Our Stories

Bridging a ‘Language Gap’ in Business

Healthcare compliance expert broadens skills for bigger impact

Yvonne Uduba
Finance Operations – Project and Process Manager, Google

Vanderbilt MBA 2021

In Nigeria, Yvonne Uduba applied her pharmacy training as a consultant, advising pharmaceutical companies on regulatory compliance issues. Sometimes, she found, compliance created conflict with a company’s goals for product launch and profit. “Essentially,” she says, “we were speaking two different languages. I felt that something was missing. After a deep, introspective analysis and conversations with my mentors, I decided an MBA was the right choice for me. I wanted to learn about how businesses function, to understand the difference between corporate strategy and business strategy, to strengthen my analytical and problem-solving skills, and to gain skills in finance, brand management, and marketing.”

As she looked at MBA programs, Yvonne narrowed her choices to schools with “a strong presence in healthcare administration” and with locations in livable cities that housed an international airport. (Since her parents live in Nigeria and her siblings are in the Philippines, she says, “I didn’t want to travel five hours within the U.S. before boarding an international flight.”) These needs put Vanderbilt at the top of her list.

Looking back on her experience, she says, “I have gained so much knowledge. I know if I had stayed home and taken online courses, I wouldn’t have known even half the things that I know from coming to the MBA program.” She cites the opportunity to work with an executive coach in the Leadership Development Program, the accessibility of professors (“They’re always willing to help, even if you haven’t taken their classes,” she says), and the opportunity to take part in the Deloitte National Human Capital Case Competition (her Vanderbilt team earned second place).

In particular, Yvonne says, “Learning from other people’s work experiences and how problem-solving strategies are transferrable between industries” was an enormous advantage she gained from the program. “I have classmates who are engineers, veterans, people from product marketing, and those from all walks of life. Having these people with such different experiences made it a very enriching classroom experience.”

Yvonne also credits the program with building her confidence—and not just because of the knowledge she gained. “Being at Vanderbilt,” she says, “has taught me not to second-guess myself because I am a woman. In school, we are treated equally, and I don’t have to fight for a place.”

While her pharmacy experience led her initially to seek an MBA, Yvonne found that Vanderbilt opened doors to a variety of industries. “With the knowledge and exposure I have gotten here,” she says, “I was able to get offers for HR, Healthcare, FinOps, and even land a job at Google. It was all very exciting.”

Fun Fact: Yvonne is a connoisseur of chocolates who can often guess by taste what region of the world a particular chocolate came from.

Being at Vanderbilt has taught me not to second-guess myself because I am a woman.