2019 Best EMBAs: Alan Myers, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Alan Myers

Owen School of Management, Vanderbilt University

Physically active, family-oriented IT leader focused on innovation and connecting business and IT strategy.”

Age: 49

Hometown: Collierville, TN

Family Members: Mary Lou Myers (wife), Tyler Myers (son), Danielle Myers (daughter)

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a scratch golfer.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BS, Systems Engineering, University of Virginia

Where are you currently working? IT Director, International Paper

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Honors Graduate, Owen EMBA, Vanderbilt

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m really proud of my two cohesive and high-functioning MBA teams (1st year Vandy team and 2nd-year International team). I hope that I was a positive common denominator in that happening.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My work to drive engagement and performance improvement in our IT organization through the creation or expansion of our efforts around employee education, inclusion, and innovation.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Bruce Barry, Ethics Professor – The class topics were so relevant, class exercises and discussion were very interesting, and I enjoyed his teaching style.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Too many good ones to pick. I applied many immediately to my job, including Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Economics, and Innovation.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose Vanderbilt for the location, reputation, quality of student, and quality of faculty.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The intellect, energy, and drive to learn from my fellow classmates, and the relationships I’ve built with them.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? To be a continuous learner every day. It is incredible how much I was able to learn and apply to my job during this program. That hunger to keep learning needs to continue now that my formal education is completed.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? The juggling was eased by the timing of entering the program (my kids were already in college), combined with strong support from my company and terrific support from my wife. All of that helped to take away any guilt that I was neglecting other elements of my life when I need to spend time on school. The drives back-and-forth from Memphis to Nashville were the biggest grind for me, especially Saturday nights after a 10-hour class day. This grind was eased by frequent company from my wife and some really good podcasts!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Three things: 1. Have a defined purpose in mind for what you will do with the MBA, be it a career change, becoming an entrepreneur, or just growing specific skills that you need to grow within your current company. Everyone’s motivation is different, but if the only motivation is just to add ‘MBA’ to your credentials, you will struggle to find the motivation to complete this program. 2. Build enough work/life experience before the program to be able to apply learnings to your real-life experiences. 3. Make sure your whole team (family and work) are onboard with what you are doing.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I was a bit nervous about going back to school in my late 40s, but it turns out I was a much better student after a 25-year hiatus!

What was your biggest regret in business school? No regrets.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Megan Flynn. At a relatively young age, she models all the attributes I listed under how I’d like to be remembered by my peers.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized there were knowledge gaps (e.g. strategy, finance) keeping me from being great at my job).”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I pride myself on being that best at my current role and letting that drive the next opportunity, so that mindset will continue after Owen. I wouldn’t mind retiring ‘early’ and becoming a professor somewhere. I have always loved teaching and the vibe of being on a college campus.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Genuine, available, smart, fun and a good teammate.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list; I’m taking life as it comes and embracing each day.

What made Alan such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“I’m delighted to write a letter of recommendation for Alan Myers, one of our brightest Global Immersion EMBA students! Alan always brought his intellect, kindness, and humor to his interactions with his peers and to class discussions. I fully expect him to be tremendously successful in any endeavor he pursues; it will be interesting to watch his career continue to develop.

Alan was in the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program and he excelled in my marketing class. In particular, he’s a fine representative of our Global Immersion track—EMBAs who interact with fellow EMBAs on four different campuses (Canada, the States, Mexico, Brazil), which is a rather innovative program for today’s global students and global employers.”

Dawn Iacobucci

E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Management in Marketing


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