By Eigen Escario
The Vanderbilt Master of Marketing (MMark) is a 10-month graduate degree that prepares students with valuable technical skills for marketing and enriching networking experiences to thrive in the workplace in any industry. Rachel Brenk (MMark ‘24) reveals that the diverse and dynamic lifestyle of an MMark student can be simultaneously filled with enriching obligations and enjoyable pastimes.
6:30 AM | Early-Morning Workout
Brenk starts the day off by getting her heart pumping right out of bed.
“I love to work out, so I typically wake up early and use the gym at my apartment or go for a run around the McCabe Golf Course loop,” Brenk said. “It’s good for shorter runs since I figured out certain loops are about 2.8 miles, and I also love running at Warner Park by Belle Meade. I’m currently in the process of training for a half marathon, which is scary, but very exciting!”
7:30 AM | The Daily Bread
After running through Nashville’s urban scenes, Brenk comes back to her apartment to get ready for the day by getting coffee and breakfast.
“Breakfast and coffee are always essential to wake me up,” Brenk said. “My apartment has a coffee shop downstairs, 8th & Roast, which is always tempting in the mornings. I typically eat the same breakfast every morning—a protein smoothie with some frozen fruit and almond butter.”
Faith is very important to Brenk, so she believes in setting a positive tone for the day through journaling and reading her Bible.
“I normally read my Bible in the morning and journal to get in a good headspace before I check my phone or open up emails,” Brenk said. “My mornings are my favorite part of the day because it helps me relax before opening my phone to any busyness or kind of chaos that the world throws at me that day.”
9:30 AM | Ambassador Tour
Brenk is usually on campus around 9:30 AM. She shares her fulfilling experience as a student ambassador for the Vanderbilt Master of Marketing program, which allows her to meet and guide prospective students.
“Since I have class at 9:45 AM, we’ll normally have visitors come by 9:30 AM so we can help them get settled in. Then, we give them lunch and a tour of the building, as well as help them meet with our academic directors,” Brenk said. “I love hearing about their lives and helping them find the best-fit master’s program. Also, getting to know people and share my passion is such a blessing.”
9:45 AM | Consumer Behavior with Dr. Kelly Haws
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Brenk has a Consumer Behavior class taught by Kelly Haws, Anne Marie and Thomas B Walker Chair, Professor of Marketing.
“Professor Haws is a consumer behavior specialist in the food industry, so she talks about different experiments she’s conducted on food and pleasure,” Brenk said. “Naturally, I normally leave that class pretty hungry!”
Brenk is currently working towards an immersive project in the class that synthesizes everything she learns about marketing experimentation and consumer research.
“We have been narrowing in on experimentation in marketing and how that can impact consumer’s responses through persuasion, categorization, A/B testing, etc,” Brenk said. “Our final project is where we get to apply all of these concepts and craft an experiment of our own to test new hypotheses where my team is focusing on the impact of visual cues in online shopping behaviors.”
11:30 AM | Quantitative Methods with Dr. Anthony Salerno
After Consumer Behavior, Brenk goes on to Quantitative Methods with Anthony Salerno, Associate Professor of Marketing, to gain valuable analytical skills.
“Dr. Salerno has been giving us an in-depth discussion on Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), a statistics software, and how to best tell a story with the data once we have collected it,” Brenk said. “We have gotten to sharpen these skills through case studies, group discussion, and through our final project where we will be running a survey and analyzing a dimension of that company.”
1:00 PM | Lunch with Friends
After her morning classes, Brenk uses her downtime for lunch.
“I love trying to make food at home, every once in a while, but sometimes, I’ll go to Panera across the street from Vanderbilt or the Greenery Co. nearby,” Brenk said. “I also recently discovered Proper Bagel, and they have some really good food there too.”
3:00 PM | Meeting with a Career Coach
The Career Management Center offers professional development support for students with one-on-one career coaching, and Brenk takes advantage of this resource by meeting periodically with her career coach.
“Zeke Arteaga is our professional development coach, so I will schedule meetings with him to help me with resume building or interview preparation,” Brenk said. “He is our biggest supporter, and we’re lucky to have him since he ultimately cares about us as people rather than results or outcomes.”
4:15 PM | Developing a Marketing Plan with Dr. Jonathan Peterson
On Thursday afternoons, Brenk engages in Dr. Peterson’s Developing a Marketing Plan class, where she delves into strategic and ethical frameworks for consumer marketing.
“Dr. Peterson has been rewriting our approach to marketing and sharing what it means to use marketing as a means to telling a good story,” Brenk said. “ He reframes the approach and makes the consumers the heroes of our stories and companies as a guide to help the consumer reach their end goal or aspirational identity.”
7:00 PM | Connecting with Friends
Brenk talks about finding a community of faith in Nashville as an enriching aspect of living in the city, both outside and within the Owen community.
“On Monday evenings, I typically meet for Bible study with people from my church, Midtown Fellowship, which is a nice way to start my week,” Brenk said. “Owen also has a Christian book club that meets every Tuesday, which is really sweet too. ”
Towards the latter half of the week, Brenk takes the opportunity to grab meals or reconnect with people she hasn’t touched base with in a while.
“I try to get dinner with someone that I maybe haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes, I just hang out with my neighbor since we’re super close and check in with each other to catch up on our week,” Brenk said. “I’m also a huge foodie, so trying new restaurants is always fun! I recently had Lady Bird Tacos, which I highly recommend, but if you’re more of a dumpling person, Dumpling House in Hillsboro is great too!”
To learn more about the Vanderbilt Master of Marketing student experience, outcomes, and career paths, click here.