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Re-Branding His Career

Virginia Consultant Switches to Tennessee Whiskey

Bryan Smith
Manager of Olympic Marketing, Bridgestone

Vanderbilt MBA 2012

It all crystallized for Bryan Smith when a fellow student told him that “Owen is great because it gives you the tools to be successful anywhere.”

Bryan, who had worked in Richmond, VA, and Dallas, TX, as a government consultant, pursued an MBA because he wanted to become more knowledgeable in all of the functional areas of business, especially marketing and branding. He had been impressed with Owen’s culture and close-knit community. “Because of the class size of 180 or so, students could get to know all their classmates and really engage with the administration and faculty,” he says.

But for a career switcher like Bryan, who majored in Economics at the University of Virginia, his colleague’s assessment summarized what he now views as perhaps the greatest value of his Vanderbilt education. “If you want to get into a particular field and don’t have the previous background for it,” he says, “Owen will provide you with the education the tools and the network to succeed in that field if you work hard.”

It certainly worked for Bryan, the son of an airline pilot who has traveled in 45 different states (so far). After an internship at Mars Petcare, he landed a position in brand management for a brand that’s known around the world — Jack Daniel’s.

“I learned that who you choose to surround yourself with for two years matters,” he reflects. “And there is no better community of business school students than Owen.”