Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Sam Turner, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Sam Turner

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

“I am a veteran, mom, and aspiring healthcare management professional looking to make a difference.”

Hometown: Johnson City, TN

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love reading World War II historical fiction.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy, Sociology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army, Staff Intelligence Officer and Counterintelligence Special Agent

What has been your favorite part of Nashville so far? Why? My favorite part of Nashville is the natural beauty of our campus. I love seeing all the fall colors while walking to class.

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? Owen appealed to me because it is highly ranked for being family-friendly. This was important to me because I am attending business school with my husband, and we have two toddlers here with us. We’re consistently amazed by how supportive the school is for young families.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Vanderbilt Owen? I am really enjoying my Healthcare Delivery Organizations class. It’s my first course in the healthcare concentration and has only inspired me to learn more about this important industry.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment of my career was leading soldiers in Afghanistan. Insider threat prevention is a difficult job, but our contribution to keeping servicemembers safe in a complex operating environment is one that I will never forget.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far is learning how to network. Coming from the military, this was not something that I was familiar with. I’ve enjoyed building relationships with people and learning from those around me.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I highly recommend prospective MBAs watch the TEDx Talk, “5 Steps to Designing the Life You Want” by Bill Burnett. It was recommended to me by my Executive Coach (from the Owen LDP program), and I found it very insightful. Burnett explains that it’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life. Most people don’t. It is important to look for opportunities to “prototype” your life until you figure it out. For example, if you’re considering a certain school, accompany a student for a tour before committing. Interested in consulting? Try a class. I found this very valuable as I transition from the military.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA program? Be authentic in your interviews and essays, and don’t be afraid to share what makes you unique. I am amazed by my classmates, and the diversity of thought truly enriches our classroom discussions. If you are aspiring to join, believe in yourself and go for it.


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