Our Stories

Becoming a Down-to-Earth Leader

LDP and Owen culture play roles in Hathorn’s development

Philip Hathorn
Consultant, Bain & Co.

Vanderbilt MBA 2018

As a 20-something manager at a large corporation, Philip Hathorn could sense that his undergraduate degree hadn’t fully equipped him with all of the skills he would need to advance his career, from understanding the company’s financial position to leading employees who reported to him. His career mentors advised him: “It’s time to pursue an MBA.”

He was attracted to Vanderbilt by the program’s reputation and emphasis on leadership development. He noticed something about leadership in the school’s culture on his campus visit. “Even the people who were the highest achievers were still humble and down-to-earth enough to stop and greet strangers and welcome them,” Philip says. “That was important to me because the type of leader I want to become is one who is down-to-earth, humble, and not closed off or pretentious.”

Looking back, Philip regards the Leadership Development Program as “one of the most beneficial experiences at Owen,” with “an immense amount of feedback” through diagnostics tests, a leadership book tailored to his needs, and one-on-one meetings with a professional coach. “The curriculum,” he adds, “helps develop students into business leaders with an intimate knowledge of how business really works.”

What he gained at Vanderbilt enabled Philip to land “an incredible first post-MBA job” as a consultant with Bain & Co. “Because Vanderbilt helped connect me with Bain,” he says, “I now have the opportunity to take my leadership development and business learning even further. Vanderbilt has prepared me to feel comfortable doing almost anything — from building a career in management consulting to working in a corporate role in almost any function to starting my own company. What Vanderbilt has done is create a myriad of future opportunities for me that I can explore and jump into at any time.”

Fun Fact: Before enrolling at Owen, Philip visited the 500-year-old house of his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather in Hinterzarten, Germany.

“Vanderbilt has prepared me to feel comfortable doing almost anything.”