Our Stories

Broadening Her Perspective

At Vanderbilt, Haydon finds many paths to HOP goals

Caitlin Haydon
Manager, Deloitte

Vanderbilt MBA 2015

As she describes it, Caitlin (Herrick) Haydon "fell" into an HR position with a 40-person, online marketing agency in Montreal after graduating from McGill University. She was the company's first HR hire, charged with designing, building and managing an HR department that would support the organization's growth. "This," says the Connecticut native, "was a daunting task for a 21-year-old with no prior HR knowledge."

The invaluable experience Caitlin gained helped her develop a "passion for tackling the people challenges that often sidetrack an organization's pursuit of its goals." It also helped her recognize that, to articulate her ideas and execute her plans effectively, she needed to improve her overall business knowledge.

Even before orientation at Vanderbilt, Caitlin was in contact with Sandy Kinnett, her Career Management Center coach. "I knew that HOP recruiting starts early and wanted to hit the ground running," Caitlin says. "Sandy was instrumental in helping me develop my recruiting strategy so that I knew which companies to focus on, what skills and experience to showcase and how to tell my story. She also helped me connect with alums for informational interviews."

For someone whose perspective has always been broad—she has lived half her life outside the United States, visited five continents, hiked up Mt. Kilimanjaro and eaten grasshoppers in the Beijing night market—Caitlin still found Vanderbilt to be a horizon-broadener for her career. "Vanderbilt helped me realize that there are so many paths for me to get where I want to be," says Caitlin, who served as president of the student professional club HOPA. "I never imagined I would choose to take hardcore quantitative courses like Corporate Valuation, but supportive faculty and collaborative classmates make it less scary to try new things that you aren't comfortable with. It has been a transformative experience."