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Karen Sahetya

Karen Sahetya

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2012

President & CEO, Licensing Unlimited LLC


Gaining License to Excel

Learning, C-Team loom large for Sahetya


For Karen Sahetya, her first day of business school was a little scary. Along with the rest of the Executive MBA Class of 2012, those initial sessions occur not at Owen but in the retreat setting of New Harmony, Indiana, where students become part of small-group “C-teams” of peers.

“I was terrified of being out in the middle of all these cornfields with no cell phone reception and lots of school, because I hadn’t been in school for quite a while,” Karen admits. “But it was perfect and a great bonding experience. From that week on, it set the tone for our class because we are a really close group.”

For seven years, Karen had worked for Fruit of the Loom — most of that time in licensed marketing, where she worked with major movie studies and retailers. But earning an MBA had always been a goal. “I wanted to complement my work experience with a stronger educational background,” she says. “And in an uncertain economic time, an MBA from Vanderbilt would open doors.”

Karen began earning a return on her investment almost right away. “Fruit of the Loom is very cross-functional,” she says, “and it was immensely helpful to gain an understanding of areas outside of marketing.”

The dividends kept on paying, too. Shortly before graduation, Karen leveraged her Vanderbilt education and her work experience to launch her own company, Licensing Unlimited, which helps manufacturing clients navigate the licensed marketing landscape.

In other ways, however, it’s hard to put a value on her Owen education. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the lifelong friends I’ve made in the program,” she says. “It has been a priceless experience.”