First in restaurants and then in hotels, Rachel Kippenbrock has worked in the hospitality field since she was 17. After completing her undergraduate degree in 2010, she joined the revenue management department of Starwood Hotels, moving quickly up the ranks from revenue coordinator to manager to regional manager.
In fact, her rapid rise drove her decision to return to school. “I felt that, with multiple promotions so fast,” she says, “there must be gaps in my knowledge. Also, I wanted to continue this fast track to the top and knew that an MBA would help.”
She was drawn to the prestige of the Vanderbilt name, the rigor of the curriculum and “the exposure that the Americas program offers” to other industries and business cultures. But ultimately, she says, “I chose Vanderbilt because of the care and support I felt. Getting an MBA is a difficult journey, and I knew I’d need support from every angle.”
Nearly halfway into that journey, even before the international residency of the second year, Rachael was feeling both the support and the benefits she sought. Early in the program, she learned she had been hand-selected for a newly created position in her department. Her new knowledge and skills have already helped her streamline processes and improve efficiency and top-line revenue.
“With every single course I’ve had, I’ve been able to bring at least one major idea, discovery or item learned back to my workplace to implement a change,” she says. “Every weekend at Owen, I learned things are directly applicable to improving how I do things, pushing me to be my best.”
In fact, her degree made her a prime candidate for a major promotion she received within a few months of graduation — a role that gives her revenue management responsibilities for Central American and part of South America. “It’s a practical application of my Americas MBA,” Rachel says, “and an amazing career growth opportunity.”
“Every weekend at Owen, I’m learning things are directly
applicable to improving how I do things, pushing me to be my best.”