Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2018

Members of the Class of 2018 at Emory University's Goizueta School of Business

Members of the Class of 2018 at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business

There’s a certain vibe on campus. Maybe it’s the effortless smiles and warm greetings, the casual but purposeful gaits that convey, “I have a minute for you.” Here, people know more than your name. They’ve invested the time to learn what makes you tick. With each interaction, you can almost hear the words of Roberto Goizueta ripple across the school: “We must all, by deed and example, create the community we want.”


Example is paramount at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Steeped in southern hospitality, the MBA program is best known for accessible faculty and staff who exemplify servant leadership. According to Brian Mitchell, associate dean of the full-time MBA programs, the tone they set has profound implications for students. “We are teaching students what we want them to model as business leaders,” he explains in a 2016 interview with Voice of Goizueta. “My dad told me a long time ago that “every business is a people business”, and I still believe that today.”

This “people” model works to perfection at Goizueta, the only “small” Top 20 MBA program in a major metro. At Goizueta, students enjoy the best of both worlds: A close-knit student community and individual attention from faculty. In fact, the student-to-professor ratio is just 6-to-1. Such personal support was important to a career changer like Kingsley Chikata, a first-year who holds a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration. “I am fairly certain that I will need to lean on my professors and classmates for support in more traditional areas of business. I was able to have frank conversations with current students and alumni who were able to speak to the collaborative nature of the program in detail as well as affirm that I would have all the support that I would need to be successful.”

Brian Mitchell

Brian Mitchell

Along with relationship-building, Goizueta’s small class sizes also foster greater teamwork, adds D. Wright Clarke, a first year who enjoyed a similar classroom dynamic as a Wake Forest undergrad. “The primary benefit that I’ve observed is in the development of team cohesion. Most business schools understand that connecting people in smaller units can support team bonding and a sense of place. For me, Emory’s smaller class size capitalizes on this concept at a macro-level; it allows one to fit oneself within an entire class rather than a subset.”


Clarke and Chikata are among the members of one of Goizueta’s best classes to date. The class certainly has the administration buzzing. “This class personifies the phrase, “high-achieving Millennials” in many ways,” Mitchell tells Poets&Quants. “They are entrepreneurial, well-traveled and technically savvy.”

You’ll find quite a mix of students in the Class of 2018. Allyson Boudreaux, a marathoner who worked at American Express, calls herself as “a challenge-seeker, community cultivator, semi-professional bridesmaid, off-tune karaoke singer.” Wow! Clarke is “an aspiring renaissance man with far more interests than time.” Darias Damond Holloway, a West Point grad and active duty Special Forces officer, strikes a balance between being both “ambitious” and a “self-motivated, family-oriented man of integrity and Christian values.” Wondering who might emerge as the spiritual leader of the class? Look out for Rene Meza, who remains “an eternal optimist who tends to see the best in everyone and everything.”

No doubt, this call had plenty of interesting stories to swap at orientation. Katie Hoppenjans, an aspiring brand manager who was a former editor at Bridal Guide magazine, also wrote horoscopes when she worked for a teen magazine. Robertson Greenbacker, a marine and scuba diver, “found a fist-sized fossilized tooth of a Megalodon – a 70-foot-long prehistoric shark – off the coast of North Carolina.” And Holloway has visited more foreign countries (32) than American states. The class also brings a flair for the theatrical, with Clarke being a former bassist in a high school rock band and Chikata playing Santa Claus for elementary school students.

What do members of the 2018 Class have in common? Mainly, they’ve assumed heavy responsibilities early in their careers. Meza grabbed the attention of his firm’s c-suite and board by executing their biggest contract, which included traveling across North America to open new branches. “It was like being the CEO of my own mini-business,” he says. At AARP, Chikata partnered with senior management to connect with and support caregivers, a younger and more multicultural demographic that serves AARP members. Kevin Loong was selected to join Ernst & Young’s People Advisory Board, where he worked alongside senior management in areas like “restructuring the firm’s counseling groups and incentivizing audit teams.” No less impressive, Ashley Johnson spearheaded several initiatives targeting underserved populations as a national communications and engagement manager at Teach For America.

Emory's Goizueta Business School

Emory’s Goizueta Business School


Looking at the class stats, the arrow is definitely pointing up in some respects. Enrollment rose from 166 to 181 students, despite the program receiving 28 fewer applications in 2015-2016. Average GMAT scores also perked up, climbing from 678 to 683. On the downside, however, the percentage of women plummeted from 34% to 24% as schools compete feverishly to attract this population to campus. The number of international students also slipped from 35% to 32%, with the class boasting students from 16 countries (including two Fullbright Scholars). It also features 16 U.S. military veterans, along with six students pursuing a joint JD-MBA degree.

Academically, the class represents a good mix of undergraduate disciplines. Business leads the way, comprising 37% of the class. They are followed by engineering and computer science (19%), humanities (13%), economics (13%), social sciences (10%), and math and science (7%). In other words, business-related majors account for half of the class, with both hard sciences and liberal arts each taking up another quarter. After graduation, 23% of the 2018 Class worked in finance (23%), with consumer marketing and manufacturing (18%) and consulting (13%) professionals taking up other large blocs of the class.

