Family Engagement

The decision to pursue an MBA is one that is best shared with your spouse, partner or significant other. The Vanderbilt Executive MBA program is demanding and it is only with the agreement and extraordinary support of members of your family—children included—that you will be able to find the time to add “school” to a life that, to date, has only had to balance “work” and “home.”

We recognize the critical role these individuals play in your success in the program. At every opportunity, we invite them to observe and participate and we celebrate and applaud their contributions with special events, activities and awards. These begin with a family barbecue prior to enrollment and continue through to the fall as they get a chance to do the HBDI profile with Professor Dick Daft at Partner Day. From the Executive MBA Prom and an invitation to join us on our International Residency, your partner will be able to share in your transformative experience.
Marsalis Family

Cherilynne Marsalis
Pictured here with husband, Jesse, Executive MBA 2009, and Children


When we decided to start the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program, we knew going into it that there would be challenges—late nights studying and less time with the family. So, we decided early in the process that we would simplify our lives, keep our eyes on the prize and continue to support one another each day. The demands on Jesse—between work and school—were heavy, but it took a weight off of his shoulders to know that I was there to encourage him along the way and that our children would see the example that he set for them. It has given me great joy to support Jesse in furthering his education, especially because I know that he is ultimately doing it to better our family.


James SuhJames Suh
Executive MBA 2010


Here is a list of the complexities that we lived through while I attended Owen:

  • Four children (ages 5, 8, 10, 14).  
  • My wife was enrolled in a Nursing program with a scheduled graduation date of one semester after I would graduate.
  • My work routinely required 60 hours per week with surges up to 80 hours per week.
  • My most difficult challenge: Our oldest daughter, 14, just started dating.
My point is this—there are always reasons NOT to do something. When the decision has as much potential value as an MBA from Vanderbilt, not pursuing the degree can be more costly than the sacrifices required to work through the program. Besides—it is only 21 months, AND you have a phenomenal group of individuals who will be there with you, shoulder to shoulder.