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Diving into Finance

Owen Makes Team Leader a Better Team Worker

Keith Whitman
Program Manager, Global Infrastructure, Google

Vanderbilt MBA 2011

Even before Owen, Keith Whitman already knew a little about teamwork and balancing various demands. He and his wife, Kelly Leo, were the only married couple among the MBA Class of 2011.

They met as Vanderbilt undergraduates, but their career paths diverged. While Kelly focused on marketing, Keith's experience is in finance. As team lead for a niche-structured finance firm in Denver that served investors in asset- and mortgage-backed securities, says Keith, "I was on the front lines during the downturn as we provided independent pricing on hard-to-value assets that were declining in value rapidly."

To build on his experience, he wanted to diversify his management skills and expand his knowledge of corporate finance. For Keith, an avid SCUBA diver and certified Divemaster, Owen enabled him to land just the kind of internship he was seeking — one that "aligned my interests and skills within a cutting-edge engineering firm" (Hamilton Sundstrand, a division of United Technologies).

Though he had led a diverse team, Keith also improved his communication and team skills. "I realize that any individual, in any position, no matter how technical, can gain a balanced set of skills and communicate with any individual in any other function after attending Owen." He also learned something about himself. "I believe that my experience paired with my wife's very different experience present a unique opportunity," Keith says. "Owen opened our eyes to the potential we can have together as a team."