Our Stories

Gaining New Options to Go National

Fund-raiser leverages EMBA to expand career horizons

Lucas Mininger
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Tidal Wave Auto Spa

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2002

Before earning his MBA, Lucas Mininger had spent most of his career working in development at his alma mater, Covenant College, near Chattanooga. Then he realized that he wanted to move beyond fundraising and higher education, and decided to enroll in an Executive MBA program to help himself grow professionally and expand his career options. He chose Vanderbilt for its great reputation and commuted from Chattanooga for classes.

Mininger’s choice paid off when he was able to leverage his degree to transition into brand management and marketing roles. “(The Executive MBA program) enabled me to make a pivot point to a new career,” he says. “It’s a bridge point, mentally, to give people permission to try you out in something you don’t have direct experience in.”

Mininger went on to a marketing leadership role with Church & Dwight (he maker of Arm & Hammer products) in Princeton, NJ. Then, back in Chattanooga, he rose to become Director of Marketing of Pain and Sleep products with Chattem, Inc., a Sanofi Company that makes well-known brands such as Unisom, Icy Hot, Aspercreme and Pamprin.

Recently, he made another upward move — this time to Milo’s Iced Tea in Birmingham, where he is now VP of Marketing.

“When you live outside the Southeast, you want a program that translates,” Mininger says, noting that the school has strong name recognition in the various places he has lived. “Had I (earned) a regional degree, I don’t think I would have gotten the same opportunities. Vanderbilt is not a regional program; it is a national program. Why spend two years of your life and countless hours of deep-dive study if, in the end, you’re not going to get a product that you’re really proud of, and that you can really leverage?”