By Nathaniel Luce
Finding one’s place in a new community can be a stressful proposition, and returning to school for a graduate degree is no different. Schools that place an emphasis on inclusion can ease the transition for students of any background, but it can be hard to describe how that process happens and why it works.
Vanderbilt prides itself on a small, collaborative atmosphere that prioritizes team-based learning. Consuela Knox, Director of Admissions Operations and Diversity Recruiting Manager, sat down with a diverse group of first- and second-year MBA students to discuss how that atmosphere takes shape and brings people together.
Some key takeaways:
“Fitting in” is top of mind. Each panelist expressed apprehension about his or her place in a business school culture, for different reasons – minority status, transitioning from non-profit cultures or female-dominated industries, to name a few. They not only found people with similar backgrounds and interests, but also an open-mindedness amongst classmates from other backgrounds.
Navigating the “club scene.” The panelists took advantage of Vanderbilt’s numerous student organizations to build relationships and skills that improved their leadership abilities (and, for some, foreign language skills).
The advantages of an international perspective. Working across cultures – in the classroom, in clubs, and on international trips – helped each panelist strengthen their cultural awareness and build a greater understanding of how to work with different people, skills they can use throughout their careers.
April Hughes (MBA’19)
Marita Lawler (MBA’18)
Ben Rasmus (MBA’18)
Thayer Rosenberg (MBA’18)
Yang Zhang (MBA’19)