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Jason DeFoor

Jason DeFoor

Vanderbilt MBA 2013

Business Analyst, Gas and Power Marketing at ExxonMobil

Hitting the Ground Running

Army aviation officer gets down to business

Before he became a Vanderbilt MBA student, Jason DeFoor was an aviation officer in the US army. The Alabama native and West Point graduate — who is eager to talk about his two young sons and smiles broadly when describing his wife Jamie as a “trooper” — served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But “after ten years in the military,” he explains, “I knew it was time for a change.”

Jason’s undergraduate major was business, and he had long felt “pulled” in that direction. As he approached the end of his military career, Jason began weighing the differences he perceived between the military and business worlds. “In the army,” Jason points out, “it’s not really a meritocracy. In some aspects it is, but in the business world you are directly rewarded or evaluated based on your performance.”

As he explored business school possibilities, Jason immediately recognized that Owen is “a fantastic opportunity [and] a great place to meet driven, intelligent people.” Once here, he “hit the ground running.” Though he grinningly acknowledges that “business school is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be,” he says that “the classes I thought I would like the least, it turned out that I liked the most.”

As he neared the end of his first year, Jason was excited about an upcoming summer internship with ExxonMobil. In the meantime, along with his studies, he has been busy learning to play the mandolin, enjoying Thursday night socials with Owen friends, and starting each day with “getting up to get the kids dressed for school.”