Our Stories

Connecting with Community

Classmates help international student literally run farther.

Ania Sanchez
Director of Product Management, MentorHub

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

As an international student, being able to fit into—and benefit from—a new community was particularly important to Ani Sanchez. While she and her family were on a three-week road trip across the South, that feeling of community is what jumped out to her about Vanderbilt.

“What really caught my attention was the Owen community and how I immediately connected with it, my excitement about its personalized curriculum, and finding out this was the perfect place to invest in the next two years of my life,” Ani recalls. 

That feeling only deepened during her time in the program. In the classroom, she says, “Nobody has taught me more than my classmates. Every class, I learn from someone’s background and how one opportunity can have hundreds of outcomes. I always enjoy the interaction between classmates and professors during class and how that stimulates my ability to bring new solutions to the table. I’ve grown as a person both personally and professionally.”

Outside of the classroom, Owen traditions like the International Food Festival—which she describes as “a night when Closing Bell turns into a buffet of flavors and cuisines from all around the world”—exemplified the school’s closeness amid its diversity. “This year, over 50 international students were part of this celebration and showed their traditional food from home. We ate, we laughed, and most importantly, we learned from the international community at Owen.”

Ani also credits her classmates with helping push her to new personal achievements. After she began running with some of them, she says, “They inspired me to run longer distances.” By the end of her second fall in Nashville, she had run her first marathon with them.

“No matter where you go, the people you surround yourself with will play an important role in your success,” Ani says. “These past two years, the Owen community has inspired me to do more than what I think I can do. Some of my classmates know me so well that I don’t see myself celebrating my successes without them!”



Fun Fact: A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Ani loves soccer and enjoys going to the stadium to watch her favorite team, Rayados, whenever she’s back home.

Nobody has taught me more than my classmates. Every class, I learn from someone’s background and how one opportunity can have hundreds of outcomes.