Our Stories

Learning for the Long Road

Trucking executive learns new tools for the trade

Jacqueline Parker
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Covenant Transportation Group

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2012

In 1994, as she entered her final year of nursing school, Jacqueline Parker was also serving as Corporate Secretary for Covenant Transport, the trucking company she and her husband had founded.

As the company ramped up for business, Jacqueline’s signature was on a number of documents that she realized represented personal guarantees. “I realized my future was at the company because everything we had was on the line,” she reflects. She quit nursing school and never regretted it.

Covenant grew and went public in 2005. But Jacqueline, who says she learned a lot about the business simply from the experience of helping operate it, never felt as equipped for her position as she wished.

At the suggestion of her son, she decided to pursue an Executive MBA. “I thought if I could learn something and take it back to the company,” she says, “it would more than pay for all my time, tuition and effort.”

Even before graduation, Jacqueline saw potential big returns on her investment. Knowledge gained in Bruce Cooil’s statistics class made her a more informed decision maker. She better understood the limitations of the predictive analytics tool and also came to appreciate what the tool could provide in terms of helping reduce accident costs. Predictive analytics are not widely used in the Truckload Industry. And from an operations class she learned how to create a process diagram of load management . This tool helped identify ways to increase the number of loads moved through the system and reduce non revenue miles. When implemented it would increase operating income. “The EMBA program is not easy,” she says. “But it’s ultimately worth it!”