2016 Best MBAs: Maggie Lovatt, Georgia Tech

Maggie Lovatt GeorgiaTech

Maggie Lovatt, CFA


Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be under the mistaken belief that B2B was a band.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Roswell, GA

Undergraduate School and Degree: Wake Forest University – Psychology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Lovatt & Rushing, Inc., Associate Peanut Broker

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Goldman Sachs – Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation?  Goldman Sachs – Private Wealth Advisor

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School?

  • Alumni Chair – Finding ways to engage with our Scheller alumni
  • Atlanta Technology Angels (ATA), Lead Analyst – I participate in the TI:GER (The Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) program at the Scheller College of Business. It’s a program that prepares students for the challenges of commercializing new technologies and delivering innovative products to the marketplace. Three other TI:GER students and I were selected to work with ATA, a member-led organization of angel investors that select, fund, and mentor high quality growth technology-based companies in the Southeast early stage investment ecosystem. I took the lead role in organizing all the analysts (TI:GER students and others) for ATA to cover screening meetings, member meetings and educational meetings. In ATA, I conduct the initial screening for approximately 50 startup ideas each month and then participate in the LifeScience screening to screen the top candidates. Those who make it through the LifeScience screening progress to the member meeting. I also have conducted extensive weeks-long due diligence on the companies in which ATA plans to invest.
  • Georgia Tech Ultimate Frisbee Captain

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being part of a great team that worked incredibly hard to win first place and the Edison Prize at the 2015 Georgia Tech Startup Competition. Our win qualified us for ACC Startup Madness in which we were awarded third place. Our startup idea is an implantable medical device that treats diabetes without using insulin. We spent months analyzing market opportunities, interviewing potential customers and understanding the patent landscape. For most of my first semester, we attended weekly 7 a.m. meetings and mentoring sessions at Georgia Tech’s VentureLab, the #2 startup incubator in North America, which is across the street from the Scheller College of Business. During these weekly meetings, we learned about the Business Model Canvas, a tool used for creating business models. These opportunities were available to my classmates and me because we are part of the two-year TI:GER program at the Scheller College of Business, which helps students learn how to commercialize new technologies and bring innovative products to the marketplace. Our team consists of a biomedical engineering PhD candidate at Georgia Tech (who devised the product), two students from Emory Law School (who created our patent strategy), and two MBA students. The other MBA student and I took the lead in conducting over 120 live customer discovery interviews. I’m thankful to be part of a business school that has such strong connections to the Georgia Tech engineering program and the Atlanta technology ecosystem.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? What I am most proud of in my professional career is getting my first job. I graduated with a degree in psychology and a love for finance so I moved to New York City and tried to break into the Wall Street job market. Not surprisingly, given my background, I didn’t have much success. For four months I couch-surfed at my sister’s tiny studio apartment while doing odd jobs. I finally got my foot in the door when a sales assistant role opened up in SunTrust’s New York office. My less than glamorous role was to schedule meetings, prepare expense reports, and sometimes even water the plants. I sat at a desk with our sales team listening to their client calls. I had no idea what they were talking about. Words like profit margin and price-to-earnings multiples sounded like a foreign language. As I realized I needed to learn more, the research department across the hall lost their assistant. I offered to bind their books and copy their materials in exchange for them helping me understand what all these crazy finance terms meant. They said yes, so I worked 7am to 5pm as a sales assistant and then 5pm to 8pm helping the research department and learning how to analyze equities. Seven months later, when a junior role became available in the research department, I was hired and became a full-time salaried employee for the first time. I know it’s just one example and maybe I’m naive, but my experience landing my first job has made me a firm believer that hard work is rewarded over the long-term.

