Our Stories

Shooting at a New Career Goal

MBA equips former pro hockey player to take new direction

Marley McMillan
Human Capital Consulting, Deloitte, Austin, TX

Vanderbilt MBA 2021

Marley McMillan had nearly a decade of experience in radio broadcasting before she took on a role as business director for the National Women’s Hockey League’s expansion into Minnesota. Strategic projects such as assessing the team’s operational needs interested her, she says, but she realized that she needed a strong business education to seriously pursue those interests.

Vanderbilt rose to the top of her list for a number of reasons, starting with the caliber of the MBA program and a scholarship offer. “I needed a change of scenery from where I had been,” she says. There was the appeal of Nashville, which she describes as having “a small-town feel with big-city opportunities.” And there was NHL hockey in Nashville—more than just icing on the cake for someone who played the sport professionally in Europe.

Coming back to school was no small change and no small challenge. “Making it out of Mod 1 alive, after not having taken a math class in 14 years,” she laughs, counts as a highlight of her first few months. At the same time, she adds, “I feel challenged being around others who are equally as motivated and challenged to learn”—and she enjoyed the opportunities to work directly with them in team projects.

In fact, Marley enjoyed early success with four of her classmates as part of a Vanderbilt Business team. Together, they finished second in the National MBA Human Capital Case Competition. That success—and her interest in helping solve business problems related to change management, organizational performance, and communications—helped Marley land an internship and full-time offer in human capital consulting with Deloitte in Austin, TX. That opportunity, she says, is “something I never would have obtained outside of Owen.”

Fun Fact: Marley is, in no particular order, an internationally competitive hockey player, a trained vocalist who has sung the National Anthem at sporting events, the founder of a cupcake company, and a former radio and podcast host.

I feel challenged being around others who are equally as motivated and eager to learn.