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Real Humans of Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Business MBA Class of 2025

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vanderbilt business school 2025Zach Terry, Vanderbilt Owen MBA Class of 2025

Age: 26
Hometown: Haslett, Michigan
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Inventory Analyst, Target, 2 years; Senior Partner Operations analyst, Wayfair US, 1 Year; Senior analyst, EU Retail Technology and Analytics, Wayfair EU, 1.5 years

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was at a point in my professional life where I was ready to make an industry pivot in my career. After nearly 5 years in the retail space, I wanted to pursue an opportunity that was more personally meaningful, which for me is something within the Healthcare Industry. I had also spent the last 18 months living and working in Europe, which was a brilliant experience – but I was ready to return to the US. Returning to business school was a natural (and necessary) transition point for me both professionally and personally. 

Why did you choose Vanderbilt Owen? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The people, the strength of the Vanderbilt brand, and how strong Owen’s program (and the city of Nashville) is for healthcare recruiting. From day one, I’ve been blown away by the talent, warmth, and community feel of the people here at Owen. I was also interested in a school that had such a strong reputation beyond its business school. Lastly, Nashville is an incredible city to be in if you’re interested in healthcare.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Business MBA Class of 2025?
Every Thursday at Owen, we have an event called Closing Bell, where the whole community comes together. I championed the offering of non-alcoholic beer at Closing Bell, so all members of the community could participate and feel included, even if they didn’t want to consume alcohol.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
While I was living in Boston, I had several roommates. Two of them were a couple from Lithuania. When I moved to Berlin a year later, I got to travel and meet back up with them in their home of Vilnius, Lithuania. It was fun to get to see their culture and home, and for our friendship to come full circle.

Post-MBA career interests:
I’m using the MBA to pivot both industries and functions, post-MBA I want to be working in finance within the healthcare industry.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I started thinking about my essays really early. Looking at past year’s essay questions can help you get a sense of what the upcoming questions will look like, and having a plethora of time to think through them helped me immensely. Both in writing them and managing the stress of the application process.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?vanderbilt mba
In my preliminary research of schools, I would weigh rankings less heavily and focus more on how the school makes me feel and how will it help me achieve my career goals. Vanderbilt treated me like a person – other schools made me feel like a number.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The wait between application submission and application decision. What helped me get through the wait was leaning into the things I wouldn’t be able to do (as much) while in business school. For me, that manifested as traveling throughout Europe.

What is your initial impression of the Vanderbilt Owen students/culture/community?
I am highly, highly impressed. The quality and caliber of the student body at Owen is matched only by their warmth and personability. That creates a culture and community that is simultaneously high achieving, but incredibly supportive.

What is one thing you have learned about Vanderbilt Owen that has surprised you?
The high percentage of students that are on some sort of scholarship at the program. Just one more instance of there being a wealth (no pun intended) of opportunity available at Owen.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
That I’m going to miss a really cool/meaningful/impactful (take your pick) opportunity. There’s just so much that you can get involved in and pursue in business school. Fortunately, the 2nd years at Owen are extremely welcoming and have been a great resource for helping to identify what is a good fit for me.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
First and foremost are the people at Owen. Second to that is the leadership development program – every student gets four individual coaching sessions with an executive coach, and I think that’s an incredible resource I haven’t seen offered elsewhere.

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.