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How Does Vanderbilt’s MBA Program Compare to Others?

Nov 15, 2021
Vanderbilt Associate Dean of MBA Operations, Sue Oldham, on how Vanderbilt’s MBA Program stands out from others

By Arial Starks

There are more than 1,000 MBA programs across the United States, so when considering a business school, it is important to find the things that make your desired program unique. We sat down with Sue Oldham, Associate Dean of MBA Operations at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, who explains a few of the ways Vanderbilt’s MBA program differs from others.

Vanderbilt Business offers a smaller program and more personable experience

Vanderbilt prides itself on offering students a world-class business education on a personal scale, meaning students are able to learn exceptional curriculum from world-renowned faculty members at an institution ranked among the Top-25 business schools in several major publications. Vanderbilt intentionally created an MBA program with smaller class sizes averaging around 175 students, so that students can truly feel a sense of community among their peers and build authentic connections with faculty members, creating a personable experience.

Who makes a good MBA student?

Sue Oldham

“You will know everybody in the classroom. I always say you can’t walk down the hallways of Vanderbilt without everyone knowing your name, including fellow students, faculty, and staff. That’s building a community right there,” said Sue Oldham. 

Oldham says the lifetime accessibility students and faculty have to alumni is a testament to how close-knit the community is. 

“Vanderbilt Business is only 50 years old, but when you reach out to an alum, they actually answer the phone. They’re not only going to answer, but it’s always ‘what can I do for you’. Again, that builds from that personal scale,” she said. 

Vanderbilt’s MBA program offers personalized career support through coaching 

From the time a student begins the admissions process until the day they graduate, they experience support tailored to their needs and to the place in their business education. Applicants work with recruiting coaches who help guide the student through the application and interview process. Current students have access to career coaches through the Career Management Center, and professional executive coaches through the Leadership Development Program, who help students work on leadership and other soft skills needed to thrive in the working world. 

“It’s hard to find a full-time MBA program that offers executive coaching to all of its full-time students. It’s very beneficial, because the coaches we have at Vanderbilt Business are people outside of your network who can give you unbiased feedback. It’s a great thing during your 2 years at Vanderbilt to work on leadership development in a safe space, in conjunction with the challenging curriculum,” said Oldham. 

 Vanderbilt’s MBA program consistently produces exceptional outcomes 

The Vanderbilt MBA program consistently sets students up for academic and career success. Students can expect to gain access to resources and opportunities that will lead to job promotions and opportunities to work with established, successful companies after graduating from the program. In 2021, 97% of Vanderbilt MBA graduates received job offers within 3 months of graduation and reported an average starting salary of more than $125,000. In less than 2 years, graduates have reported having earned more than they paid for their 2-year degree. Oldham says these statistics, along with consistently high rankings the Vanderbilt MBA program receives in areas such as best MBA programs, best professors and alumni, and most family-friendly MBA programs, are what continue to be proof of the ways Vanderbilt stands out from others.

“One of our rankings, from the Association of International Graduate Consultants (AIGAC), that we’re really proud of, is the number one school that got to know its students. Students said Vanderbilt really went beyond the call of duty to get to know them starting so early in the admissions process. Students are always impressed that they don’t just get the standard emails, but the fact that someone from our program, whether it’s a recruiting manager, admission fellow, or even a current student, someone picks up the phone and calls them, and that’s one of the many ways we are able to stand out,” said Oldham. 

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