Our Stories

From Animal Science to Marketing Science

White finds new possibilities outside the laboratory

Olivia White
Manager, Marketing Communications at Dairy Management

Vanderbilt Master of Marketing 2018

During her senior year in college, while conducting laboratory research on prolonging the shelf life of ground beef, Olivia White had an epiphany: She hated laboratory research. 

So, she abandoned her plans to pursue a graduate degree in animal science and turned her attention to marketing, a subject in which she had taken several college classes (and enjoyed).

“The Master of Marketing program was the only program I could find that really matched my needs,” Olivia says. A visit to Owen, when she sat in on a class, talked to students and met with two professors who, like her, had graduated from Mississippi State, cemented her decision. “I knew right away it was where I belonged,” she says. “I loved the culture and the environment and the fact that it is in Nashville.”

At Vanderbilt, Olivia immersed herself not only in her studies but in other opportunities to enrich her knowledge and experience. Along with joining the Women’s Business Association and the Owen Culinary Society, she took part in Brand Week and the Vanderbilt Health Care Conference. And with several other MMark students, she helped conduct a six-month project to assess the economic impact of Nashville Oktoberfest, the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States. “There is a lot of opportunity to get involved at Owen,” Olivia says, “and the faculty actually want you to succeed. It feels like one big family, which is one of the reasons my experience at Owen has been so enjoyable.”

Less than a year after committing to enter a totally new field, Olivia had landed a marketing communications internship at Cargill — a multinational company at the intersection of agriculture, food, nutrition and sustainability — that allowed her to combine her new knowledge in marketing with expertise from her undergraduate major.

Fun Fact: Olivia studied abroad in Vietnam.

“It feels like one big family, which is one of the reasons my experience at Owen has been so enjoyable.”