Our Stories

Getting on a Faster Track

EMBA takes manager into strategy role for his company

Chinny Esakkiperumal
Senior Associate, Environmental Remediation, Olin Corporation

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2019

At Olin Corporation, Chinny Esakkiperumal wears a number of varied hats when working on environmental remediation projects. He recommends strategies and consultants; manages contractors; serves as liaison with external stakeholders; coordinates and manages resources for projects in the U.S. and Canada; develops budgets; provides guidance to other departments; and represents the company on technical regulatory committees.

With 15 years of professional experience, Chinny wanted to equip himself for senior management positions. “To advance within my division,” he says, “it is important to have refined leadership skills, an ability to mitigate risks—reducing costs while protecting stakeholder interests—and have strategic decision-making skills. Although I may be able to gain these skills over time, I wanted to fast-track my career growth.”

He considered other Executive MBA options but chose Vanderbilt over UT-Knoxville for the caliber of the faculty, course structure, and the Saturday-only schedule. “The Vanderbilt EMBA was more structured and felt more like a true MBA program,” Chinny says.

He found the two-hour drive from Chattanooga to Nashville not only manageable but helpful. “The commute helped me focus and get into academic mode while driving in for class,” he explains. “It helped me think through and prepare for presentations for classes or to plan for course assignments and work projects. It also gave me ample time to reflect about the classes while driving back.”

Reflecting now on his experience, Chinny says the effect on his understanding of business has been “life-changing. I feel like I am viewing things in a completely different manner compared to how I was viewing things before the start of the program.”

The effect on his career has been notable, too. Chinny received a promotion at Olin while he was still in the program. Then, he was recruited by senior management to be part of a core team to development and implement strategy for the entire company.

The commute helped me focus and get into academic mode while driving in for class.