Our Stories

Loving the C-Team Experience—Twice

Global team experience becomes a big plus for operations expert

Nathan Cornett
Manager, Rail Fleet and Track Infrastructure, Vulcan Materials Company

Vanderbilt Global Executive MBA 2019

Nathan Cornett was so attracted to the C-Team experience at Vanderbilt, he decided to go through it twice.

As Nathan describes it, he has always worked extensively in field operations for large companies—including two of the largest railroads in the U.S. Because he had “never been exposed to how businesses operate as a whole,” he knew he wanted to pursue an MBA. Vanderbilt, he says, was always at the top of his list. The only question was timing.

With a position as operations manager for CSX in Evansville, Indiana, Nathan found that graduate school was manageable with his work schedule and that he was close enough to Vanderbilt to commute. He was attracted to the quality of the school and prestige of the program, he says. “I also really liked the C-team learning style and the chance to learn from not only our professors, but our peers, too.” In fact, he says, one reason he chose the Global Immersion Track was so that he’d have the opportunity to work on two different C-teams—one of them international. “Both years have been phenomenal learning experiences,” he says. “We learned from each other and were able to utilize each other’s strengths to make each team member better and more versatile.

“We also learned how to work in diverse groups and be more effective communicators in team situations.” With his international team in particular, Nathan says, “I became more aware of how different cultures have different communication styles and [learned] not to just take for granted that people have clearly understood what you are conveying.”

Partway through the program, Nathan’s commute became more complicated. But that was because his career had taken a step forward with a new position with Vulcan Materials in Houston (too far to drive, he notes, but an easy flight—and besides, the alternating-week commute ended after the first year). “It has been such a challenging and rewarding experience and something I will never regret doing,” he says. “It may be cliché to say, but it’s life-changing.”

“It may be cliché to say, but it’s life-changing.”