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2017 Best MBAs: Adam Parker, Emory University (Goizueta)

Adam Parker

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

“A striking Southern gentleman who has never met a stranger.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

Fun fact about yourself: While studying abroad at Cambridge University, I made the basketball team—but was declared ineligible the next day because I was an exchange student.

Undergraduate School and Degree: I am a proud alumnus of Wake Forest University, where I double majored in History and Politics & International Affairs.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Consulting, as a Strategy & Operations Consultant in Washington, D.C.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Carter, a boutique real estate development, investment, and advisory firm in Atlanta, GA.

Where will you be working after graduation? Carter USA – Director

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School (Include school awards and honors):

  • President, Goizueta Real Estate Group
  • Chairman, 2017 Class Gift Campaign
  • Vice President of Alumni Relations, Graduate Business Association
  • Delta Leadership Coaching Fellow (leadership program sponsored by Delta Airlines)
  • Board Member, Emory Real Estate Private Equity Fund
  • Admissions Ambassador, Goizueta Business School
  • Mentor, Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Participant, NAIOP Real Estate School Challenge

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As the 2017 Class Gift Chairman, I am the architect for what will become our class legacy. Because the majority of scholarship and aid is allocated during the admissions process before any of us arrive, we established a fund for returning students who will champion the spirit of our namesake, Mr. Roberto C. Goizueta. Similar to Mr. Goizueta’s challenges as an immigrant, many of our classmates may face financial and other difficulties. Creating a fund to help ease these burdens for future generations of high character, impactful Goizueta students makes me incredibly proud.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2013 while consulting at Deloitte, I had the opportunity to support a federal grant program. Our goal was clear: invest in capital improvement projects in low-income neighborhoods across the United States. One of these projects was the Atlanta BeltLine, a former railway turned multi-use trail around the core of Atlanta. Four years later, the BeltLine has become one of the nation’s premier neighborhood revitalization projects. I utilize the BeltLine nearly every day—either jogging the path, dining along the corridor, or enjoying the public art from local artists. I take great pride in knowing that I played a role in funding this project.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? I absolutely loved my directed study that I took in conjunction with serving on the Emory Real Estate Private Equity Fund Advisory Board. I worked on a team of MBA students coached by Dr. Roy Black, the head of the Emory Real Estate department, sifting through offering memoranda and company stock reports in search of strong investments for the fund to make. The nearly quarter million-dollar fund is entirely student-run—making investments in private equity real estate deals and real estate investment trust (REIT) stocks—and is invested via the Emory University Endowment. Our investments this past year were exciting. On the private equity front, we made our first international investment in an apartment complex in South America and with our REIT portfolio, we greatly diversified our holdings to reflect the current economic climate. Investing in real deals while leveraging Emory University’s $6B+ endowment was a magnificent learning experience.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to attend an elite business school that was small in size and located in a major city. Goizueta’s blend of a prestige (top 20 program), size (<170 people in my class), and location (Atlanta being the economic and cultural capital of the South) made it an ideal fit for me. Visiting for admitted student weekend sealed the deal. There, I bonded with like-minded future classmates during the Taste of Atlanta and sweated with them in one of my favorite Goizueta traditions: The Goizueta Welcome Weekend Donut Dash 5K through Emory University’s beautiful campus.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Atlanta is home to sixteen Fortune 500 companies, making it the best place to study business in the South. I learned from executives from Coca-Cola in my strategy classes. I was presented with opportunities to visit Delta through the Career Management Center. I solved business challenges for a local private equity firm run by a Goizueta alumnus in my Valuation class. These unique experiences were only possible by attending a small business school that leverages the union of a global city and a top-20 institution.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The accessibility that I was offered to faculty, staff, and alumni. I knew that Goizueta was small, but I had no idea of the access that I would be granted as a student. When I wanted to do a direct study about private equity, I had not one, but three professors offer to sponsor me. When I proposed attending an alumni event in New York City as a part of my Graduate Business Association position, the Alumni Office covered all of my travel costs. When I was having trouble connecting with an alumnus at a firm where I was considering work, the Career Management Center, Alumni Office, and Program Office all exhausted their resources until I connected with the right people. I was even lucky enough to have dinner with President Jimmy Carter during my time at Goizueta! While at Goizueta, no idea was deemed too big, no question was thought to be too trivial, and no request for a favor went unanswered.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Do not be shy—reach out to professors, students, and alumni! During my application process, I emailed Goizueta professors and asked them to connect me with students and alumni with similar academic and career pursuits. Not only did the professors reply promptly, so did every student and alumnus. As a result, I accepted an internship offer from a firm of one of the alumni I connected with. Obtaining an MBA is about finding your own unique path, and finding others on similar paths makes your journey much more manageable.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? (and why?): It is impossible to pick just one classmate, so I will choose a group: international students. Attending business school is stressful as-is. I greatly admire international students who excel while navigating cultural differences, language barriers, and family obligations.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was helping allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to projects across the country. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the financing and strategy behind the projects—that way I could be the one making the final decisions one day.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a Senior Consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I will become Chairman and CEO of Parker Development—a real estate development firm specializing in public-private partnerships in the southeastern United States. This will allow me to utilize the finance, strategy, and government experiences that I am passionate about.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mother—who taught me to be nice to everyone and not be outworked by anyone.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? An approachable problem solver who is an ideal confidante and business partner.

Favorite book: Growing up in North Carolina, I witnessed the impact of the fall of RJR Nabisco first-hand. The empty factories, abandoned tobacco warehouses, and loss of jobs in my hometown were evident to me even in my youth. As a result, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco is my favorite book. My studies in finance here at Goizueta has resulted in my appreciating the book even more.

Favorite movie or television show: James Bond movies. I am a big believer that Sean Connery was the best Bond.

Favorite musical performer: The Avett Brothers

Favorite vacation spot: Asheville, NC

Hobbies? Cooking, traveling in Europe and Africa, and ACC basketball

What made Adam such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“We are very grateful for how Adam is so eager to tell the Goizueta story and detail what makes our program special. He stayed in Atlanta for his summer internship and worked on some high-profile real estate projects that could change the face of our city forever. What a great student and professional!”

Brian Mitchell,
Associate Dean and Director of Full-Time MBA Programs
Emory University, Goizueta Business School

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE HONOR ROLL: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2017