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Going Civilian with People Who Can Relate

Army vet Stillwell relies on Owen community to help transition to new career

Tiffany Stillwell

Vanderbilt MBA 2020

For Tiffany Stillwell, transitioning from active military duty to business school was difficult and “even a little scary.”

At West Point and in her subsequent Army career, she was never exposed to accounting, economics, or finance—fundamentals she would need for the new career she wanted to build in healthcare. “Transitioning out of the military, you’re trying to figure out what civilian life looks like. Who am I outside of my uniform? It’s so important to have a group of people who can relate. I knew I wanted to be in a place where I felt like there were other people like me who would be there to help me during this season of change.”

That sense of community and solidarity influenced Tiffany’s choice of Vanderbilt. “During my campus tour, I had an opportunity to talk to a handful of veterans, and they really made me feel welcomed and already part of the Owen family. I felt nervous getting out of the Army, and it was comforting to chat with fellow veterans and hear about their successful transitions. I truly believe there is no other MBA program that has a closer veterans group.”

While Tiffany, who balances her studies with her role as mother to two young children, is active in the Owen Armed Forces Club, she has also found the close collegiality at the school isn’t limited to the veterans. Her fellow students, she says, are “genuine and just normal, down-to-earth people,” and “the professors know your first name, will make time to help you, and genuinely care about your learning.

“Coming back to school, I was intimidated about the course load and schoolwork, but after seeing how this place was so collaborative and people actually cared and wanted to help each other, I was sold.”

Fun Fact: As a hobby, Tiffany loves baking banana bread (a family favorite) with her two young children.

“I truly believe there is no other MBA program that has a closer veterans' group.”