Our Stories

Finding Real-World Connections beyond the Classroom

Accelerator helps recent grad explore options and prepare for her next steps

Kaitlyn Alsup
Investment Banking Analyst, RBC

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2016
McCombs School of Business MS Finance 2018

Kaitlyn Alsup grew up around horses. She learned to ride, she says, not long after she learned to walk. As her family began to invest in, develop and sell horses for profit, she also learned a lot about business. As a teenager, she was responsible for what she calls an “equine portfolio,” putting together deals that might involve six-figure sums. “When it all came together,” she says, “great things could happen. One deal alone paid for my college tuition.”

Once she got to college, Kaitlyn learned something about herself: She was much more interested in the practical applications of her learning than simply being in school. “I was getting burned out in the classroom,” she confesses,” and I found myself still waiting for that real-world connection.”

Then, in her senior year at Vanderbilt, she found out about Accelerator. For Kaitlyn, the program wasn’t simply about gaining business knowledge and skills. (She had majored in economics and political science with a minor in financial economics.) Much more, it was an opportunity to help her understand what she wanted to do beyond graduation.

“I’m still trying to figure out exactly where my career is going,” she says. “Accelerator was a great opportunity to explore a lot of different options in a very short period of time. As a recent graduate, I really needed that type of springboard, but I also like that Accelerator is a sort of safety net. I could try something here, and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to commit to it. I could take a risk on a project, and if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t going to get fired. I could use this opportunity to learn and figure things out while surrounded by a group of mentors who were there to help me.”

Sure enough, she says, Accelerator helped Kaitlyn find and channel her passions. Now, she’s looking to build a consulting career.



Fun Fact: In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys playing the violin, painting and sculpting.

“I could take a risk on a project, and if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t going to get fired.”