed at scale,” he said.

Bray did have a background in economics, but he decided that he needed more quantitative financial skills to supplement the theoretical knowledge he had gained during undergrad. “I don’t know if I opened up an Excel file until I graduated from college,” he said.

Searching for the Perfect Opportunity

Bray felt that he didn’t have enough work experience to pursue an MBA quite yet, so he began researching Master of Science in Finance programs. He did look at other schools besides Vanderbilt Business, but talking with coaches at the Career Management Center (CMC) narrowed his scope.

“It really came down to the Career Center and the conversations I was having with (Senior Associate Director Blake Gore), which just really put (Owen) miles head of any of the other programs I was even considering,” Bray said.

Even though Bray wasn’t pursuing jobs in investment banking or another traditional finance path, Gore worked with him to lay out a recruiting timeline and identify relevant opportunities. He also encouraged Bray not to accept a job that didn’t align with his interests in renewable energy finance.

“Through my work with Blake, his advice was, ‘while you should be open, you don’t have to settle for something if it’s not what you want to do,’” Bray said. “I had to tell a couple offers that I had that I wasn’t interested just because I wanted to hold on and wait and see what happened.”

Bray’s patience paid off when he found a job opening for T-REX on Vanderbilt’s online job posting portal. The startup billed itself as trying to solve the biggest problems in renewable energy finance, which immediately resonated with him.

“A light went off, because that was exactly what I was trying to get into,” he said. “For this specific role, I never would have found it without Owen.”

I never would have found (this job) without Owen. -Robert Bray

Pivoting Alongside the Startup

Bray interviewed with T-REX and accepted a job offer to become an associate in November 2014. When he interviewed with the company, the job description mostly involved working on investment deals within the renewable energy sector. By the time Bray started his job in May 2015, the company had pivoted to focus on building their financial modeling technology.

Bray’s initial work looked a lot like an associate’s job at a bank, even though his models were being incorporated into a technology platform instead of an investment deal. “For me,” he says, “all the modeling work that I was doing was ultimately going into a product that I was trying to build.”

As time went on, Bray began taking on more strategic work beyond model building, serving as a go-between for customers and the software engineers building the platform. He was promoted to product manager and now flies to Tel Aviv, Israel, every few weeks to consult directly with T-REX’s engineers.

Bray says he still refers back to the financial knowledge he gained at Owen, including modeling, accounting, and more. “My background from the MSF program is relevant, (because) at the end of the day, we’re selling a financial product. A lot of what I do requires financial analysis,” he said. “I’m in an Excel file basically every day…it would have been much more challenging to do that without the foundation that Owen gave (me.)”

Bray encourages fellow MSF students to keep an open mind as they job search and says that even if they’re looking to land in a niche industry like he did, degrees such as the MSF program can help set them on that path. He also advises them to look at the career trajectories of MBA students to see how people with finance backgrounds can end up in different roles.

“I had a type of industry I was trying to get into, and then trying to understand what roles might exist in that industry that are outside of just typical paths,” he said. “It is important to keep an open mind. Even if you want to get into something non-traditional, you can still get there even from routes that might be traditional at first.”

To learn about the Master of Science in Finance at Vanderbilt Business, visit our program page.

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The Center for Entrepreneurship Website Launches [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 14:02
FROM Owen Press Releases: The Center for Entrepreneurship Website Launches
The Center for Entrepreneurship at the Owen Graduate School of Management (C4E) has announced the launch of www.Vanderbiltc4e.com.

With program overviews, news, and an events calendar, the website is a one-stop shop for

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Center for Entrepreneurship Director Michael Bryant

prospective, students, and alumni to learn more about the C4E’s programming and connect with the entrepreneurial community in and around Vanderbilt.

“The goal of the website,” said Michael Bryant, Director of the C4E, “is to let everyone know about the great stuff we’re doing and that this is a great place to be an entrepreneur.”

Designed by Proof Branding, the website cleanly guides visitors through the C4E resources that give students the resources and structure needed to pursue their entrepreneurial goals. It also profiles successful entrepreneurial alumni and offers ways for alumni and friends of Vanderbilt to get involved and stay connected with the C4E.

Bryant plans to build out the site in the coming months with relevant entrepreneurial news and alumni profiles.

“This is our main method of communication,” Bryant adds. “There’s a little bit of recruiting, but then there’s also just news. It ties into the events and newsletter that we publish every week.”

Visit the new website by clicking here.

About the Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship at the Owen Graduate School of Management was created after the generous gift from Jack and Caroline Long (Both Owen ’83’s) in fall 2016. Its mission is to build and grow a productive entrepreneurial ecosystem conducive to creating new and innovative businesses. The Center accomplishes the mission through structured programs, financial support through grants and scholarships, and network connections through alumni networks in Nashville, throughout the US, and across the world. There are thousands of Vanderbilt and Owen alums in the startup and venture capital space looking to help and support current students and other alumni.

The post The Center for Entrepreneurship Website Launches appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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The Center for Entrepreneurship Website Launches   [#permalink] 28 Nov 2017, 14:02

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