Our Stories

Taking a Leap without Going Far

Vanderbilt Becomes VanVliet’s Vector to New Career

Alex VanVliet
Senior Marketing Manager, Doritos Brand

Vanderbilt MBA 2015

For Alex VanVliet, the best place to make a big career leap turned out to be just a stone’s throw away.

After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Finance and Economics, Alex worked four years as a technology analyst and consultant for Deloitte. Then, after joining Education Pioneers — an organization dedicated to identifying and training new leaders in public education — he moved to Nashville, where the group was working on data-centered projects for the Tennessee Department of Education. His office was barely a mile from the Vanderbilt campus.

The big leap: Alex realized that his long-term interests were in marketing and brand management, not consulting. He chose the Vanderbilt MBA to help get him there.

“Already living in (and loving) Nashville certainly made the decision easier,” the St. Louis native says. “I reached out to current and former students. The responses I received about the program were outstanding and solidified Owen’s position in my mind. After visiting, I knew this is a place I could spend two years, meet a lot of great people and accomplish my career goals.”

Looking back, Alex truly enjoyed his experience here. “Owen has provided me all the opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills to succeed in any future role,” he says, “but it’s the community here that makes the difference to me. It has been great getting to know so many terrific people who challenge you in the classroom while also forming great friendships outside.”

To be a major asset to a startup, I wanted to build on the skills I had learned and become more confident in my own entrepreneurial abilities.