Participant Profile: Anthony Simmons II on “Putting It to Paper”

9 November, 2022

How an employee with 2 decades of experience gained momentum from just one year of management education.

Anthony Simmons II started at Publix Super Markets when he was just 16, working as a front service clerk. Twenty years later, he is an assistant store manager for the company in Florida. In addition to his full-time role, he also serves as a consultant and mentor to young business owners.

Anthony has a strong business background and a job that he enjoys, but he wanted to go a step further.

“I’m happy at my company and have been steadily advancing,” he explained. “But because I don’t have an undergraduate degree, I felt like I didn’t have an official credential on my resume.”

“I wanted to put to paper what I’ve been accomplishing all these years.”

Anthony started researching business education that would underscore his existing experience. He wanted a program that would harmonize with his working life, not make it more difficult. That’s why a business certificate was the perfect match for his own career goals.

“It didn’t make sense to go get a 4-year degree when I’m already in a great role at the company I’m at.” Anthony said.

A Strong Reputation and Great Reviews

Anthony decided on the Owen Graduate School of Management thanks to the reputation of Vanderbilt University and the chance to complete a quality, AACSB-accredited program without paying too much.

“I know that Vanderbilt is one of the top schools in the country—the fact that it is an accredited school was important when I reached out to my company to help pay for the program,” he said.

Flexible Coursework Is a Must When You’re Working Full-Time

The online, asynchronous setup was an ideal format for someone with a busy work schedule. “Not having to go to campus or make it to class at an exact time was a relief when I’m working full-time,” Simmons said. “I was able to work on my classes on my days off or when I got home from work. For instance, I’m normally off on Thursdays. So I would take the first 2 or 3 hours of my day and just focus on the certificate”

Anthony said that it wasn’t just the day-to-day flexibility that appealed to him, but also that he could adjust the time commitment based on the seasonal demands of his job.

“In our industry, we have certain times that are peak seasons, so trying to balance both work and school during those periods wouldn’t be possible,” he said. “I liked that we had the ability to self-manage. Since I could move at my own pace, I never felt like I was falling behind. I was still able to complete the certificate in under a year.”

“It’s Worth It.”

Earning a business management certificate from the Owen Graduate School of Management did more than add to Anthony’s resume. He also built his communication skills while also getting a refreshed outlook on the business world. “When you’re at a company for 20 years, you kind of bleed that company. So, getting a different perspective definitely helps.”

His advice for anyone wondering whether to go back to school: “You should always be self-reflecting and making improvements. Take the time and add these skills to your toolkit. It’s worth it.”


To learn more about the Vanderbilt Business Management Certificate, contact a career advisor at 844-825-9663 or fill out the form below to download a free brochure.

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