A Day in the Life

Ilana French Robbins
Vanderbilt Accelerator®

As a rising senior pursuing a major in economics and a minor in corporate strategy, Ilana is already using the skills she learned through her Accelerator experience. A native of Westchester, New York, she loves living in Nashville and going to school at Vanderbilt.

Here's a glimpse into a typical day in her life while in the Accelerator program.


6:00 AM

Wake up and get ready for a fast-paced day. It’s never the same from one day to the next.

7:00 AM

Breakfast at Owen or Starbucks with my team members, where we review our progress on our consulting projects and prepare for presentations.

8:00 AM

On most days, we have class after breakfast. One day it might be creative advertising. Another might be managerial economics. On the “presentation days” —when groups present their ideas to a “client,” such as Nissan—we wait in the lobby to make our 10-minute pitch and then watch other groups.

9:30 AM

On days without presentations, our teams work on our projects until lunch. We usually have two projects running at once, which makes it feel like the real business world.

12:00 PM

Catered lunch at Owen. Depending on what our team needs to do, we often make it a working lunch.

Accelerator Summer Business Institute prepares students like Ilana French Robbins for a career in business.

1:00 PM

Faculty host different breakout sessions for professional development—like how to dress for a business environment, how to use Photoshop or interviewing skills. We can choose what interests us most.

2:45 PM

Today, we have a class in entrepreneurship with Professor Michael Burcham (the knowledge I get from the professors at Owen was amazing).

4:00 PM

Project time again. This morning, we worked on Surgical Care Associates. Now we switch gears to something completely different—Warner Music Nashville.

Vanderbilt’s summer business institute gives undergrads and recent grads real-world business experience.


6:00 PM

After dinner, our teams work on projects. For each client, our projects involve evaluating the 3 C’s—the company, customers and competitors—and developing the “big idea” for the business challenge they’ve given us.

8:00 PM

Maybe one night out of six, we’re done for the evening when the building at Owen closes. Not tonight, though!