Our Stories

Networking toward California

Hard work pays off in dream internship

Skylar Saffold
Director of Brand Marketing, @Solv. & Senior Product Marketing Manager, @One Medical

Vanderbilt MBA 2013

Skylar Flax-Davidson had what many would consider a dream job. As publicist for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants in her hometown of Washington, D.C., a major work activity involved eating and entertaining journalists. “I ate a lot!” she exclaims. She also was able to find a professional outlet for her hobby, food photography, and saw her images published in a variety of publications.

Her work in public relations piqued her interest in marketing, consumers and an MBA. Vanderbilt quickly rose to the top of her list. “When I came for Welcome Weekend, it sealed the deal,” she recalls. “I felt a connection with the faculty and my soon-to-be classmates. I met my future best friends that weekend.”

Her first year only reinforced her decision. “Owen has given me a sense of accomplishment and belonging,” says Skylar, who recently added scuba diving to running, yoga and tennis among her favorite recreational activities. “Everyone works hard here, but you don’t ever feel like you’re directly competing with one another. Even when my friends were applying for the same marketing internship, we were practicing our stories, giving each other advice on our cover letters and providing support to one another.”

Skylar approached her internship with a plan. She wanted to work in San Francisco for a company “that allowed more room for creativity.” Relying heavily on Owen peer coaches and the resources of the Career Management Center, she also networked with every second-year Owen MBA student from California, looking for leads and contacts. It paid off with a marketing strategy internship with The Gap’s Old Navy business unit — in San Francisco.

“It was exactly what I wanted,” she says. Even better, Skylar was able to return to the San Fransisco area after graduation, where she accepted a position as an associate brand manager at Diamond Foods.