The 2018 Class is also the fruit of the school’s long-term strategy. “This incoming class is special because it is the manifestation of a growth strategy that was implemented five years ago,” Mitchell notes. “It is the largest incoming class that we have had in almost a decade, and also the strongest in terms of GMAT/GPA since then. So we are very excited about welcoming them as the latest members of the Goizueta community.”

Go to next page to see 13 in-depth profiles of Class of 2018 members.

  • Well, it’s a terrific school with administrators who are deeply passionate about the program and do really get it. I’ve sat down over a meal with students there and they impressed me as smart, personable, and people you would want around your dinner table.

  • Randy Magallon

    I don’t have an MBA — still searching and preparing for it. But this school is definitely worth considering. It’s now number 6 in my list.

  • avivalasvegas


  • GlobalMBA

    Oxford employment report is shame this year. No wonder Economist placed it 83.

  • C. Taylor

    There are plenty of great programs in the second tier, Emory is one of them, as are those you mention. Oxbridge+HEC P. are excellent choices, given fit.

    Some other undersung programs in this tier include Marshall, Manchester, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Rice, and AGSM.

  • eddysham

    Emory will give you the EXACT quality of education you get at Harvard and Stanford and all the other top schools.

  • Warren

    Not only the report for two years MBA, the one year MBA at emory placed its grads excellent jobs with excellent pay.

  • Warren

    You should look at the employment report of Oxford MBA, Cambridge, and HEC and see the miserable results. Compare them with Emory MBA career report that just been released and see the difference. As MBA goes, Emory by far better than all Oxford, Cambridge, IMD, and HEC MBAs. By far..

  • avivalasvegas

    Harvard is a phenomenal university. Stanford is too. Emory is phenomenal only when you can’t get into that caliber of institution. Or a top 20 program. At that stage, I’d pick an Oxford, Cambridge or HEC – atleast those can claim to be international MBA programs.

    I must say, I didn’t expect you to acknowledge as much as you did. Shows that you’re passionate about defending the program, but also open to acknowledging the obvious.

  • dan

    Soo… no one is claiming Emory is Harvard, but… (1) GMAT is the easiest metric to game for rankings/admissions. If Emory wanted to enroll an average class over 700, they would. Simple as that. I would imagine, however, they have other motivations when building a class. (2) According to P&Qs, Emory’s average compensation vs Harvard (the highest) represents a ~13% difference, a far cry from 30%. Furthermore, I would imagine a fair bit of the variance could be explained by larger placement in the South relative to peers, though I haven’t tested that theory. Even still, not too shabby. (3) P&Qs reports a faculty ranking of sorts which has Emory as 32 but is not adjusted for size so I am not sure what to make of it nor do I know a source off hand for this data. You are correct, however, that Goizueta doesn’t have a name brand of Fama, Stiegel, Shiller, Damodaran, etc. Would hardly write the entire program off for that though.

    I said Emory is objectively a phenomenal university and it is. Top 25 or better overall, business school, law school and med school. To continue to assail an institution with those credentials is petty and small. If your view of the world is top 5 or bust, you’re going to find working with people quite difficult. You are writing off a substantial portion of the highly educated population not to mention the hundreds of other business schools which intelligent people attend every day for reasons beyond your shallow comprehension.

  • avivalasvegas

    You’re definitely coming across as objective. With sub 700 GMAT acceptance scores, 20-30% lower salary levels compared to a Top 10 program and no notable research or faculty to speak of, you tell me, which one of us is in denial? Or maybe all that Southern hospitality in those small classrooms gives the school an immeasurable edge in “fit prep”?

  • Dan

    Strike two. Perhaps you are just warming up for a thoughtful and insightful post but you’re 0-2. “The schools existence is silly” is precisely the type of hyperbole that will get you resoundingly ignored. Emory is, objectively, a phenomenal university. Guarantee: everyone who knows you hates you. If not overtly, behind your back… they all hate you.

  • avivalasvegas

    The school’s existence is silly. So is school’s name but I won’t go there. Bottom line: its a school meant as an alternative to the tail end of the Top 20 programs, which automatically makes it largely irrelevant for P&Q.

  • Dan

    I like how you got the M7 very wrong. Really drives home your point. Perhaps you should also consider replacing “no one” with a more befitting “some childish vapid douchebags”.

    This is clearly so off base it’s ridiculous. MBA grads from all the top 20 schools do quite well. The fact that you bastardized the M7 is perfectly illustrative of that point. M7 is Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, and MIT Sloan. Try again.

  • somsquared

    No one considers ANY business school a legitimate business school outside of the M7 –
    Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Booth, Darden

  • dan

    Haha, this has to be the douchiest post of all time. And, it’s Trump style “pants on fire” wrong on top of it. Goizueta is a top 20 program in both major publications (BW/USNWR), as well as many of the lesser known rankings, so “technically” you’re an idiot. Small class sizes are certainly a differentiating factor worth highlighting. No one is claiming its Harvard but this is unwarranted and silly.

  • avivalasvegas

    It continues to amaze me how this Tier 3 school continues to get coverage by P&Q!! When the best thing students have to say about it are the small class sizes, you know something is wrong.

    Can we at least cut off coverage at UCLA? Atleast they’re still technically a top 20 program.