Vanderbilt University Director, Marketing & Communications (Owen) in Nashville, Tennessee

Director, Marketing & Communications (Owen) (Job Number: 1800900)


About the Position:

The Director, Marketing & Communications at the Owen Graduate School of Management plays a key role developing and implementing school-wide marketing strategy. The Director provides leadership and oversight of the marketing and communications team. He/she assumes responsibility for ensuring that best practices are utilized across all programs and that team members have the financial, administrative, creative and developmental support required to do their jobs. Moreover, they work to develop and promote the careers of marketing staff.

About the Work Unit:

The Marketing & Communications Department manages marketing strategy, plans and tactical efforts for the programs and departments of the Owen Graduate School of Management (OGSM). With the goal of attracting and converting high quality students and employers to our programs, these initiatives include Branding and Creative Services, Digital and Traditional Advertising, Market Research, Public Relations and Social Media, Website, Direct Response efforts, Sales and Collateral materials and other publications. This department also handles all rankings submissions for the school, a critical element that feeds the reputation and fuels the appeal of a school for prospective students. The departmental staff is comprised of nine professionals supported by agencies, freelancers and centralized Vanderbilt resources; the department is directly responsible for a $1.4 million annual operating budget.

About Vanderbilt University:

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 located a little more than a mile from downtown Nashville, TN. The university’s students, faculty, staff and visitors frequently cite Nashville as one of the perks of Vanderbilt. VU is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

Provides oversight for all Marketing & Communications initiatives.

  • Works with Marketing Managers and Program partners to develop, implement and direct implementation of program-specific integrated marketing and communicationsstrategies and tactics designed to achieve objectives for lead generation and conversion. These include (but are not limited to): digital and traditional advertising, website and other digital platforms, public relations and social media (including rankings) printed materials and publications, email and USPS communications, video and podcasts, internal communications, sales support tools, licensed product

  • Identifies and recommends school-wide and cross-program initiatives that will increase efficiency, elevate performance or reduce cost of marketing communications and sales support across all programs and all channels.

  • Oversees internal communication initiatives in partnership with the dean’s office, program partners, and academic affairs.

Serves as "voice of the customer" to fuel intelligent decisions on product, pricing, promotion.

  • Conducts research designed to understand behavior, opinions, attitudes and perceptions to inform recruiting, marketing and communications efforts.

  • Measures and analyzes the impact of marketing and communications strategies and tactics for purpose of continual improvement.

Serves as the “curator of the Vanderbilt Business story”.

  • Authors and oversees compliance to school’s branding standards that provides direction for visual and messaging elements of all creative presentation and communiques.

  • Works with members of marketing team to ensure quality control of all external communications - audio, visual, printed, electronic, etc., to ensure that communiques are on message, on brand and optimized for performance.

  • Creates an internal structure to most effectively communicate the strengths of our school, including academic programs, faculty, faculty research, and students.

Establishes operations, business and administrative infrastructure for department.

  • Attracts and retains highly qualified staff and build a world-class communications and publications capability that will serve as a resource for the Owen School and Vanderbilt University.

  • Directs and manages a staff of seven professionals who are responsible for marketing, marketing research, public and media relations, and internal and external communications.

  • Identifies needs for operational, creative and consulting external resources and oversees screening, selection, contract and onboarding processes.

  • Plans, directs and coordinates marketing budgets in accordance with organizational goals.

  • Oversees the department's budget and monitor its implementation, including contracts for all vendors related to marketing and or communications projects, including graphic designers, photographers, videographers, web services, etc.

Serves as liaison to Greater Vanderbilt Public Affairs, Marketing and Communications teams and the greater academic community.

  • Works collaboratively and in partnership with the University public affairs and communications teams.

  • Develops and maintains established procedures to ensure that Owen’s objectives are met, and both internal and external constituents are served in a timely and professional manner.

  • Develops strong relationships with counterparts at peer institutions regarding non-competitive School initiatives, market changes, media and industry surveys, and marketing strategies.

Supervisory Relationships:

The Director will report to the Dean and serve on the Executive Committee for the Owen Graduate School of Management. This position oversees the Marketing & Communications team of eight professionals, various agencies/consultants and student employees.

Experience and Skills:

  • MBA preferred

  • At least 10 years of related marketing experience and a demonstrated track record of success in marketing leadership roles.

  • An ability to balance the diverse needs of the job and its various constituents (alumni, prospective students, current students, and corporate clients)

  • Experience working in a higher ed/ academic setting preferred but not required

  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and strong management ability; capability to supervise professional staff effectively

  • Able to work in, and appreciate a highly productive, change oriented, and research oriented academic community

  • Able to be a team player and work effectively and collaboratively with Owen faculty and staff


In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, VU offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview at

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit:

  • Strong problem-solving and decision making skills

  • Proven track record as a resourceful, self-starter able to take ownership of projects and initiatives.

  • Capacity to work with flexibility on several tasks simultaneously and to meet various concurrent deadlines.

  • Ability to develop and maintain strong, positive customer and peer relationships

  • Attention to detail and high level of accuracy

  • Ability to work well independently and as part of a team; solid work ethic

Job requires a Bachelors degree and 8 years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 20110 - Owen: Marketing and Communications

Job: Administrative Unit Heads / Professionals