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Nashville Superspeedway: 2023 Accelerator® Summer Business Immersion

2023 Accelerator® Summer Business Immersion participants kicked off the summer revving up fanbase expansion with hands-on experience working with the renowned local racetrack

By Lacie Blankenship

Each year, Accelerator® Summer Business Immersion at Vanderbilt Business collaborates with high-profile brands to give students an experience comparable to multiple internships. This year was no different, with NissanDollar General, and Nashville Superspeedway as project partners

What is Accelerator Summer Business Immersion?

Pictured: 2023 Accelerator students are sitting at a table working together on the Nashville Superspeedway project. The students are sitting at an outdoor table at Vanderbilt Business' Management Hall.Accelerator Summer Business Immersion is a career preparation summer certificate program offered at Vanderbilt Business for undergraduate college students and recent graduates. The program allows students to gain real-world consulting experience through group projects. 

Over 3 weeks, students work with 3 organizations to solve a business challenge the respective companies present. The program begins with clients presenting a project brief for participants to research and develop deliverables. Participants receive feedback and guidance from project coaches throughout the program before presenting their original solutions to the clients. The program concludes with the clients selecting a winning team and implementing their ideas and strategies. 

“I loved participating in Accelerator because it gave me an opportunity to learn and immerse myself in real-life business in a way that I’ve never been able to do before,” says Julia Reiss (BA’25). 

2023 Accelerator Client: Nashville Superspeedway 

During the first week of the 2023 presentations, the students worked with Nashville Superspeedway, a motor racing complex based in Gladeville, Tennessee. The primary objective of the Nashville Superspeedway project was for students to focus on the desired expansion of the racetrack’s fanbase. Students were tasked with developing strategies to attract audiences outside of the existing supporters, predominantly 45-65-year-old males. Students were also encouraged to be mindful of Nashville Superspeedway’s desire to foster stronger bonds between the racing landmark and the Metro Nashville area. 

When announcing Nashville Superspeedway as a 2023 Accelerator project partner, Cherrie Wilkerson, Associate Dean for Young Professional Programs and Faculty Director of Accelerator, noted the excitement of collaborating with a brand rooted in a vital industry.

Pictured: Students were able to pose with the racecar that Nashville Superspeedway brought to campus. This image shows a student taking a photo of another student in front of the car that is parked outside of Vanderbilt Business.

“Sports and entertainment are hallmarks for Nashville, and this partnership allows our students to work hard to bring results for both the Superspeedway and regional fans,” she said.  

Nashville Superspeedway Presentations

The winning team proposed that Nashville Superspeedway collaborate with local high schools to invite marching bands for weekend races. The students noted that having various high school marching bands perform would attract the band members, their families and friends, and each school’s local network. This idea really tapped into the desire for Nashville Superspeedway to connect locally. Other ideas included connecting Broadway to the raceway by strategically parking racecars on Broadway and adding different experiences connecting Nashville’s music scene with the racing scene.

“I believe Accelerator has altered the trajectory of my career because I have learned so much,” says Lainey Garside (BS’25), who was on the winning team for the Nashville Superspeedway project. “The connections I have made will last a lifetime, and the lessons I learned from the guest speakers and professors will stick with me for the rest of my career.”

In addition to bringing a racecar to campus during the program’s first week, Nashville Superspeedway kindly invited Accelerator students to attend a race during the tripleheader weekend at the end of June. 

“I have always found that going all in is the best way to learn from the beginning,” says Alexandra Wagner (BS’24). “Being thrown into something that may appear overwhelming initially makes you think quickly and learn fast. That is the model of the Accelerator Program at Vanderbilt Business.”  

The next deadline for 2024 Accelerator Summer Business Immersion is February 23. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college and be currently enrolled as undergraduate students or within 2 years of graduation. 

Ready to secure your seat in the 2024 Accelerator Summer Business Immersion?

Learn more about upcoming deadlines and admissions criteria.


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