Our Stories

Building Bridges for the Future

Julia Brown equips herself for finance — and social enterprise

Julia Brown
Treasury and Investments Intern, State of Tennessee

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

In more ways than one, Julia Brown is interested in working together with others to build bridges. Her accomplishment (so far) that she finds most meaningful involved building both a literal and metaphorical bridge.

In Honduras, where she had volunteered at an orphanage for more than a decade before enrolling at Vanderbilt, Julia worked to replace an old bridge that regularly flooded after a heavy rain. She raised $125,000 in funds, plus another $40,000 in donated materials, to construct the new bridge, and she returns at least once a year to volunteer in the community.

So perhaps it wasn’t surprising that, when she decided to pursue an MBA to “open up opportunities for future leadership roles,” Julia the bridge builder was attracted to a program where “students were particularly helpful to each other. The high quality of education was a factor,” she says, “but what ultimately attracted me was the students and faculty that I would be spending the next two years with.”

As she builds the structure for a career in finance, Julia continues to be drawn to working in other countries. During spring break, she was able to travel to China with others as part of the Doing Business in China class and work on projects for companies there. During fall break, she and fellow students traveled to Colombia, where they learned from local entrepreneurs and leaders of social enterprises. (She spent the summer after her first year in a corporate finance internship with ExxonMobil in Budapest.)

Julia also credits the school with helping her build new bridges in the business world. For example, she says, after she had been accepted into the MBA program, “The Career Management Center encouraged and prepared me to go to the Forte Women’s Conference in June 2017. This was a huge step for me because I got two internship offers from attending. If the CMC had not actively encouraged me to go, hosted webinars, helped with my resumé, and helped me prepare to meet the recruiters, I would not have had two offers before even starting school.”



Fun Fact: Julia fulfilled a childhood dream by being selected as a contestant on “The Price Is Right.” She made it to the Showcase Showdown!

“If the CMC had not actively encouraged me to go to Forte, hosted webinars, helped with my resumé, and helped me prepare to meet the recruiters, I would not have had two offers before even starting school.”