Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Sarah (Sam) Steele, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Sarah (Sam) Steele

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

“Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning.” – Carol S. Dweck

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to sing in the shower; I’m just not that great at singing. Always a big fan of a Taylor Swift or Dolly Parton song!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, Biology B.S.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Seattle Children’s Hospital, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Coordinator II

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was able to interview in-person and was immediately captivated by the Owen community. During my interview day, everyone was so warm and welcoming. I spent the day immersed in student life, attending a business ethics class alongside current students, and asking them as many questions as I could about their program. I knew Owen’s small class size, collaborative environment, location, and strong healthcare program was the place for me.

At Owen, you are part of one of the most dynamic business environments in the country. What has made Nashville such a great place to live and learn for you? Owen’s healthcare program is one of the strongest, and being located in Nashville provides students a great opportunity to experience all aspects of the industry. I knew coming to business school that I wanted to stay in the healthcare industry. However, finding a school that could provide me a strong business foundation and build on my healthcare background was harder than I thought. Many schools flaunt healthcare programs, but when you actually dig through course catalogs, there are few healthcare courses available. Nashville is the healthcare industry capital. If you ever wanted to work in healthcare, have great food, enjoy live music, and receive a top business education, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, TN, is the place for you!

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? In addition to being collaborative, I think all of my classmates are resilient and risk-takers because we started our program in the middle of a pandemic. We had no idea how orientation and the first few months of school would turn out, but we have all risen to every challenge that has come our way. There have been many twists and turns to our MBA experience. It has been amazing to see everyone help each other through this difficult time. Group projects are a huge part of business school, and being virtual certainly adds a new factor to projects. However, everyone has been patient and willing to teach one another.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I created and implemented all parts of an influenza immunology study, including generating the study protocol, documents, and informational flyers. When the pandemic hit Washington, I adapted all of these documents from influenza research to COVID-19 research. From February to July 2020, I continued to adjust study documents and procedures as information about the virus evolved. As of July 2020, the COVID-19 study protocol has been awarded $1.6 million for pediatric COVID-19 research.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student thus far has been seeking out opportunities that I am not an expert on to continue growing and learning outside of the classroom. For example, I have joined the Turner’s Family Center for Social Ventures, which has an MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) team. I am excited to join this interdisciplinary team to gain hands-on education in impact investing and compete against other schools around the world.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After a few years of project management in infectious disease clinical research, I felt like I hit a plateau. I needed an MBA to learn the more technical side of business and to further develop my leadership skills. I also wanted to pivot functions within the healthcare industry and felt that an MBA would be the most effective way to do so.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? While researching COVID-19 and leading one of our team’s largest research projects, I became aware of the importance of prioritization and the importance of being able to work cross-functionally. I worked with many different hospital divisions and labs across the Greater Seattle Area on COVID-19 clinical research trials. In addition to overseeing action items and deadlines, it was valuable to work with different teams on diverse projects. As you can imagine, there are a lot of great opportunities that become available to you as an MBA student. Luckily, my prior experiences have prepared me to continuously toggle between classes, extracurricular activities and recruiting. With the amount of group projects in business school, being able to successfully work with others is so important. My classmates come from very different backgrounds, and the group projects are a great way to get to know them better.

DON’T MISS: Meet Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA Class Of 2022

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