Our Stories

Looking for a ‘Continuous Path for Learning’

Ty Pirkle came to Vanderbilt seeking to make a greater impact

Ty Pirkle
Senior Consultant, Optum

Vanderbilt MBA 2021

Ty Pirkle was eager to pivot “into a more dynamic role with greater impact” than his position as a computed tomography (CT) field engineer offered. He was particularly interested in a consulting career, which, he believes, “provides opportunities for ever-changing projects and teams and a continuous path for learning.”

Ty was interested in remaining in the healthcare field, which made Vanderbilt’s healthcare concentration attractive to him. But after visiting several other top schools, he says, what influenced his decision most was that “the small community aspect of Vanderbilt was parallel to none. It is rewarding to have the opportunity to know each and every classmate on a personal level.” Right away, he found the Healthcare Immersion Week experience extremely rewarding (one highlight for Ty was the opportunity to observe a brain tumor removal at Vanderbilt University Medical Center). Another feature of the program that offered practical experience was the consulting trek that gave Ty and other Vanderbilt MBA students the chance to meet with a number of top firms in Atlanta. The trek, Ty says, “served as a platform for understanding each consulting firm’s particular characteristics and also allowed us to prioritize and gauge our individual interests.”

The consulting focus also helped prepare Ty for another trip at the end of his first year. He served as team leader for Project Pyramid—a student-driven, cross-disciplinary program at Vanderbilt focused on alleviating global poverty. Ty’s team (which included graduate students from Owen, as well as Vanderbilt’s medical, nursing, and public policy schools) traveled to Lagos, Nigeria to offer pro bono consulting services to Advantage Health Africa. For Ty, the trip was part of that “continuous path for learning” that he had sought.

Fun Fact: In the summer before enrolling at Vanderbilt, Ty worked as a barber at a soup kitchen in Philadelphia.

It is rewarding to have the opportunity to know each and every classmate on a personal level.