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Flying into Global Business

Corporate jet professional expands horizons

Stephen Humphrey
Program Manager at Sierra Nevada Corporation

Vanderbilt Global Executive MBA 2013

When private corporate jets need maintenance, Stephen Humphrey manages the process for their owners, serving as a liaison between clients and maintenance facilities to deliver the most cost-effective results.

A certified pilot, flight instructor and aircraft mechanic, Stephen decided to return to school after a decade in aviation. “I was looking to broaden a very technical background and gain the business acumen to evolve and advance my career to the next level,” he says.

He had looked at business schools in Chicago, but when he had an opportunity to move to Nashville he began focusing on Vanderbilt. “Knowing the importance of a B-school’s reputation, I seriously considered only Owen,” he says. “The Americas MBA program sealed the deal. After an expat assignment in Europe and regular dealings with our clients from Europe and South America, I could not expand the opportunity to broaden my international business exposure and network through the residency style of the Americas program and the partnering schools.”

He credits the AMBA program with improving not only his business knowledge but also his leadership and other abilities. As an example, he cites the skill of having the “missing conversation” to understand exactly what colleagues mean, clarifying expectations and seeing that people working together are on the same page. That skill became especially important during Stephen’s second year, when only two of his five AMBA team members were native English speakers.

“The Americas program is special,” he says, “because not only are you able to take advantage of all that Vanderbilt offers but you also quadruple your network with people from across the Americas. As the world becomes smaller, this benefit is hard not to miss.”