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Dancing to a Brand New Tune

McKayla Denning takes big step from PR into marketing

McKayla Denning
Director of Marketing, Yearly Company

Vanderbilt Master of Marketing 2018

Though she majored in communications, McKayla Denning came to realize that she wasn’t interested in a career in public relations (her concentration) or journalism. So she decided to pursue a career in another form of communication: marketing.

There was one hitch: a slight gap in her knowledge of the subject. “Because I came from a PR background, I was only minimally familiar with marketing theories, strategies and initiatives,” says McKayla, who was a member of the dance team that performed on the field during football games at Mississippi State.

Vanderbilt’s MMark program filled that gap. In fact, McKayla says, “almost every marketing thing I know is because of Owen.”

For someone who came into the program with little working knowledge of the subject, the supportive environment at Owen was particularly valuable. It was one of the things that stood out about the school and the program.

For example, McKayla says, “Megan Nichols has always been available to help with networking and job opportunities. [Professor] Kelly Goldsmith constantly wants to better the program and is readily available to help with classwork and listen to any suggestions we have. [Professor] Steve Hoeffler is like the cool dad in the program; he took the MMark students to get pizza each mod just to make sure that we are doing OK and to encourage us to keep up the hard work. Ron Hueber is the sweetest help in the library, always offering her assistance with any research needs we may have.

“I have never felt like I was alone in an endeavor here, whether it was homework or a job search. Each professor, career adviser and Leadership Development Program member genuinely wants you to succeed.”

Fun Fact: About four times a day, McKayla gets asked how tall she is. (She stands 5 feet, 11 inches. Now you know.)

“I have never felt like I was alone in an endeavor here.”