Our Stories

Turning Strengths into a New Career Path

At Vanderbilt, Kimberly Lester discovers that strategy consulting is ‘perfect fit’

Kimberly Biagini Lester
Manager, Deloitte

Vanderbilt MBA 2016

Going back to her days at a math and science high school, Kimberly (Biagini) Lester has always enjoyed working with numbers and systematically analyzing information. But she also really loves working with people and helping them understand and address challenges they face — an impulse that originally led the Mississippi native to want to pursue a diplomatic career.

By the time she graduated from college, with a degree in International Studies, Kimberly’s ambitions had shifted. She knew she wanted to work for a large global corporation — she landed an administrative assistant position with Parker Hannifan, the global engineering and manufacturing giant — and, eventually, to earn an MBA, she says, “to get the hard skills in finance and accounting that I lacked.”

But it wasn’t until she actually arrived at business school at Vanderbilt that Kimberly became aware of a career path, strategy consulting, that seemed like the perfect fit for her interests. “I thought I wanted to work in corporate finance, possibly in the oil and gas industry,” she says. “Now I see consulting as a way to marry my desire to use data to solve problems while building relationships with the people who face them.”

In fact, Kimberly credits the relationships with the people around her as a key ingredient to her own success. “Being surrounded [at Owen] with people who have spent their entire lives as overachievers naturally encourages competition, but this community is special in its emphasis on collaboration,” she says. “I have learned more by working with my classmates than I could ever hope to learn on my own.”

Fun Fact: Kimberly has a “deep love” for marching bands. 

“I have learned more by working with my classmates than I could ever hope to learn on my own.”