Our Stories

Developing Skills for the Developing World

Successful entrepreneur wants to make an impact

Nick Gordon
Vice President, Strategic Execution, Compassus

Vanderbilt MBA 2015

Nick Gordon’s career so far has had a distinctly Vanderbilt flavor. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he spent two years in Kenya helping build a startup nonprofit, CARE for AIDS, which has grown to provide comprehensive HIV care and counseling to approximately 1,500 families a year.

Then, Nick and two other former Vanderbilt classmates launched an all-natural packet drink mix product. Nick set up the operations, supply chain and distribution for Everly, which is now sold in 75 Whole Foods stores.

His risk-taking business background might offer a hint of his adventurous personality. He has lived on four continents and visited all the others, including Antarctica. He’s been charged by an angry elephant. He enjoys scuba-diving, skydiving, bungee-jumping, mountain biking — “really anything,” he says, “that involves adrenaline.”

Nick’s career goals were at once very specific and somewhat nebulous. “Eventually,” the North Carolina native says, “I want to lead a multinational company with a positive presence in the developing world.” He knew Owen would give him the knowledge and skills he needed.

“I was excited,” he says, “for my wife and I to come back to a place that felt like home. And I wanted a tailored, high-touch experience, especially from the Career Management Center. I’ve benefited greatly from the CMC and coaching by second-year students, and I’ve learned so much about where I want my career to go and how to get there. I’ve become a much better team member and built a solid foundation of the theory and tools that underpin business. And I’ve met fascinating people and built lasting relationships.

“Personal fit is extremely important for business school, and Owen was the ideal fit for me.”