Our Stories

Discovering His Possibilities

Ignacio finds answer to ‘quarter-life crisis’

Fitz Ignacio
Sr. Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Partner | Leaders to Executives (L2E), T-Mobile, Bellevue, WA

Vanderbilt MBA 2020

Fitz Ignacio experienced what he calls a “quarter-life crisis.” After graduating from college, he worked in his family’s real estate development firm in the Philippines. “It was an incredible experience to be mentored by my father,” he says, “but I wanted to discover what I was capable of beyond my home country and family business.”

He wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue an MBA, and Vanderbilt’s small class size and “personal scale approach” appealed to him. On a campus visit, he says, “the meaningful conversations I had with everyone sealed the deal—I had to go to Vanderbilt.”

In addition to adjusting to a return to school after five years in the workforce, Fitz had to adjust to a new country. But instead of feeling isolated, he found himself embraced by the community. “Every time I would participate in class, my thoughts would be valued because I brought an international student’s perspective,” he recalls. “People always wanted to learn and hear from me, and vice-versa.”

In the Leadership Development Program—“I felt like a CEO for the first time in my life,” Fitz says—the staff paired him with a Filipina-American coach whom he credits with playing “a big part in my transition to the U.S.”

And he immersed himself in student organizations, from the Venture and Entrepreneurship Club to the Owen Student Government Association and Owen Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board to the Owen Cork & Barrel Society.

Now, in an executive development program on the West Coast, and with his first rotation in Diversity & Inclusion, Fitz is exploring just what he is capable of achieving. “After packing up and moving halfway across the world, I can say that Vanderbilt helped me evolve in the best way possible,” he says. “From the lessons in the classroom to relationships with the faculty, staff, and my classmates, Vanderbilt has provided me with a community that worked nonstop to turn me into a better version of myself.”

Fun Fact: Fitz, a certified PADI Rescue scuba diver, loves filming sharks underwater.

Vanderbilt has provided me with a community that worked nonstop to turn me into a better version of myself.