Our Stories

Making a Midlife Career Move

Chilean manager seeks to make the most of vast US opportunities

Christian Ilic
BWN / Managing Director, BWN Consulting

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2021

By the time he approached age 50, Christian Ilic had accumulated a diverse array of professional experiences. He had worked in consumer products, manufacturing, and industrial construction. He had worked in management positions ranging from marketing management to business development. He’d worked in multiple markets in both South America and North America. He’d even launched an innovative, entrepreneurial venture in Santiago, Chile, involving online beer distribution.

In his most recent role, with PERI Formwork-Industrial Scaffold, Christian had the opportunity to travel to 44 states across the US. It was an eye-opener. His business trips, he says, “made me think, ‘This market is huge, and there are so many opportunities out there.’”

And that realization made him think further: “If I wanted to move up and make a career change toward a more strategic and relevant position, I had to academically and professionally challenge myself.” He and his wife concluded that the best path for Christian was to pursue an Executive MBA, and after they researched various schools, they decided that Vanderbilt was the best choice for them.

“I had to choose a school with a good program, good reputation, and differentiating factors,” he says. “The Vanderbilt Executive MBA not only has a great reputation nationwide, it also differentiates from other schools by delivering incredibly personalized support, with talented faculty always accessible and willing to help.”

Returning to school at age 50 wasn’t easy. In his C-Team, Christian says, “Not being the younger kid on the block, at first it was difficult to open up and recognize that students much younger than me came in with incredibly fast, smart, and spot-on analysis capabilities. But I have learned from them and have been lucky to have a young, smart, and giving team. Vanderbilt does an incredible job selecting a group of students for the program. “If you want to develop in your professional field and make a difference, go for it. This program is worth every minute, every effort, and every resource.”

This program is worth every minute, every effort, and every resource.