Our Stories

Getting ‘That Something’ for His Career

Cecalacean positions himself at Vanderbilt for senior executive role

Daniel Cecalacean
Business Unit Manager, Vertiv

Vanderbilt Global Executive MBA 2019

At several points over a decade when he grew into larger roles and increased responsibilities, Daniel Cecalacean entertained the idea of going back to school. Since coming to the United States from his native Romania, Daniel had risen from IT systems engineer to holding management responsibilities for a data center for Emerson and then at a product line for his current employer, Vertiv.

But he didn’t actively pursue an Executive MBA until a conversation with his wife led him to what he describes as the “realization that I needed ‘that something’ to glue up all of my previous experiences, further develop my skillset, and put me in a better position for a senior executive role.”

Because he already lived within easy driving range of Vanderbilt and worked with a couple of Owen alumni who told him about the program, “the choice became a no-brainer,” Daniel says. “I also wanted a program that would allow me to socialize and have face-to-face time with my fellow classmates, professors, and alumni, as I believe that to be the true value of the program.”

Considering that the couple’s first son was born just before he started the program, balancing work, school, and family wasn’t going to be easy. At the same time, Daniel found he could apply knowledge from his classes to his work responsibilities—starting, he says, with “some of the very basic managerial economic concepts, presented in the practical applicability context.” For example, he notes that the project analysis section from Managerial Finance was a “game changer” that enabled him to consolidate reports and recommendations in concise ways, leading to easy buy-in from his company’s executives. The experience of working as part of two different C-teams—including an international one during year two in the Global Immersion Track—was both “fascinating,” Daniel says, and great preparation.

As he neared graduation, Daniel and his wife awaited the birth of their second child. That came nearly a year after another milestone for Daniel. In the spring of his first year in the program, he received a promotion with responsibilities for managing Vertiv’s Desktop Systems Business Unit.

“I also wanted a program that would allow me to socialize and have face-to-face time with my fellow classmates, professors, and alumni.”