Our Stories


Actor and arts educator finds the right environment for a major career change

Jacob Schrimpf
Consultant, BCG

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

Jacob Schrimpf is proud of his acting career —he was part of more than 30 professional plays and musicals around the country —and especially of his work as an arts educator in Philadelphia. But he also knew he was ready for a change.

I hit a point in my acting career in which the intensity of auditioning, performing 8 shows a week, working nights, weekends, and holidays, and balancing the instability of constantly traveling for gigs became draining,” Jacob says. “I realized that I sought a career that still encouraged my love of collaborative problem solving but also included greater quantitative rigor, allowing me to drive impact on a larger scale. Business school was the logical choice.”

And, for Jacob, Vanderbilt was the logical choice for someone who had always seen himself as a “big-fish-in-a-small-pond person who wanted a program that was smaller in size and known for facilitating intimate connections.”

Vanderbilt met his desire to remain in a big, dynamic city, and he was “impressed by the uniqueness of Owen’s Human & Organizational Performance program,” the area of study that most interested him. He was particularly struck by the way he was received as a student whose prior experience was in the arts. “As a career changer, I was looking for a school that not only appreciated my unique background but celebrated the skillset that a professional actor could bring to the MBA,” Jacob says. “At Owen, I felt uniquely valued, rather than having to overcome my background.”

He credits his coaches at the Career Management Center, Sandy Kinnett and Courtney Fain, with “helping me make sense of my acting experience and relevant ties to a business career and were amazing sounding boards every step along the way." Their support, Jacob says, “was pivotal to my career journey.” He also credits the diversity of experience among his classmates and his participation in professional clubs with helping make his way from acting to a new career in consulting.

That shift, he says,“would have been incredibly difficult without my Vanderbilt MBA. Not only did the program provide the foundational business and technical acumen topivot into consulting, but Owen’s alumni network also provided many connections to potential employers, propelling me forward in my career. My two years at Owen shaped my ability to thoughtfully develop interpersonal skills and better understand what I hope to accomplish.”

Fun Fact: Jacob has run 10 marathons (he hopes eventually to complete one in every state) and plays four musical instruments: piano, clarinet, saxophone and fife.

At Owen, I felt uniquely valued, rather than having to overcome my background.