Our Stories

Seeking Clarity, Finding Direction

Accelerator helps Raquel Cadena plan out her next steps

Raquel Cadena
Al and Azure Consultant, Microsoft

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2019

Raquel Cadena applied to a variety of summer business programs. Some, she says, focused on classes and building technical skills. Others emphasized coaching and mentoring, and some offered built-in internships. She was accepted to all of them but ultimately chose Vanderbilt. “I was really looking for a program that would bring clarity to my uncertainty about how to place myself in the work field,” she says. “Since I did not know exactly what I wanted to do after I graduated, Accelerator best fit my needs for personal growth.” Raquel believed that Accelerator might offer some of the clarity she sought through the opportunity to work with students from different backgrounds and with different perspectives and ideas. There was something else that attracted her to Vanderbilt, too. “I loved the fact that we would be able to work with companies rather than for companies,” she says.

The experience was even better than she expected. “Before coming, I was very apprehensive and nervous about the people I would meet and how I would do working with companies,” Raquel says. “By week three, I had never been happier.

“From Owen, I am able to take home skills in leadership, communication, working in a group, problem-solving, and interpersonal relationships. My organizing and time-management skills have also improved. As we worked on projects each week, something we learned is being able to have a plan and figuring out the steps to reach it. I have made amazing friends, and the professors are very open to questions, talking about life experiences, and helping you as you figure out your next steps in life.”



Fun Fact: Growing up, Raquel split her time between Colombia and Chicago.

Before coming, I was very apprehensive and nervous about the people I would meet and how I would do working with companies. By week three, I had never been happier.