Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2018

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Kingsley Chikata

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words of less: I am gritty, inquisitive, collaborative, determined, frank, pleasant to be around, and predisposed to action.

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: I played Santa Claus in an elementary school play.

Undergraduate School and Major: (Include Graduate School if Relevant)

University of Houston, B.S. in Political Science

George Washington University, MPA

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

AARP – Associate

US House of Representatives – Health Policy Fellow

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2015 I was able to convince senior leadership to allow me to conceptualize, market, and pilot a multicultural program specifically for 25-35 year olds around caregiving. Roughly 25% of all caregivers in the United States are under the age of 35. These caregivers often times are not effectively marketed to in terms of products and government services. Most are ill equipped to deal with their caregiving situation from a financial perspective and many are incredibly socially isolated. As a result of the program I was able to:

  • Build my employer’s brand awareness with a hard to reach demographic group.
  • Gain consumer insights via survey data and in person interviews.
  • Provide relevant resources that each of the attendees could use throughout their caregiving journey.
  • Create caregiving communities. Providing care for a loved one can be very isolating, this program provided a safe space for caregivers to connect and form support communities with people who understand their plight.

I consider it my biggest accomplishment because it was an opportunity for me to directly see the positive impact of my work in people’s lives in a professional capacity.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?

  • Start early! Before you do anything, first figure out which test you want to take, the GRE or the GMAT (many programs accept both). Figure out which test best fits your strengths, or even better, figure out which test least amplifies your weaknesses. Pick a test date early in the process, create a study schedule, and stick to it. Learn the average GRE/GMAT scores for the schools that you’re interested in and take practice tests along the way to ensure that you’re on track to hit or surpass those averages.
  • Perfect your story – Why are you going to business school now? What makes you a strong fit for X program? Why you? You want to make sure that in your essay, as well as in your interviews, the admissions team gets a sense of who you are and what motivates you. The essay and your in-person interview should not be discordant. Authenticity is key! When crafting your admissions essays, make sure your personality shines through. If you have a more traditional business background, the essay and your interviews should be your way to set yourself apart from other candidates with similar backgrounds. If you have a more non-traditional background, this is an opportunity for you to detail why you’re making this transition in your career. Either way, your passion should leap off the screen.
  • Be succinct – Concision is a plus. Admissions teams are reading an inordinate number of essays; displaying the ability to drive home your point in fewer words is a plus. Have someone you trust proofread your essays. There should be edits, especially if it’s your first version. If they don’t present any edits, have someone else look over it.
  • Create touchpoints – Attend events where the schools you’re interested in are presenting. Visit the campus if you’re so able. If you aren’t able to visit the campus, make sure you attend each unique webinar session that the school holds. Be sure to ask questions during those sessions. You want to take every opportunity to make your presence felt even if you can only do it virtually.
  • Choose the right recommenders – Only approach those people who can really speak to your strengths and weaknesses. Do not get caught up in fancy titles. Also, your recommenders should be excited that you’re going to business school. If they view the recommendation letter as a chore, it will show!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? When applying to business school, I knew I wanted to be a part of a program that felt like a tight knit community. I have a non-traditional background and 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 in the program and after graduation.

Another key factor in my decision was Emory’s Consortium membership. Minority representation in corporate management is shamefully low. Increasing minority representation in corporate leadership positions had to be a goal for any business school that I was considering attending. Emory’s Consortium membership displayed both its recognition of the issue and its commitment to tackle it head on. Based on these factors, amongst many others, I decided to choose Emory for my full-time MBA.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream employer would constantly challenge me, provide me with professional growth opportunities, give me the creative freedom to produce high quality work, and do its best to make me feel valued.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like them to say that I am someone that they can look to for strong support no matter the situation, someone who will provide honest feedback, someone who is comfortable being uncomfortable, someone they can reach out to if they need a good laugh, someone with true perspective on life and someone they consider a life-long friend.

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