Accelerator FAQs

Program Information

When and where will Accelerator be held?

The 2017 Accelerator program will begin on Sunday, June 4, 2017 and end on Saturday, July 1, 2017. Accelerator is held in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.

What is Accelerator?

Accelerator is an intensive four-week business boot-camp for undergraduates and recent grads from all majors who are looking to gain insight into the intricacies of the business world through 100+ hours of business classes and 250+ hours of consulting for leading companies. In four weeks, you will help to resolve real-life issues in marketing, logistics, finance, operations and branding.

Will participating in Accelerator help me get into the Vanderbilt MBA program?

While Accelerator will help develop some of the business skills you will need in an MBA program, the admission processes are completely unrelated. Accelerator provides students the opportunity to formulate relationships with Vanderbilt MBA professors should you decide at a later time to apply to the Owen Graduate School of Management.

Is the program open to students from schools other than Vanderbilt?

Definitely. Accelerator is open to students from colleges and universities from around the country and the world. Student majors range from Arts & Sciences, Music and Engineering to Economics and Business.

What will I gain from participating in Accelerator?

Accelerator offers participants the unique opportunity to build critical business skills that cannot be learned in a typical summer internship. During the program, you will utilize “grab it and go” business learning in working with major companies on actual problems they are currently facing. Upon graduating from the program, you will emerge with a strong foundation in business etiquette, a strong business network and the confidence to enter the business world and perform at the highest level.


Can you describe the curriculum?

The program assumes students have no previous knowledge of business-related subjects and covers topics such as strategy, marketing, finance, operations, communication and teamwork. Courses are organized to complement the problems confronted in the team projects.  See our Curriculum for more.

How is the program organized?

The program operates six days a week over the span of four weeks. A day typically starts with classes that will be directly correlated to an upcoming or existing project. A typical afternoon/evening will have students participating in project launches or breakout sessions with teammates to work as consultants for the participating companies. Students will ultimately present their strategic business recommendations to top executives from the participating companies at the conclusion of a project. Additional activities include networking opportunities, guest speakers and summer internships.

How do the projects and teams work?

Students will be placed into teams of roughly eight people and also paired with a Vanderbilt Owen MBA student, who will act as a coach and mentor for the team. During the course of the program, between multiple organizations will present the students with a real challenge facing them. Together, the Accelerator teams will develop and present their solutions to top executives. The executives will rank the projects, give feedback to the participants and select a winning team. Past partners include American Airlines, Bridgestone, Lexus, Humana, Coca-Cola, Sony Music and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Who teaches in the Accelerator-Vanderbilt Summer Business Institute?

The Accelerator courses are taught by a variety of distinguished Vanderbilt University faculty members, most of whom are from the MBA program at Owen. Faculty members are available to the students throughout the entire program to serve as mentors and help lay a foundation for a career in business. See our Faculty page for more.

Do I receive grades or course credit for the program?

Students who complete the program will be awarded a certificate of completion. Please call the Accelerator office for more information on course credit for your specific school.

Will there be homework or outside reading?

No. All of the project and class work is completed during program hours. There will be times that your team will meet to prepare for presentations.

How will Accelerator strengthen my resume?

Participants will be better able to present themselves to employers as well-rounded candidates ready to make contributions on the job on day one. Students will have a wealth of experiences to draw from during interviews and will be able to list globally recognized companies that they have worked with.

Should I attend Accelerator to prepare for an MBA program?

Accelerator is not a pre-MBA program. The program is designed to provide an overview of business fundamentals and does not specialize in a specific topic area. However, students will complete more than 100 hours of MBA class work and MBA project-level work for multiple companies. Students will finish the program with a more distinct idea of their future career paths and a strong understanding of what a traditional MBA program is. In addition, Owen faculty members are available to the students throughout the program, as are Accelerator staff members, who will help students develop their resumes and networking skills and prepare for interviews.

I am majoring in X, should I apply?

Yes! Students from all majors (English, Music, Engineering, Art, History, Sciences, etc.) are encouraged to apply to the program.

Campus Life

Who will be in class with me?

Accelerator is designed to be a small, selective program allowing participants, faculty and business leaders to have multiple opportunities to interact with one another. Because of this personal involvement, the total enrollment for each Accelerator class will be kept at approximately 80 students from diverse educational backgrounds, areas of interest and achievements. The mix of students ranges from rising sophomores to recent graduates up to two years out of school.

Where will I live and eat while attending the program?

Participants are strongly encouraged to enroll in the optional on-campus housing that is offered. Regardless of your housing choice, three meals a day are catered at the Owen Graduate School of Management (or on location at a company site) and an extensive assortment of snacks and drinks is available to students throughout the program. 

I have a disability. Will I be accommodated?

Absolutely. Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university. During the application process, please request the accommodations needed and we will work with you to meet your requests and ensure that your experience is rewarding.

What is the dress code for the program? Will I need business professional clothing?

Dress is business casual during classes and meetings, but business professional clothing will be required on occasion, as well as casual, comfortable clothing. You will be given a list of necessary items prior to arrival.


What are the admissions criteria? How selective is the program?

Applicants must have completed at least one year of college studies. Additionally, recent college graduates up to two years out of school will be considered for admission. Accelerator looks for students with a strong record of achievement, a thirst for knowledge and the ability to bring energy and a positive attitude to this intense program. See our Class Profile for more information.

When is the application deadline?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through the fall and spring.  Accelerator is a competitive program and spaces are limited. We encourage you to apply early for priority in the application review and interview process. Find application deadlines here.

How do I apply to the program?

Complete and submit an online application. You will be contacted by a member of the Accelerator team to schedule a personal interview.

Is a hard copy of the Accelerator application available?

No. We do not offer hard copies of the application. You must complete our online application.

How much does the program cost? What does my fee cover?

The program costs $9,000, which covers tuition, all materials and meals and travel while at the program. Students are encouraged to stay in Vanderbilt on-campus housing for an additional $1,250. Additional expenses may include your travel to and from Nashville, as well as dry cleaning and laundry.

Do you offer financial aid or payment plan options?

Accelerator offers partial scholarships that range from $1,000 to $3,500. Scholarships are need and merit based and require an additional essay in the application. Additionally, SallieMae and Wells Fargo have established loans for the Accelerator program. For additional information, please call the Accelerator staff at 615.322.6795.

Who should write a letter of recommendation?

Each applicant must have at least one letter of recommendation from a professor who has taught you in the classroom, a faculty advisor or someone who has supervised you in a work setting. The second letter of recommendation can be from a personal or professional peer.

Do you interview candidates?

Yes. Interviews are part of the application process. Upon submitting your online application, you will be contacted by a member of the Accelerator admissions team to schedule your personal interview.

Do I need to take the GMAT to attend Accelerator?

No. GMAT scores are not required for admission to Accelerator.

I can't get an official transcript by the deadline. What should I do?

You may submit an unofficial transcript with your application package initially. Please request that your school send an official transcript to the address below:

    Owen Graduate School of Management
    Vanderbilt University
    Accelerator-Vanderbilt Summer Business Institute   
    401 21st Avenue South
    Nashville, Tennessee 37203  

Can I apply if I am an international student?

Absolutely. Accelerator welcomes international students from all majors.

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