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Hunter Flint: Out of Africa

Coffee plantation manager transitions to business back home

Hunter Flint

Vanderbilt MBA 2018

Hunter Flint spent the first decade of his career in Tanzania, where he met his wife and two of their daughters were born. He worked in three different sectors — nonprofit, education and agribusiness — and spent his final three years there as general manager for two independent coffee companies with a combined 500 employees (and 1,300 more during harvest season).

He misses what he describes as the “wildness and freedom” he felt while riding his old Honda dirt bike through the bush with friends, seeing herds of zebra, giraffes and antelope, and camping in places that seemed untouched by humans. But he was ready to leave behind the difficulties of doing business in Africa.

Going back to school, Hunter says, “felt like a good way to transition my family back to the U.S. after 10 years abroad. It also felt like an opportunity to explore new career options.” He chose to pursue an MBA for a simple reason: “I enjoyed my experience running a business more than I did running a nonprofit,” he says. “I better understood the impact we were making as a business on the community we served.”

Hunter and his wife began their search of MBA programs by identifying cities where they would like to live. Nashville, which was close enough to his wife’s mother in Atlanta and his own parents in Charlotte, met the criteria. Plus, he says, “I got more excited about the culture at Vanderbilt. [They] were concerned about the whole person, not just numbers. That certainly helped because my quant scores weren’t out of sight, but I felt other schools had a hard time looking past that and seeing the whole person and what their experiences might have taught them.”

Two years later, Hunter has found a home. With his concentration in entrepreneurship, he landed a position with a Nashville-based firm that provides investment insight and operational and leadership expertise to entrepreneurial companies. “I enjoy raising my kids in a genuine and welcoming place,” he says.

Fun Fact: I wanted to become fluent in Swahili in order to impress a girl, who is now my wife. Hunter served as president of the Christian Business Association at Owen and teaches Sunday School at a local church. “The kids remind me that I have a long way to go before I can manage a team with excellence,” he says.

“They were concerned about the whole person, not just numbers.”