By Arial Starks
After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University in 2008, Ross Johnson began his career in Grand Junction, Ohio, working in the oil and gas industry. For a little more than a decade, he operated in technical project management and consulting roles for oil and gas producers.
“While I liked being in front of clients and working with different people to help solve their problems, I was solving the same problems over and over again and I needed a little more variety and exposure,” said Johnson.
He had a strong background in operations and logistics but was interested in expanding his skillset to finance. He decided to pursue an MBA at his alma mater in the fall of 2021, exploring all 3 of his interests as concentrations within the program.
“I just felt like Owen believed in me the most and saw the potential that I saw in myself. That and the school’s location in the southeast was what really made my decision to come back,” Johnson said.
During his first year in the Vanderbilt Business MBA program, Johnson landed a 10-week internship with Genuine Parts Company (GPC) in Atlanta, Georgia. He leveraged the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club’s (OSCC) case interview prep as well as coaching sessions with the Career Management Center to help prepare him for interacting with firms during the recruiting process.
“Courtney Fain played a huge role in my recruiting for my internship, as well as recruiting for my full-time job,” said Johnson. “The support I received from her was incredible. She was like a guiding light throughout the entire process for me.”
After several info sessions and 1-on-1 coffee chats with GPC partners and the VP of Strategy, Johnson interviewed with the company and was offered a Strategic Business Transformation Internship.
“My biggest takeaway from that internship was how to really tell a story, whether it’s through a presentation or a verbal discussion,” said Johnson. “I got to gather all of this data, simplify it down to a single document or statement, and present it in a way that made sense to the audience. Those are skills I feel will be really important to my career going forward,” he added.
During his second year in the MBA program, Johnson re-recruited for firms in Nashville after his wife took a job in the area. Recruiting began in August, and he had landed a role with Alvarez & Marsal by the end of October. Johnson met a partner with the firm at an OSCC event around September and leveraged that connection to land an interview on October 24, 2022.
Alvarez and Marsal extended Johnson a return offer for a full-time Manager role in the automotive and industrial department, and he accepted the offer on October 26, 2022.
“I am really looking forward to coming into a smaller group that’s growing rapidly so I have an opportunity to make a real impact on both Alvarez & Marsal and their clients,” Johnson shared. “I’m excited to get in on the shop floor and help automotive and industrial clients run more efficiently and solve their most pressing challenges.”
Click through the timeline below to see a visual of how Ross Johnson got the job.