Our Stories

Making a profitable move from the nonprofit world

Vanderbilt network paid off even before Terranicia Holmes joined it

Terranicia Holmes
Sr. Digital Communications Planner, Events at Gartner

Vanderbilt Master of Marketing 2017

It wasn’t until after she graduated from college and worked in the nonprofit sector in her native Atlanta that Terranicia Holmes realized she loved marketing. Then she faced a tough decision about the best path forward: a Masters program in marketing or an MBA.

“I was at a point where I knew I needed to make a transition, but I was struggling to secure a marketing job in the for-profit sector,” says Terranicia. “I had reservations about the MMark program. I was set on getting an MBA and saw the MMark program as a tangent. I didn’t want to do a one-year program and then have to return a few years later for an MBA.”

After some serious reflection, Terranicia concluded that she needed to act right away rather than gain the extra year or two of work experience she believed she needed to be a strong candidate for a top MBA program.

As it happened, Terranicia’s mentor in the Atlanta nonprofit world, Amy Jorgensen Conlee, is an Owen graduate. Through Amy, Terranicia learned about the MMark program and attended an Owen “Closing Bell” event in Atlanta, which cemented her decision to come to Vanderbilt.

“I wanted to build a strong foundational knowledge of marketing, and this program felt like the best chance to do that,” Terranicia says. “I could start a new chapter in my professional life, get a great education, and be part of a community that would support me throughout my career.”

As someone who says she tends to jump in with both feet when trying new experiences (she trained for Nashville’s half-marathon – her first -- during her time in the program), Terranicia hasn’t looked back. “This program has been a great way to combine my liberal arts education with my marketing knowledge. It has taught me how to be adaptable while still achieving the goals I have set out for myself. I’ve been exposed to new opportunities that I wasn’t even aware of a year ago, and I now have the tools necessary to explore these interests.”



Fun Fact: When she’s not using her free time for running, Terranicia practices yoga and meditation and wants to compete in an Ironman triathlon someday.

“I could start a new chapter in my life, get a great education, and be part of a community that would support me throughout my career.”