VU2MBA program provides Vanderbilt graduates with new path to graduate business degree


Gracie Pitman, Campus Editor

The VU2MBA program opened its application this winter for members of the senior class. The program will allow Vanderbilt students to come back to get an MBA from Owen Graduate School of Management after a few years of work experience. VU2MBA is not a distinct degree program, but rather a path way to the Owen MBA program for current seniors.

To gain admission to the program, students must be high performing academically and have a score of over 700 on the GMAT. If admitted, the student will graduate and spend time working in their field, while remaining in contact with staff of Owen annually to discuss their progress at work and decide when to return to school. According to Chief Admissions Officer Tami Fassinger, the aim of the pathway is to encourage students to gain work experience prior to attending graduate school.  

Tami Fassinger, Owen Chief Admissions Officer

“It’s very important to the recruiters and people who hire [that students have work experience.] The typical MBA has five years of experience now,” Fassigner said. “And to be in the classroom and to be able to contribute to the classroom experience if you don’t have work experience, number one you can’t really contribute at the same level. Number two, we worry about your employability. I don’t want to take somebody’s money and then have them be frustrated because they’re going after an employment market that’s not looking for them. I think that is really wrong.”

By applying to the Owen MBA program as seniors through the VU2MBA pathway, Vanderbilt seniors have the opportunity to receive informational coaching during their senior year, secure their in-person interview while still on campus and take the GMAT at a reduced rate.  Due to the statistic that students do better testing while still in school because of recent coursework and testing in classees, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has decided to offer the test for $150 to students, which is a lower price than offered in other situations. Applicants, if admitted, must submit a $2,000 deposit by Aug. 5th.

The VU2MBA program is not the only post-undergraduate pathway available in Owen. Students also have the opportunity to attend a five year degree program. The degrees available are MS Finance, MAcc Assurance, MAcc Valuation and Master of Marketing. An MBA can also be received in a 3/2 program where students spend three years undergraduate and two in Owen. Most students choose not to do this and choose to gain work experience before going back to get their MBA.

Undergraduate students are also able to do the Business Minor, which is taught by Owen professors. Students can also attend Accelerator during the summer to “test-drive” business school with business projects.

“There are many great ways to explore a business career, and this is one of them… So many people go into business careers, I read that as high as 80% of people end up in business careers,” Fassinger said. “But if you look at the number of people who focus on a business undergrad major, only a fraction of that.”