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Networking for Success

CMC points Hawkins toward his dream job

Brian Hawkins
Senior Consultant, Ernst & Young, Atlanta

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

In two years, Brian Hawkins went from managing quality assurance programs for nearly 40 GE suppliers to the customer-facing role he wanted—as a consultant for EY. He got there via Vanderbilt.

The people he met at Owen were the biggest influence on his decision to attend. “Everybody made me feel wanted,” he says. “Even when I made an impromptu visit, they accommodated me. Not all of the other schools did that.”

Brian was even more impressed with the people after he arrived. He describes having access to distinguished professors as a highlight of his MBA experience. “They are always available and willing to help,” he says. “I’m sure this is not the case at other top business programs.”

The entire Vanderbilt team, in fact, contributed to his success. “They have helped me when I’ve struggled with schoolwork, gave me great advice during the recruiting process, and have always been helpful when I’ve needed assistance.”

In particular, Brian cites the help he received from Emily Anderson, director of the Career Management Center. “Emily was there to give me pep talks and advise me on companies and alums I should contact,” he says. “Without her, I would never have known to reach out to an alum at EY and never would have started building the relationship with the firm. She told me I would be a great candidate for them and gave me two names to contact. After that, the rest is history.”

Now, Brian says, he not only has a new career trajectory but an entirely new perspective. “I see business differently from when I first came to Vanderbilt,” he says. “I understand better how to make decisions effectively and how to network effectively. I also understand the value of having a diverse set of friends and forcing myself to try new experiences.”

Fun Fact: Brian has played golf with a U.S. president (George H.W. Bush).

I see business differently from when I first came to Vanderbilt.