Our Stories

Focusing on the Personal

Deloitte consultant builds friends along with sharper skills

Franklin Popek
Senior Strategy Consultant, Deloitte Consulting

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

Franklin Popek entered Vanderbilt with two key advantages. First, he was clear on his intended career path. After working with Deloitte’s strategy and operations practice, he knew he wanted to refine his skills in retail marketing and strategy. Second, as a student whose MBA education was sponsored by his employer, he arrived with a post-graduation job already secure.

As he viewed it, those certainties gave Franklin the freedom “to focus on personal priorities” during his time in business school. Vanderbilt’s emphasis on personal scale made it the ideal fit as he evaluated top schools.

“I was really drawn into the class size of Vanderbilt, because I knew that I could have a breadth of friends,” he says. “I can honestly say after two years, that I have 189 deep-rooted friendships that I've been able to form through different activities and inside the classroom. My peers will be lifelong friends and professional networks. I'll be able to call them in five years and not have to lead with ‘Hey, do you remember me from when we were classmates at Vanderbilt?’ but instead talk about what's going on in our lives, in our careers and in our families.”

To Franklin, personal scale at Owen also meant that “you can take initiative in starting a new club, explore interests or even start a new tradition, with the resources and the people around you to bring it to life.” As an example, he cites his involvement in the student-led Christian Business Association, where he met many of his best friends in the program and was “able to grow and develop in a really important focus area of my life.”

To sharpen skills to become a better community leader, Franklin also wanted to build on his experience in working for three consecutive years with actress Geena Davis and executives at Walmart in producing summits on diversity, equity and inclusion. At Vanderbilt, he was able to participate in the Board Fellows program that gave him hands-on experience as a member of a nonprofit board in Nashville.

“My Vanderbilt experience really reshaped the kind of leader I will be,” Franklin says. “I’m excited to take back [to Deloitte] new ways of working I’ve learned from my peers and my professors. I know now I have the rounded-out skill set to be a leader in both the conference room and the community."

Fun Fact: Franklin was a child model whose photos are still used by online retailers such as Amazon.

I can honestly say after two years, that I have 189 deep-rooted friendships.