Our Stories

Getting Peace of Mind

Accelerator helps rising junior think differently about her career

Nicola Rogers
Vanderbilt University, Class of 2024

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2022

Well before Accelerator, Nicola Rogers was a veteran of summer enrichment programs. Before her senior year of high school, she interned at the Marie Curie Institute in Paris, researching breast cancer cells. After her first year at Vanderbilt, she spent the summer at the London School of Economics.

For Nicola, Accelerator felt at once a bit familiar yet more intense and enriching than any program she had experienced before. She was surprised by how much she could accomplish, in class and with teammates, in days that typically began at 9 AM and did not end until after 8 PM (and by how quickly that time passed).

But it was exactly what she was looking for. “I had wanted real-world business experience, and Accelerator offered the perfect opportunity, since I got to work with three different clients,” Nicola says. “I was eager to work in a group and try consulting, since it is a career path I am very interested in pursuing.

“The faculty were also an important factor; I wanted to build connections with professors and learn from them. The coaches and faculty truly helped make this experience amazing. They have encouraged me to be the best professional version of myself. I am very happy to say this program really exceeded my expectations—even though they were pretty high.”

Nicola credits the program with helping her think about what she wants in a career—and giving her comfort and confidence about what she ultimately decides. “I realized a lot of people who are my age, or even older than me, do not know what they want to do with their career,” she says. “This program gave me a lot of peace of mind. What many speakers emphasized throughout their talks was that they figured out through work experience what they wanted in a job and found the position that fit those desires instead of finding a job and fitting its mold.”

Fun Fact: During a three-week sailing trip from Florida to the Bahamas, Nicola learned how to navigate using only a map, protractor, compass, and pencil.

This program really exceeded my expectations—even though they were pretty high.