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Racing into the Healthcare Field

Army officer transitions to rewarding career that’s close to home

Nick Dason
Director of Operations, AMSURG

Vanderbilt MBA 2020

Nick Dason’s career has taken him around the world. On behalf of the United States, he competed in Olympic distance races internationally. As an Army officer, he deployed six times to the Middle East including Afghanistan, where in 2015-16, he commanded a helicopter company in the Army’s only Air Assault Aviation Battalion. Additionally, as a Special Operations Officer, the world’s premier aviation unit, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, he had the opportunity to lead multinational teams in diverse situations around the world.

After transitioning to civilian life, Nick and his wife chose to settle in Franklin, Tennessee to raise their daughter and son. Nick started looking at MBA programs—and a new career that would allow him to stay in the area the couple had chosen as home.

“I wanted to go to a top business school that focused on leadership and had a close, open community,” the West Point graduate says. “I wanted to learn from and work with my classmates instead of competing with them.” And he sought a program with a concentration in healthcare that would present opportunities with the 300-plus healthcare companies in the Nashville area.

A choice that fit all those criteria was just 20 miles away from Nick’s doorstep. Visits for MBA Coffee Chats and a Closing Bell sealed his decision.

One year into the program, he was well on his way. The healthcare immersion week, he says, “was one of the best experiences of my professional career.” Nick’s coach in the Leadership Development Program helped him create a plan for his internship. Owen’s career management staff recommended local healthcare companies he should target and introduced him to alumni there. “This is a tight-knit community in which everyone truly cares and wants to help each other,” he says.

All the preparation helped Nick land a corporate development and strategy internship with AMSURG, a Nashville-based operator of ambulatory surgery centers. His experience so far has taught him two lessons. First, he says, “Vanderbilt and the companies that recruit at Owen value your leadership and military experience.” And second, he adds: “I know that professionally I will be more competitive because of attending this amazing school.”

Fun Fact: A professional triathlete for three years, Nick still competes and often can be found working out when not spending time with his two young children.

“Vanderbilt and the companies that recruit at Owen value your leadership and military experience.”