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Real Humans of Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA Class of 2022

Caitlin Chin, Vanderbilt Owen MBA Class of 2022

Age: 30
Hometown: Harwich, MA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Pennsylvania – Health and Societies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 1 year with a non-profit organization that helps people who are experiencing homelessness; 5 years with a hospital working as a medical social worker

Why business school? Why now?
Since high school, my dream was to pursue a dual MBA/MPH to go into healthcare management in a geriatric setting. However, during my junior year of undergrad, I began volunteering with Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that helps people who are experiencing homelessness. After taking a full-time position with them, I was motivated to go back to school for my Masters of Social Work. I interned in a prison and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where I then worked for almost five years and the last two and a half of those years were spent with the kidney transplant team. I absolutely loved the opportunity of getting to support transplant recipients and donors through the entirety of the process, from the time they came in for their initial evaluation until years after their surgery. My job allowed me the opportunity to participate in patient selection, morbidity and mortality, and quality control meetings, which truly opened up my eyes to the inner workings of how interdisciplinary care can cohesively weave together a patient’s plan of care. It was during my time with the transplant team that I realized that I could have a larger impact on the healthcare system and the transplant population if I were to go back to business school so I could move into a management or operations role. While obtaining my MBA had been on my mind since high school, I felt that I truly felt a passion for the transplant population and I knew the timing was perfect to help me move forward with my career aspirations.

Why Owen? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? 
As soon as I spoke to an employee at Owen admissions, I knew that the school was the perfect fit for me. Owen prides itself on its personal scale, and my initial encounter with admissions proved that to me. I felt like they were truly invested in me as a person and how Owen would be able to help facilitate my academic and professional goals. I was immediately connected to other students who were on an academic and internship path I wished to pursue. Each student was always more than willing to chat and to facilitate conversations with other students that they thought would be valuable. Throughout the whole application process, the employee in admissions who I initially spoke to checked in with me and was an invaluable resource. As someone without any sort of business background, I knew I wanted a smaller class size and the opportunity to really get to know my peers and professors. To top it all off, Owen offers a Practice of Transplant Administration Course. The chance to interweave my previous experience with the transplant team into a business class was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I think that my background differentiates me from my peers at Owen. While there are many individuals with a healthcare background, I think that I am able to provide insight into how the healthcare system affects patients and providers at the ground-level. My time as a social worker helped me to grow my interpersonal skills, which will be invaluable as I move into a leadership role.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’m the Pennsylvania state record holder for women’s bench press in my weight class.

Post-MBA career interests?
After graduation, I hope to work in an operations role in the healthcare industry. I am absolutely thrilled to be interning with DaVita next summer, which will allow me the opportunity to work with the renal population again.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to speak with Owen admissions and several students before making my decision. They truly were able to provide insight into the culture of the school, which is such an important aspect of this experience.

–One thing you would change or do differently? 
I wish I could go back and refocus my studying for the GMAT. I was inundated with a variety of test prep materials, which was incredibly overwhelming. I took in-person classes, online classes, and had a variety of study books. If able to redo the process, I would focus on the Kaplan in-person classes I took, in addition to the quantitative study materials I used through Target Test Prep, which were a lifesaver.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? 
I wish I could have skipped taking the GMAT. I knew as an applicant, there was so much more to me than a standardized test could show. I was able to get through it by setting a study schedule for myself, which included taking days off and hunkering down and taking a practice test once every few weeks.

What is your initial impression of Owen’s students/culture/community?
Owen’s culture is extremely welcoming and supportive. Whenever I have needed support from a professor or peer, there have been countless times when someone has stepped up to help. For example, during our first mod, our accounting professor held office hours every Friday afternoon, often for hours, to make sure that all of our questions were answered. I truly felt that he wanted to help us understand the information and succeed, which can be said of all my professors thus far. It’s an incredible feeling to know that despite being thrown into courses with no prior relevant experience, there is always a community of support around you.

One thing you have learned about Owen that has surprised you? 
Whenever I have found an Owen alum via LinkedIn that I have wanted to connect with, I am always pleasantly surprised at how willing they are to have a conversation with me. Owen does a wonderful job at cultivating this sort of culture, which has been extremely beneficial while networking.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I was most anxious about taking the core classes, like finance, accounting, and econ since I have no prior background with such material. However, as I previously noted, the support I’ve gotten from both my professors and peers has helped tremendously.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m just grateful and excited to be back in an academic setting surrounded by brilliant classmates with diverse backgrounds. Earning my MBA was something that has been on my mind for almost 15 years so I’m thrilled to be making my dream come to fruition

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Vanderbilt / Owen

About the Author

Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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