Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Alex Jean, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Alex Jean

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

“I’m passionate about creating value in the world and will climb mountains to do so.”

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Fun Fact About Yourself: My 40 time is 4.40 seconds.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Tennessee, Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Brown-Forman (Woodford Reserve Distillery): Engineer – Warehousing and Whiskey Maturation

What has been your favorite part of Nashville so far? Why? Nashville is my hometown, but I haven’t lived here since I left for university in 2014. It has always been a charming, colorful city full of friendly people. Since then, Nashville has grown more vibrant and robust over the years as businesses and transplants settle in—most of my Nashville friends are from out of state. The city is still in the phase of rapid growth and increasing diversity. I think Nashville is a great fit for 20- and 30-year-olds in the growth phase in life who want to continue to grow, have fun, and make friends in a place where the city experience and the romanticism of its southern charm both thrive.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I loved the personal scale and approach of Owen when it comes to the curriculum. Personal access to expertise of professors and a teamwork-based curriculum creates a tremendous amount of value for Owen MBAs.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Vanderbilt Owen? I love our Closing Bell tradition. We have a happy hour each Thursday hosted by student club. A different club hosts each week. It’s a great way to get to know your classmates, and even professors, who occasionally attend. For example, Latin Business Association club hosted a fun Closing Bell featuring a mariachi band, Latin food, and awesome décor.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At Woodford Reserve, a premium bourbon distillery, I led efforts to optimize WR warehouse operations. I laid the operational foundation by establishing a data-driven maintenance and operational framework for the warehousing area. Setting the policy for operational framework of the site was the cherry on top. The research I conducted, relationships I built and leveraged, and execution of the project were rewarding experiences in themselves. As an engineer, optimization is the most satisfying accomplishment—it is what we work towards.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Winning the Investment Banking Case Competition has been, by far, my favorite accomplishment. Each year, the Finance Club and various alumni investment bankers host the Investment Banking Case competition. I’m grateful to have all the resources at Owen, including alumni involvement, that allow me to prepare and develop the tools and skills to be successful in my career. My favorite part about the case competition, even greater than the victory itself, was deepening the relationships and cultivating a greater sense of collegiality with my classmates.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I think all MBA students would benefit from reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel (Stanford JD and Venture Capitalist). Thiel proposes an extraordinary philosophical, yet practical, outlook on business, economics, and value creation. As future leaders, we should be more interested in the creating value than checking the management boxes. Zero to One offers a fascinating framework for how aspiring value creators can make an impact.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA program? Be genuine and true to yourself. Owen wants collegial, hardworking, and well-rounded students. Demonstrating those qualities is a sure way to woo the admissions team!


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