Our Stories

From the Marines to Brand Marketing

At a crossroads in his career, Trevor Hunt finds his ‘equalizer’ at Vanderbilt

Trevor Hunt
Product Owner, Confirmation

Vanderbilt MBA 2017

In Afghanistan — during the culmination of a 10-year career in the Marines — Trevor Hunt oversaw intelligence collection and training that supported Special Forces, Navy SEAL units and Marine Special Operations teams. After his third combat deployment, he was selected for promotion to Major and a spot in a prestigious career military school.

He had reached a crossroads: leave then or remain in the military until retirement. “I wanted to pursue a path that wasn’t strictly drawn out like the military,” says Trevor, who had majored in Business Management in college. “Still young enough to start a second career, I chose to seek out a new challenge and take the risk.”

But the transition to the civilian workforce was much tougher than Trevor expected. “While employers were very excited to interview me,” he says, “they were also hesitant to hire me due to my lack of any industry-specific job experience.”

The job search convinced him that an MBA would be his “equalizer.” During the year after he left the Marines, Trevor researched both career pathways and MBA programs. He was drawn to Vanderbilt, he says, in part because of the program’s “national reputation,” small class size and the “friendly, collaborative student body.”

He found his calling, he says, after attending a corporate-sponsored, pre-MBA camp on brand management in the summer before he enrolled. Vanderbilt’s Career Management Center helped him prepare for the camp, and by the time it was over Trevor had an internship offer even before he started school.

His first year in the program only solidified his belief he had made the right choice of careers and schools. “I found several correlations with my previous intelligence work,” he says, “from targeting segments, developing markets, analyzing behavior and actions, developing analytical data to support decisions, and constantly monitoring and recommending actions based on observations and statistical projections. Each marketing class I took and company I talked with throughout the year have reinforced this for me, and now I’m solidly focused on becoming a Brand Manager at a major CPG firm.”

Fun Fact: During his time in the Marines, Trevor once had lunch with the Secretary of Defense, who picked him up in a helicopter, and talked with him about the war in Afghanistan. The secretary had a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke, Trevor recalls.

“Still young enough to start a second career, I chose to seek out a new challenge and take the risk.”