Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Olivier Kanicki, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Olivier Kanicki

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have never eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (and no I am not allergic!).

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan Ann Arbor, BA Communications

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Hitachi Solutions, Senior Change Consultant (Team Lead)

What has been your favorite part of Nashville so far? Why? As an avid runner from Chicago, I was spoiled with stellar running routes along Lake Michigan. So naturally, I was nervous about moving to Nashville, unsure of the running trails and city layout. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Nashville is packed with greenways and plenty of running options. One of my favorite early morning running routes is right down Broadway by the Honky Tonks. Nashville’s mild winter weather also makes training for my next race that much easier. Earlier this year, I ran the Nashville Half Marathon and look forward to the full Marathon next year.

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? When applying to business schools, I was looking for a program with a strong pipeline into corporate HR roles. One unique aspect at Owen is that we have an entire specialization focused on HR. Through the Human & Organizational Performance (HOP) concentration, I was able to build foundational skills in HR that I will apply to my summer internship at Amazon Web Services in their HR Leadership Development Program.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Vanderbilt Owen? Two words: Core Marketing. Professor Goldsmith has been my favorite professor at Owen so far. The content delivery is top notch, and she has a high level of engagement with her students.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Being a queer person in business, one of my passions is diversity, equity, and inclusion. At my last organization I had the opportunity to launch and set strategy for our companies first employee resource group (ERG) for LGBTQ+ employees. There is a lack of queer representation in many corporations, and this is the primary career drive.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? One of the primary reasons I came to business school was to develop as a leader with a high level of corporate social responsibility. Recently I was admitted to the Owen Board Fellow’s Cohort of 2024. This program matches MBA students with nonprofit organizations where we will serve as a non-voting member and work on a project. While I still am unaware which nonprofit Owen Board Fellow’s leadership will match me with, I am excited to learn more about board governance and have an impact in the Nashville community.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? You read, watch, and listen to so many business-related things during the core, so I will do something more fun. I am a huge fan of docuseries and documentaries. Recently I have been binging Explained on Netflix. Each episode they pick a topic, spend about 30 minutes discussing it, and bring in experts. It is perfect for study breaks

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA program? It sounds cliché, but just be yourself throughout the interview process. Business school is one of the few opportunities to try new things, make a few mistakes, and build strong connections. Go into the process with an open mind, and the rest will fall into place.


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