Our Stories

Hitting a Home Run

Vanderbilt helps former baseballer up his game

Andrew Sterling
Senior Corporate Strategy Analyst, Smart USA Co

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

The sales job in financial services taught Andrew Sterling something: that he wanted something more. “I felt as though my career path was limited both in terms of new job opportunities and the scope of work I could do, if I stayed with the same firm,” he says. “In essence, I left to broaden my opportunities and my network.”

The search led him from the New York City area to Vanderbilt, and after visiting a class — and participating in the discussion — Andrew “knew it was an environment I wanted to be part of. It’s a highly ranked school with a great reputation,” he says. “I loved Nashville, and everyone I met was a genuinely nice person with whom I could relate. It all felt like a natural fit.”

Concentrating on Strategy and Finance, Andrew soaked up the opportunities in his new learning environment. “Because of my background (in sales),” he says, “I came in with many soft skills but pretty deficient in technical areas such as finance, operations and statistics. The classroom knowledge is hugely influential to building out a base for the rest of my career so that areas that were weaknesses turn into areas of strength.”

However, he quickly adds, “the most important things I have learned have come through working with classmates and chatting offline with professors. Working with peers on case competitions and presentations really taught me about my own strengths and weaknesses while giving glimpses into what I can do to keep progressing.” In addition, Andrew credits his coach in the Leadership Development Program with helping him “rethink the ways I approach work and professional relationships.”

For Andrew, whose first job after college was playing professional baseball for independent teams in Texas (such as the San Angelo Colts and Rio Grande Valley Whitewings, there’s a technical term from his sport for what he found at Vanderbilt. It’s called hitting a home run.

Fun Fact: Andrew can trace his family’s history 1,000 years back to the town of Stirling, just north of Edinburgh, Scotland.

“The most important things I have learned have come through working with classmates and chatting offline with professors.”