“Started my first NHL season with Hockey for Dummies; ended as Manager of the Year.”
Hometown: Wall Township, New Jersey USA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have hiked hundreds of miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago (English: The Way of St. James)
Undergraduate School and Major: Vanderbilt University, majoring in Spanish
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nashville Predators Hockey Club, Marketing Activations Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Reshaping the image and reach of the Nashville Predators’ grassroots marketing efforts. Helping to grow the understanding and appreciation of the sport in a nontraditional market.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Engaging – there has been a pervasive and genuine interest in exchanging stories, backgrounds, and goals.
Aside from your classmates, 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? The camaraderie of Vanderbilt and the program size influenced my decision. Regardless of which graduate school I attended, I knew I wanted to be a name, not just a number. I gravitated towards smaller programs that both the local community and alumni noticeably took pride in. This was important to me, because as a future alum seeking new opportunities, I will not only be leveraging the knowledge gained from the curriculum, but also the brand and reputation of the institution.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am excited to get involved with the innovative Project Pyramid course and the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic nature of my most recent role, I could see the end of the line, where my potential for growth would level out and plateau for the foreseeable future. As my role had evolved, I had also come to recognize the gaps in my business knowledge. I decided this would be an ideal time to return to school to augment my professional skills.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The versatility of the degree solidified my decision, but it was not one I made lightly. I will be financing my education through loans, and acquiring debt of that size is incredibly intimidating. But it is a calculated investment in my own potential and one I will hold myself accountable to living up to. I feel it will be worth the investment, because the potential to leverage an MBA is limitless since the curriculum and experience are applicable across a myriad of job functions and industries.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? None—I actually applied to several law schools. I had convinced myself that law school was my next step. Despite offers of admission and even scholarships, I could not seem to get excited about it. So, I continued to explore different avenues, and the Vanderbilt MBA kept coming up on my radar. After information sessions with the admissions team and additional homework, I realized that Owen was where I was meant to be.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? To get a feel for the culture at the programs I considered, I took full advantage of all the campus visits, shadowing of current students, and opportunities to meet alumni. LinkedIn proved to be a great resource to find connections with current or former students, and I followed the schools, programs, and student ambassadors on social media to see what activities and events they supported. Alumni engagement was also a priority in my research. I wanted to be a part of something that people enjoyed and valued long term. After graduation, when the loan payments hit hardest, the hours at the office are long, and no one from the institution is looking over your shoulder–did alumni still find time to demonstrate support or interest in their school? To me, that demonstrated the true staying power of the brand and the program.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Getting my (undergraduate) Vanderbilt University letter in the mail at my parents’ house. I was too nervous to open it and too excited to realize it already read “Congrats” on the outside of the envelope. I made my mother open it for me on our porch and anxiously held my breath with each word until I could process that I had been accepted. My time as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt afforded me some of my most significant friendships and professional opportunities.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I plan on working full time in a Marketing or Brand Management role.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself living back on the East Coast, working to promote and bolster a brand that I am passionate about. Hopefully, I have made a large dent in paying back my student loans and found a place with a backyard for my dog.