Favorite MBA Courses? My favorite MBA course is the Information Technology Practicum. Even with a decidedly non-technology background, Scheller has prepared me and given me the confidence to tackle information technology problems. I enrolled in the course on the recommendation of my professor who is adamant that students at Scheller have the technology expertise and business acumen to help solve complex IT issues. I’m so glad I followed his advice! My team is working with the CIO at Nike to help the company better understand what the “workplace of the future” might look like. Our IT practicum team flew to Oregon to tour the Nike campus (it was as cool as you’d expect!) and understand what technology solutions they currently use. During the visit, Nike asked us to research what other big companies are thinking about the “workplace of the future.” Thankfully, our professors at Scheller have an extensive network and we’ve been able to leverage their contacts to visit different firms. We’ve conducted 23 interviews to date and still have a lot of work left, but so far I absolutely love working on this project.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the Scheller College of Business because of its connections to the tech community in Atlanta. I also wanted to attend a school at which there would be many analytical engineer-type students because I know that is not my strong suit. The first time I worked with an engineer on a group project, it was like we were speaking completely past each other. But I believe the future is in cross-functional teams that can speak in both technical and business terms about a problem. I have continued to seek out the unique opportunities you can only get at Scheller. This semester, I’m working with a group at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) that has created piezoelectric sensors. The sensors can be layered under carpet and used to track foot patterns and sense disturbances. My role is to help GTRI understand the right product-market fit for this “smart carpet.” As part of this project, I met with casino operators who want to understand foot traffic so they can more strategically place slot machines. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about this product. I find this type of experience so exciting; I work with incredibly smart engineers who have a real product and look to me to help bring a business perspective to their research.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I have most enjoyed the chance to form great friendships with classmates and professors in business school. These are people who I will absolutely keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I know the folks at Scheller have my back and want me to succeed, and I feel the same about my peers. This collaborative supportive community lets you relax and be yourself because you know even though there’s intense competition outside these walls, inside we root for each other. I knew I had made lasting friendships when at the end of our first year in business school, a group of MBA students and I competed in a “Tough Mudder” competition, running 10 miles, conquering obstacles like the mud mile, and relying on each other to get through the race. It has cemented a level of camaraderie and friendship that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I gained from business school was how to communicate effectively and specifically how to communicate in a multidisciplinary team. My Scheller TI:GER team consists of one PhD student, two law students and two MBA students. Learning how to more clearly communicate and more closely listen within my TI:GER team has taught me about the pitfalls of assumptions and filtering out essential details. The TI:GER program also gave me the chance to practice honing a message. We spent many hours learning the details about our PhD student’s technology, but we were required to produce a final deliverable of a one minute “elevator pitch.” I think learning how to tell a concise but persuasive story in just one minute is a skill that will benefit me in the future.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I have been surprised and thrilled with the outside opportunities afforded to Scheller MBA students. I didn’t realize that I might have the opportunity to work with local angel investors. But through the TI:GER program, I have become the lead analyst for the Atlanta Technology Angels group. I help screen early stage companies (about 50 each month) to determine if they are an interesting opportunity or a dead end. I also attend the monthly member meetings and different educational events. It is such an amazing opportunity to be part of the Atlanta community and exposed to some of the best and brightest minds in the technology scene.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school is learning how to balance all the competing interests. During my first semester, I enrolled in extra classes and signed up for many clubs and all the intramural sports possible. I competed in case competitions and had a full time (14-hour) graduate research assistant position. It was crazy. But I learned that time is my most valuable commodity and I needed to intentionally allocate it based on my priorities. It was difficult picking and choosing because I wanted to do it all!

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My best advice to an applicant to Scheller is to get involved. You are at a school that offers numerous options to work with people within the school and within the Atlanta community. You just have to seize the opportunities. I would tell applicants to apply for the TI:GER program; ask to help with GTRI projects; seek out alumni in the Atlanta Technology Angels group; and take the practicum courses during which you work with companies like Delta and Nike. I would also tell them to participate in case competitions. I had the chance to travel to Vancouver as a finalist in the Investment Banking competition, travel to Boulder, Colorado as a finalist in the Net Impact case competition in where we placed third overall, and work on a Zurich Insurance Risk Analysis Project. I would advise applicants to disregard any advice from people saying to “take it easy.” Get out of the building and try new things!

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I met the MBA career advisors at Scheller.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…under the mistaken belief that B2B was a band.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I most admire my dad. He is a self-employed peanut broker. I remember when I was younger how stressed my parents were as my dad tried to get his business up and running. But my dad stuck with it and has now been in the business for over 30 years.  He always taught us that if you do the right thing, over the long-run you’ll be rewarded. I am convinced, from seeing his example, that he is right.

