Our Stories

Seeking an Immersion, Not an Internship

With Accelerator, Hannah Waters finds a one-stop shop for future growth

Hannah Waters
Business Analyst, ION

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2018

For an undergraduate, Hannah Waters has an unusually specific career goal. Ultimately, she wants “to work with major players of the Walt Disney Company to keep the organization moving forward and innovating in their entertainment content.” And she wants to pursue that goal, she says, in order to continue “the legacy of a company whose mission has brought happiness across the world.”

The question for Hannah, really, is how to get there. As she learned more about business, she began shifting her focus away from strategic communications (one of her majors) to business strategy, with an aim toward becoming a professional who, as she puts it, is “capable of discovering paths to reinforce the stability of a company during change and adversity so that progress does not stop.”

Summer internships, Hannah concluded, couldn’t deliver the kind of experience she was hoping to gain: one that was more holistic instead of focused on refining skills in the context of a specialized role. To her, Accelerator “is unlike other opportunities because it challenges you to think on your feet and helps you develop in technical and interpersonal areas, and I knew I would need that combination to be successful.”

“The opportunity to work for multiple nationally and internationally oriented companies was just something that I could not pass up. The program also addressed the intrinsic motivators that I hoped to further develop: challenge and variety. To become a key player in the industry, I knew agility and adaptability would have to be assets of mine. I also knew that testing my abilities in this environment would contribute to a healthy level of confidence that I would need in the future. The program seemed like a one-stop shop for further growth, and I knew I had to pursue it.”

Looking back on the experience, Hannah believes her choice was validated. “Accelerator is one of the few environments I have been in where people have been pushed to the edge of their comfort zones while surrounded by students and teachers who want their happiness and success,” she says. “It is an amazing place to learn and be challenged.”

Fun Fact: Whenever Hannah interviews students and administrators at Vanderbilt (more than 100 so far), her first question is always, “What’s your favorite book?” She’s using the answers to build her personal library.

“The program seemed like a one-stop shop for further growth, and I knew I had to pursue it.”