By Jong Eun Jung
As the summer heat hits Nashville, many Vanderbilt students leave campus for other opportunities. Some embark on an international trip, while others go home or try out a new city. However, some students chose to spend part of their summer at Vanderbilt by participating in the Accelerator®—Summer Business Immersion, a month-long program where students complete four consulting projects for real-life companies. Below, Andres Gonzales (BS’2020 in Economics), Sophie Price (BS’2021 in Political Science), and Sunnie Qu (BS’2022 in Economics and Mathematics) explain why they chose to come back to campus and attend Accelerator.
Why did you choose to apply to Accelerator?
Price: “I knew I wanted to do something business-specific this summer, and I liked the idea that it was four mini internships in a month, because this still allows me the flexibility to go home and do another internship after this and have kind of a summer. The accelerated nature of it was very appealing.”
Gonzales: “It’s a unique opportunity to really experience what it would be like to be a consultant or to have that mindset for four weeks straight and then kind of help me decide whether or not I actually wanted to pursue this career.”
Qu: “I just want to gain more experience working as a team… In school, we mostly work alone (as we) do our homework and projects. So this is a very valuable experience where I can meet different people, (and) they all have different perspectives and experiences. And I think it’s really amazing to just talk to them and make friends and… work together for a common goal.”
Why did you choose to stay at Vanderbilt?
Price: “I want to spend time in Nashville after I graduate. So doing Accelerator was a nice way to get a Nashville base and a Nashville network, because Accelerator definitely connects you with a lot of people at Vandy and in the Nashville community who can be a step into the doorway to have a future here.”
How was your experience with this program?
Price: “It’s made me develop a lot as a business person and also as an individual. I think this specific task of working in teams with high-achieving students really creates a shift in a person, where you realize what’s important in meeting deadlines, what’s important about deliverables and getting things done. And you also realize what’s important about me and what I bring to a team and how can I develop that skill here and make sure that that’s the forefront what I’m doing.”
Gonzales: “It’s a unique situation where you actually get so many different perspectives of students from so many different colleges. And you get this kind of mix of all of their past experiences and all (of) their great attributes. So you can learn from one another, and you can also build off one another.”
Qu: “I’m an international student. I (felt) like there were probably going to be a lot of difficulties in communication (and) adjusting to the culture. But I think my teammates really helped me with that. They really understand me and also give me a chance to speak out my voice. And we became really good friends. And this really surprised me because (the program) is really short… but we became really close to each other. So there’s so much support that my teammates gave to me and I really appreciate that.”
What stood out to you about this program?
Gonzales: “I don’t think many internships give you the opportunity to touch so many different fields. So every week, you get to choose a new position. So you’re dealing with finance one week or you’re a team leader in another, whereas in most internships, you’re in finance for 10 weeks. And, if you’re lucky, you get to present one project to the company, as opposed to here where every week you’re presenting a new project. And so you get feedback at the end of every week. And so you get the opportunity to improve three times over rather than just once in the combination of an internship or other program.”