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Sprinting to the Starting Line

Army veteran builds skills to help startup company get off the ground

Jamie Hartman
Operations / Project Manager, Enexor BioEnergy Systems

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2018

Jamie Hartman is candid about where he stood before entering the Executive MBA program. “I needed to sprint to catch up with my peers,” he says.

During his 11 years in the U.S. Army, Jamie gained a great deal of experience in leadership, project management and personnel management. But he needed a stronger foundation of business knowledge for his post-military career as a manager with a bio-energy startup company, Enexor.

When he first met the other members of his C-Team at the New Harmony retreat that kicks off the program, Jamie was a bit intimidated. “I was the outlier,” he says. “I was a member of a team full of savvy and experienced businesspeople. I was very self-conscious about what I perceived as a lack of experience and capability. However, I quickly realized that they leaned on me for support in dealing with management and leadership as much as I leaned on them for help with quantitative problem-solving.”

For someone who “had to learn a whole new career in a whole new language,” Jamie found the experience challenging. “It tested me personally,” he says. The learning curve was steep. It tested my personal and time management capacity. While my family was getting ready for bed at night, I was preparing to do my work.

“But it has been rewarding on a level that outweighs the challenges. To have the ability to learn new concepts and apply them right away is, for me, the perfect learning experience. The program is tough (and it’s meant to be), but there wasn’t a time when I felt it wasn’t worth it.”

He especially sees the value as Enexor prepared to go to market in 2018. During his time in the program, Jamie’s role expanded from project management to managing core processes, managing the team and day-to-day operations. The EMBA program, he says, “allowed me to learn the foundation and apply it on a daily basis at work.”

“To have the ability to learn new concepts and apply them right away is, for me, the perfect learning experience.”