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Preparing for the Next Stage

Rasmussen gains business skills to bring back to New York

Taylor Rasmussen
Associate (Chase Associate Program), J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Vanderbilt MBA 2023

Taylor Rasmussen (he/they) is passionate about the theater. In New York, where he began working as an actor in 2017, Taylor appeared in more than 200 live performances, four feature films, four short films, and two network TV shows (including Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). They also originated two leading transmasculine roles and authored what they describe as a “queer prequel” to Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” for a summer festival production.

But COVID-19 took a heavy toll on the theatrical community. “The pandemic drove a need for consistency and financial stability that I didn’t have before,” says Taylor. As he contemplated his options, “I thought about how to marry what I wanted with what I needed,” he says. And that led them to business school.

“Long term, giving back to my theater community is my goal,” Taylor says, “whether that’s stepping in as a sponsor or a producer or opening a theater company somewhere down the line with a few close friends. To make an impact with either of those things, I needed to learn a lot about business.”

Taylor was drawn to Vanderbilt’s Human and Organizational Performance concentration—particularly, he says, the blending of theory and practice with a people-focused application. They also chose the program for its small class size. “I knew going into business school that a tight sense of community was important to me.”

That’s precisely what he found. “The professors, my classmates, and the LDP and CMC teams all know who we are,” Taylor says. “The education is personalized, and people here will make time for you.” Looking back, he counts his favorite memories from his Vanderbilt experience as “the late nights talking with close friends I would never have met otherwise.”

With his experience and a post-graduation position with J.P. Morgan Chase, Taylor felt ready to pursue his long-term goals. “I never thought I had the skills, let alone the interest, to work in financial services,” they say. “Now I’m excited to learn more about what makes that world tick and to bring what I learn back to the theater world. I’ve heard more diverse opinions in these past two years than I did in my time in New York. I have a new appreciation for how to run an organization effectively and practically. I feel career stability I never had as a freelancer, and I feel excited about where I’m going next.”

Fun Fact: Taylor’s hobbies include board games, snowboarding, creative writing, and baking.

“I feel career stability I never had as a freelancer, and I feel excited about where I’m going next.”