What are your long-term professional goals?  I will be working at Goldman Sachs when I graduate and plan to be a fantastically successful private wealth advisor (You’ve got to shoot for the stars, right?).  Success will mean devoting myself to learning all the ins and outs of investing. This kind of knowledge is most impactful for people at the bottom end of the economic ladder who have an uncertain financial future. My long-term goals is to create a way to better help the economically disadvantaged experience the long-term benefits of saving and investing. Goldman Sachs encourages its employees to give back to the community by serving on boards of non-profit organizations and I hope to do just that!

Who would you most want to thank for your success?  I have the unique opportunity to attend the Scheller MBA Program with someone I completely trust and who amplifies my strengths and complements my weaknesses, my younger sister Sarah. Due to this, I would most want to thank my sister Sarah for my success in business school. Sarah and I are in the same cohort and will both graduate in May 2016. Knowing there is someone in my class who unconditionally believes in me has had a huge impact on my self-confidence. Even something as simple as feeling comfortable raising my hand in class to admit “I don’t understand” has been impacted by knowing Sarah is there. My instinct is to jump into school life and put personal relationships on the back burner. Sarah wouldn’t let me do that. She forced me to attend socials, travel to places outside my comfort zone, and spend time nurturing new friendships. I owe Sarah for pushing me to be a better, more balanced, person. Sarah and I both love sports and in our first semester we were really excited to play flag football. But, it turned out spots on the team were only offered to the men in our class. I’m not sure I would have taken action if it had just been me, but together Sarah and I spoke with the MBA class president and we, along with several other women in our class, have been involved in flag football, ultimate frisbee, soccer, dodgeball, bowling, volleyball, and kickball intramurals ever since. Business schools are, by the numbers, male-dominated. I like to think Sarah and I have made the presence of the women in our class a dominant force. She is the Social Chair; I’m the Alumni Chair. She is the captain of the kickball team; I’m the captain of the flag football team. She is the VP of Women’s Club; I’m one of the few women in our finance club. She has a 4.0; I’m….close.

Fun fact about yourself: I love scuba diving with sharks!

Favorite book: I mostly read non-fiction so as boring as it sounds, I really like Calvin Coolidge’s autobiography.

Favorite movie: Guy Ritchie’s Snatch

Favorite musical performer: That’s got to be Jimmy Buffett which was the first concert I ever attended and seeing the Parrot Heads dance was fantastic.

Favorite television show: Survivor (I tried out to be on the show)

Favorite vacation spot: Galapagos Island and swimming with the baby sea lions!

Hobbies?  I play on a tennis, ultimate frisbee, and soccer team in Atlanta. I am also an avid shark’s tooth hunter and board game aficionado.

What made Maggia such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“I have the pleasure of supporting Maggie Lovatt’s career aspirations as her MBA Career Advisor at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech.

Maggie entered the MBA program at Georgia Tech in order to build her business leadership skills and acumen in technology. She has successfully accomplished that by first being selected into the highly selective TI:GER program, which provides students with the unique opportunity to learn how to commercialize a new technology product. In addition, she is not only maintaining a high GPA, but is actively engaged in and leading several activities outside of the classroom. Maggie is the Alumni Chair for our Graduate Business Council. She was instrumental in helping her MBA student team win 1st place in the Georgia Tech Startup Company Competition and place highly in several other case competitions outside of Georgia Tech. Maggie was selected as a lead analyst for the Atlanta Technology Angels Group, which invests in technology startups. She was also one of the first women to join the intramural flag football team and was later named team captain.

As her career advisor, I think one of Maggie’s most admirable traits is her humility. Throughout her preparation for securing an internship and full time job after graduation she has always been willing to accept constructive feedback, implement the advice she was given and invest the time in practicing her interviewing skills in order to position herself as a strong candidate. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding” since she was able to secure an internship with Goldman Sachs and once again proved herself to be a high potential contributor. As a result of her exceptional work with Goldman Sachs as an intern, she received an offer to join them for a full-time position after graduation.” — Kevin Stacia, Corporate Relations Manager, Jones MBA Career Center, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology


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