Our Stories

Taking on the World

Former pharmacist gains global skills

Chidi Onuke
Commercial Leadership Program Intern, Amgen, Thousand Oaks, CA

Vanderbilt MBA 2021

Chidi Onuke put his degree in pharmacy to good use. For more than five years, he worked first as a hospital pharmacist, then as a pharmaceutical sales manager for a multinational company in his native Nigeria.

In that role, he came to realize that he “lacked the technical knowledge to lead operations for global companies.” He also believed that an MBA could help him build his skill set in finance and strategy, leaving him “better positioned as an industry expert to lead Fortune 500 companies into future growth opportunities.”

The small class size and collaborative atmosphere—with an emphasis on working in teams—made Vanderbilt attractive to Chidi as he considered his options. He was particularly drawn to Vanderbilt’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). “As a future leader, it is important that I understand some of my weaknesses,” he says. “Hence, the LDP is one key aspect that I knew would help me drive conversation around empathetic leadership.”

He credits the LDP with “providing me access to an executive mentor who constantly gives me honest and constructive feedback that I believe will help me in my career. Accepting feedback could be quite tough, but I think it is important for every leader who is passionate and heavily invested in growing.”

After he arrived at Owen, he found that the school’s name was as well respected as he had heard. “Vanderbilt has a very powerful brand, and this brand has stood out for me particularly during my summer internship recruiting process,” Chidi says. In fact, it helped him land just the type of internship (with the biotech giant Amgen) that he hopes will propel him to a leadership position in the field.



Fun Fact: Chidi, a former professional model, could be seen in magazines and on billboards across West Africa.

Vanderbilt has a very powerful brand, and this brand has stood out for me particularly during my summer internship recruiting process.