Meet Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA Class of 2019

Odelia Lao 

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Positive, resourceful, and collaborative bi-coastal nomad who is excited for my newest adventure in the South.

Hometown: San Francisco, CA, USA

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I once sat next to Jon Stewart and chatted with him throughout an entire Knicks game, but didn’t realize it was him until after the game because I was too busy cheering on Steph Curry and the Warriors. I even ate his popcorn!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Berkeley, Business Administration

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:  

New York & Company – Product Manager for Celebrity Collections (Eva Mendes & Gabrielle Union)

New York & Company – Associate Product Manager, Production Coordinator

KidsLine – Product Manager for Kitchen and Home

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment has been managing and launching the Eva Mendes apparel collection for New York & Company. It started off as a $10 million business and has now erupted to over $50 million in sales. This was an amazing experience because I worked with a very diverse and talented team to make the Eva Mendes Collection become the most profitable line in the company.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Though business schools look at multiple aspects of the application, try your best to get a GMAT score that is within the school’s range before applying. Share your essays with people who are close to you — they might remember something impressive that you have done that you don’t even remember doing!

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I love the small class size and the close-knit community. After going to a big undergraduate college, I realized that I learned more effectively and made a greater impact in smaller classes. When I visited Vanderbilt, I felt an instant connection with many of the students, professors, and faculty members. If these are the people I’m going to see for the next two years (and possibly more), then I want to make sure I get along with them!

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  After my first year of business school, I hope to obtain a marketing internship for a CPG firm, develop close friendships with my classmates, pass all my classes, and explore the many restaurants and activities that Nashville has to offer.

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