Our Stories

Learning from Diversity

Consultant benefits from varying backgrounds of classmates

Hunter Rich
Marketing Consultant, Germane Consulting

Vanderbilt University Master of Marketing 2022

Hunter Rich vividly remembers the first day of orientation in the MMark program. “Professor [Steve] Hoeffler told us, ‘You’ll learn more from your fellow classmates than you will from any professor.’ He was absolutely correct,” Hunter says.

Not that Hunter undervalues the influence of his professors in shaping his experience at Owen or his ability to land a consulting job upon graduation: Going in, he knew the faculty’s reputation and that of Vanderbilt as a whole. “I was seeking the ability to connect and create lifelong relationships with my professors,” he says. He also appreciated how his professors were able bring their expertise from both research and their consulting engagements into their teaching.

But what Hunter particularly appreciated, just as Dr. Hoeffler predicted, was the interaction with his classmates. Partly, he reflects, that was the result of the varying backgrounds that students (many of whom had not studied marketing as undergraduates) brought to the class, and it was in part the result of the program’s emphasis on collaborative group projects that mimic real-world corporate environments.

“Our professors are brilliant and do a great job at cultivating environments that stimulate learning and exploring abstract concepts,” says Hunter, who served on the dean’s Diversity/Equity/Inclusion advisory board during his year at Owen. “But when you’re working in groups with other students and see how they approach problems, it really is a fascinating process.”

Most of all, Hunter found, what set Vanderbilt apart was the sense of a close-knit, supportive community. “During the interview process,” he recalls, “every single interaction I had with someone from Vanderbilt felt so genuine. Everyone here was so kind and wanted what’s best for me.

“To me, ‘personal scale’ means being truly cared about. I never felt like just another student. All of my professors invested heavily in me and my future. I knew that if I ever needed anything, even beyond the realm of the course, they would be willing to help and offer insight. Vanderbilt’s people always ensured that, at my core, I was taken care of.”

Fun Fact: Hunter loves reading, listening to podcasts, going on long walks, yoga, cooking and finding the best coffee in every city he visits.

To me, ‘personal scale’ means being truly cared about. I never felt like just another student.