Why Owen for Attorneys? Meet Judd Peak.
Name: Judd Peak
Graduation Year: 2015
Track: Executive Edge
Company: Frost-Arnett Company
Title: Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel
Judd Peak is a 2015 alumnus of the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program. After spending a large portion of his career as an attorney at a variety of high profile law firms, Judd wanted to broaden his perspective while continuing to leverage his experience in law and professional services. After completing the program, he utilized his newfound skills in finance, operations and human resources to successfully transition into a C-Suite leadership position at a healthcare based law firm. His experience, he feels, “brought him out of the insular legal world,” and gave him a deeper business toolkit that he could apply to make an impact in his new leadership role.
What convinced you that you could or should the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program?
Vanderbilt is, simply, the best school in the region. Having already attended Vanderbilt Law School, I was familiar with the University. I knew the quality of the education would be superb, the pedigree of the name top notch, and the alumni network vast.
Personally, I wanted to obtain a degree in business to assist in pivoting my career from purely legal to more of a corporate strategic role.
What was the greatest hurdle you overcame to start or finish the program?
I was adequately prepped on the degree of work and time constraints the Executive MBA program puts on its students. The program forced me to become better at time management, since my personal time was sparse. Balancing school, family, and a full-time job is difficult but I considered it to be investment time that would pay off for the rest of my professional life.
What advice would you give to someone considering Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA program?
Make sure your family fully understands the commitment it will take for two years. I was lucky enough to have a wife who was incredibly supportive. For children, there will be missed soccer games and school events, but they will also witness your drive and commitment to a goal, which I feel was an important lesson for my kids. Be sure to get their ‘buy in’ before starting the program!
How has your career been enhanced or your approach to business changed as a result of your Vanderbilt EMBA experience?
The Executive MBA education has given me a sophistication in business that, to some extent, I felt like I was faking. It’s easy to drop buzz words like “opportunity cost” and “economies of scale” without truly understanding those concepts. To reach higher levels within a corporation, you need to gain a broad understanding of different areas – finance, operations, human resources, etc. The Executive MBA program succeeded in giving me that knowledge and bringing me out of the insular legal world.