Main menu

#211 Vanderbilt MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Sue Oldham

“A big part of our school mission is ‘personal scale’ which defines how we do everything… We’re a small program (~170 students/class) with big resources at Vanderbilt University… you get personal coaching, personal advising, personal, long-lasting relationships, personal wins as a student leader. There are so many personal moments of introspection, learning and feedback, and all of this takes place in a small, safe space… you won’t get lost in the program. If you’re looking to back-row it or sneak in, this is probably not the school for you. We always joke that there is no back row here.”

Sue Oldham, Associate Dean at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, discusses what makes the Vanderbilt MBA unique, the school’s admissions process, career opportunities and more.


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Program Highlights – What Makes the Vanderbilt MBA Unique? (4:40)
  • Vanderbilt MBA Admissions & Scholarships – How to Improve Your Chances? (19:30)
  • Career Opportunities at Vanderbilt – What to Know & How to Prepare (39:45)

Vanderbilt MBA Full-time MBA Highlights

(last updated July 2023)

  • Length, Intake, Size: 24-months, Fall intake, ~170 students/year
  • Typical Class: 5.3 years average work experience, 30% international with ~25 nationalities, GMAT average: 690
  • Curriculum:
    • Academic Core: 12 required core corses and 20 required electives. Choose from 4 specializations / 9 concentrations (see below). The Vanderbilt MBA academic calendar is based on a modular system of intensive courses, each seven weeks in length plus an exam week. Two “mods” equal one semester.
    • Specializations: Brand Management, Corporate Finance, Human & Organizational Performance, Investment Management
    • Concentrations: Accounting, Consumer Psychology & Marketing Analytics*, Finance*, General Management, Healthcare, Human & Organizational Performance, Marketing, Operations & Analytics*, Strategy (* STEM-designated)
    • Faculty: ~50 full-time faculty
    • Student Clubs: ~35 student clubs
    • Optional: Vanderbilt MBA also offers 6 dual degree programs: MBA/Juris Doctor, MBA/Medical Doctor, MBA/Master of Public Policy in Education, MBA/Master of Divinity, MBA/Masters in Latin American Studies
  • Admissions: 
    • Application requirements: strongly recommend 2 years of work experience, good GMAT/GRE/EA approved test waiver, TOEFL/IELTS/DuoLingo, 1 resume, 2 150-word short statements, 1 video essay, 1 recommendation, 30-minute behavioral interviews with second-year Vanderbilt MBAs
    • Application rounds: 4 application rounds between October and May
  • Careers:
    • Placement, Class of 2022: 97% received job offer w/in 3 months of graduation, $140,000 USD avg starting salary ($34,000 avg bonus), graduates experienced 120% increase in salary after 3 years; average alumni salary is $166,000 USD after 3 years
    • Top Destinations, Class of 2022: 42% South US, 17% Northeast US, 16% West US, 13% Midwest US, 9% SouthWest
    • Top Industries, Class of 2022: 34% consulting, 20% financial services, 17% technology, 13% healthcare, 9% consumer products
    • Top Functions, Class of 2022: 34% consulting, 21% finance & accounting, 15% marketing, 8% general management, 8% operations management, 5% business/data analytics
    • 172 companies hired Class of 2022 and 2023 graduates
  • Scholarships: 55 types of Full-time scholarships available each year ranging from $5,000 USD to Full Tuition; 70% of Full-time MBAs are awarded scholarships with the average award being 50% of tuition costs.
  • Rankings: Ranked #27 by US News and World Report (2023) and #44 internationally by Financial Times (2023)
  • Alumni: 145,000+ Vanderbilt Alumni with 43 alumni chapters; 9,700+ Vanderbilt MBA alumni, most live in North America
  • Tuition:  ~$131,000 USD; $200 USD application fee; estimated living costs $2,666 USD/month
  • Accreditations: AACSB

About Sue

Sue Oldham is Associate Dean at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where she is responsible for recruiting and admissions, enrollment management, academic and student affairs, and the career management center. Previously, she worked at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business as Executive Director of Recruiting & Admissions and Alumni Engagement. Before jumping into higher education, she worked over 10 years as a consultant. Sue got her B.A. in English from Rice and her MBA from Vanderbilt.

Show Notes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start Here

Most Popular

Be First to Get Updates