Meet Vanderbilt’s Owen MBA Class of 2017

Caroline Collins

Caroline Collins

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, MI

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, B.S. in Neuroscience

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

United States Senate (Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow) – Deputy Scheduler/Intern Coordinator

United States House of Representatives (Maryland District 8 Congressman Chris Van Hollen) – Director of Scheduling/Executive Assistant/Financial Administrator

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? My advice is to take the GMAT or GRE while the information you learned in school and your study habits are fresh. I planned to work for a few years before going to grad school, but took the test right after undergrad since the scores are valid for five years. Also, take as many practice tests as possible!

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Take the time to look into schools that are strong in your specific area(s) of interest, not just overall rankings. I would also suggest that you consider narrowing down your choices to cities in which you can see yourself living after business school. That way, you start building your network there from day one.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf?

  • Figure out your top choice and apply first round.
  • Stay focused and persevere through the applications! They can be tedious but it will get easier after the first two or three.
  • Do at least three trial interviews with a friend or mentor so that you are confident and relaxed going into an admissions interview.
  • Choose a recommender who can reference a specific story or experience where you performed exceptionally well so that it’s not a generic copy-and-paste recommendation.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was drawn to Vanderbilt’s class size, testimonials from students and alumni, and the Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) program. Apart from my research, my campus visit was a main deciding factor. I learned a lot about the resources available and school culture by talking to students and faculty in person and sitting in on classes. I worked on Capital Hill prior to business school, and I actually met students at Vanderbilt that had also worked on the Hill, which was surprising and extremely helpful to talk to people with similar backgrounds.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate I would like to perfect the arts of networking and public speaking and presenting.

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