Our Stories

Making the Right Connections

Expanded network was key for Pierce’s consulting career

Lee Pierce
Senior Consultant, West Monroe Partners

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

Lee Pierce says she knew that getting an MBA might not necessarily propel her career. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she had already worked in consulting for seven years, and she didn’t plan on changing careers.

“I wanted the experience and the network,” Lee says. “I had pretty much ‘grown up’ in consulting, but knew I could gain 200-400 additional peers who I could call on.”

Her interest in exploring what she calls “the academic side of organization change management”—a Vanderbilt strength—led her to look into the school. But “the deciding factors,” she says, “were the super friendly admissions reps and the helpful and resourceful students.”

Within the area of change management, Lee has focused on human and organizational performance (HOP) with a healthcare emphasis. “The HOP classes are great and on-target,” she says, “and the healthcare classes that are available offer the opportunity to analyze real-life problems. Because we’re a smaller school, we don’t have to worry about not getting into classes.”

Lee immersed herself in both academic work and opportunities to be involved in several student organizations, from the Women’s Business Association and Black Students’ Association to the Texas Club (launched at Owen by fellow natives of the Lone Star State). And amid everything else, she makes time on Wednesday nights for salsa and bachata dancing at a local club.

When she left Vanderbilt with her MBA—and a senior consultant position in Healthcare & Life Sciences, in the Chicago office of West Monroe Partners—Lee could say she got what she hoped Vanderbilt could give her. “I have increased my network exponentially and am able to leverage contacts not only from Owen, but also from Big Vandy,” she says. “This will prove beneficial as I climb the corporate ladder or even if I decide to relocate back to Nashville.”

Fun Fact: Lee, who began dancing before she was three years old, has been a member of three different dance companies. Recently, she has taken up Latin social dancing.

I have increased my network exponentially and am able to leverage contacts not only from Owen, but also from Big Vandy.