Our Stories

Opening Doors He Never Knew Existed

Skelton discovers new pathways during Vanderbilt experience

Tyler Skelton
Senior Manager - Customer Experience Strategy, Mobilitas Insurance

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

In 2017, Tyler Skelton was managing investment operations for the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater in his native state, when he hit a plateau and looked for direction. His boss gave him two pieces of career advice that resonated with him. Get an MBA, he said. And get out of Oklahoma and into the wider business world.

Unsure whether he really wanted to apply to graduate schools, Tyler visited Vanderbilt and liked what he saw. “Students were having conversations everywhere, groups were eating lunch together in the common areas, and the interactions in the classroom seemed like everyone knew each other,” he says. “I could tell the students were close. That was the thing I was looking for most.”

As he looked back on his time at Vanderbilt, and ahead to moving with his wife to the Chicago area for a position with Allstate, Tyler believes that his initial impression served him well. While he loved his classroom experience, “The best part of Owen is the students,” he says. “Connecting with people and forming friendships I hope to keep as I go forward in life has been amazing.” The program greatly expanded his opportunities, Tyler believes—and not just because of a Vanderbilt degree. “I have discovered a lot of paths and opportunities I never knew existed,” he says.

Some of those paths grew from his experience in the student-led Project Pyramid, which applies market approaches to help alleviate global poverty. Tyler, who served as chair in his second year, was responsible for planning the class, recruiting students, and finding quality partners around the world. “This was probably the greatest leadership experience I gained from Owen, and I was able to apply a lot of things I learned in class,” says Tyler, who spent time in Ethiopia and Greece for Project Pyramid. It was one of the highlights of his MBA experience—so much so that, as he prepared to leave Nashville, he was already planning to volunteer with a social venture nonprofit after settling in Chicago.

Fun Fact: Tyler, an avid motorcycle rider, once made a 3,000-mile solo trip through the Southwestern United States.

I could tell the students were close. That was the thing I was looking for most.