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Growing Beyond Her Business

Entrepreneur leverages experience and MBA to expand her impact

Allison Jutras Taylor
Senior Consultant, Bain & Company

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

As she contemplated business school, Allison Taylor thought of herself as “a burned-out entrepreneur.” While growing her family, she had successfully started and operated a bridesmaid dress business in Nashville. “But after years of being an entrepreneur,” she says, “I was really tired of learning from myself. I craved a transition to a role that was team oriented and focused more on the strategy side of business, rather than the day-to-day operations that come with owning a small business.”

At the same time, overseeing all aspects of a business piqued Allison’s interest in consulting, which she believed would give her “the opportunity to remain a generalist in tasks and to be exposed to complex business problems across a variety of industries.”

Pursuing an MBA was in the back of Allison’s mind for the entire decade she lived in Nashville. So when she was ready for that step, Vanderbilt was an easy choice. “The location, size, and people made it no question to stay here,” she says. “To me, Owen encompasses what I love about Nashville. It is collaborative and welcoming, and it is the perfect size.”

Perhaps her own entrepreneurial experience gave her an advantage, but Allison felt both proud and validated during her time at Owen when she won the Launching the Venture Pitch Competition in Professor Michael Burcham’s class. As part of the class, each student presents an idea for a new business. The class then votes on the top ideas, divides into teams, and spends eight weeks developing each idea for presentation to a group of actual investors. Allison’s idea was not only among those selected by her peers—it was the one chosen by the investors.

“Even after owning a business,” she says, “I learned important first steps to take to ensure your business is set up for scale from the ground up. This class energized me to one day return to entrepreneurship.”

Upon graduation, Allison achieved her goal of breaking into consulting. “This experience has transformed my career,” she says. “It has helped shape so much more than my analytical skills. It has allowed me to reflect on past experiences and future career goals while intertwining personal objectives to make better decisions over the course of my career.”

Fun Fact: Among the bridesmaids whom Allison dressed when she owned a wedding-related business were Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, and Jesse James Decker.

To me, Owen encompasses what I love about Nashville. It is collaborative and welcoming, and it is the perfect size.