Our Stories

Building a Career—and a Network of Friends

Allen finds her niche (and her ticket to Nashville) through MMark program

Natalie Allen
National Marketing Coordinator, Tractor Supply Company

Vanderbilt Master of Marketing 2019

Natalie Allen knew she wanted to pursue a career in marketing and communications, and her undergraduate major, she says, enabled her “to dip my toes into many different areas” of the field. Still, by the fall of her senior year, she didn’t feel that she had found her niche.

She was filled with questions. Graduate school or work? What industry should she pursue? What entry-level positions should she seek? Unsure about her next step, Natalie sought the advice of a favorite professor, who happened to have a Vanderbilt MBA and who built a successful career in brand management before entering the academic world.

Growing up two hours away, Natalie had long aspired to live in Nashville. That, and her admiration for her professor’s career trajectory, led her to explore the Business@Vanderbilt website, where she discovered the Master of Marketing program. “I was instantly attracted,” Natalie says. “I knew coming to Vanderbilt would not only prepare me academically for a great career, but the connections I would make and the network I would build in Nashville would be incomparable to any other school.”

While she was in the program, Natalie shadowed Nashville executives in several different industries to gain a clearer sense of her ideal work environment. And while she was absorbing new knowledge about her field, she says, “Owen also taught me more about business etiquette and communications. I learned the importance of networking, and I have made so many valuable connections in Nashville.”

She also made new friends, which she counts as a highlight of her experience. Even though Nashville was her dream destination, she says, “I was apprehensive about moving to a new city and a new school where I knew no one. But now I can’t believe that these people weren’t in my life less than a year ago. I have made friendships that will truly last a lifetime.”



Fun Fact: A self-described adventurous person, Natalie is always looking for a new concert, restaurant, or event to explore.

I knew coming to Vanderbilt would not only prepare me academically for a great career, but the connections I would make and the network I would build in Nashville would be incomparable to any other school.