D. Wright Clarke
Emory University, Goizueta Business School
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An aspiring renaissance man with far more interests than time.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I played bass guitar for a rock band in high school and loved every minute of it. There’s nothing quite like the joy of performing your own music for others.
Undergraduate School and Major: Wake Forest University – B.A., English
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Bank of America – Global Risk Management Associate (Charlotte, NC)
- Bank of America – Senior Financial Analyst (Charlotte, NC)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Most of my work in the past three years has revolved around a mandate to deliver clear and correct data to both managers and investors. As such, it was fairly galling to discover that our group had been sourcing some of our data incorrectly. In the ground-up revision of our group’s data sourcing, I took on the role of translator between the finance, accounting, and technology units and helped the process gain a high level of control. Since that point, the revised process has survived the scrutiny of some internal reviews, and was ultimately cited as a catalyst for my promotion to vice president. I hold it as my top accomplishment because of how much I learned about the company and how quickly I was able to turn that knowledge into real change.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?
GMAT: For anyone beginning their GMAT study, I would highly suggest starting a study journal. A lot of people waste a lot of time studying ineffectively, and a journal can help a student refine their routine as they go. In my own entries, I traced errors, stupid mistakes, and even emotional swings. It was important for me to see how my study techniques and overall state of mind could lead to changes in my performance. Over time, this practice helped me identify my own study needs and avoid common traps.
Applications: As one moves to the actual application process, I cannot overemphasize how important it is to narrow your list of schools based on coherent goals. Your personal narrative and goals will be the subtext of almost every essay and interview question. If you haven’t culled your list on the front end, you’re going to muddle your messaging. Review your list of schools and make sure that they all can fit a theme: Schools that don’t fit into your common narrative are either a very unique opportunity or a waste of time. Making these tough decisions on the front end will save you a lot of effort and allow you to focus your efforts on the right schools.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? There were two key factors in my selection of Goizueta Business School:
Size and Location: My undergraduate experience at Wake Forest showed me the true value of smaller programs. Of course, there are the obvious benefits, including class sizes and teacher access, but 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.
At the same time, I didn’t want to sacrifice opportunities for a sense of place in the classroom. Having lived in Charlotte for five years, I was eager to place myself in a more diverse city – one that would offer me the opportunities for professional growth. In just the few days that I’ve spent in Atlanta, I’ve been excited to see all of the companies that will be just steps away, and I know I’m not sacrificing my sense of place to be here.
International connections: When I was building my list of schools, international opportunities were a major litmus test. I studied for a short time abroad as an undergraduate, and I’ve been aiming to expand on that experience ever since. So, from a strictly personal standpoint, I knew that I wanted a broad list of options. Reviewing the options available at Goizueta, I knew I was going to be able to pursue my desire to spend more time abroad.
Taking a step back, I also see international programs as an indicator of the school’s global focus. In my experience, a global mindset can’t be faked. There are plenty of ways to bring world events into the classroom, but tangible experiences are really the only way to undergird a global view; I wanted to join a program that acknowledged this fact through its curriculum. Emory’s study-abroad list is deep and diverse, and I’ve been encouraged to see the number of students who take advantage of these opportunities. In my search for my next step, Emory proved itself to have the options and the mindset for the education I was looking for.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am happiest when I am learning new things. As such, I am drawn to a career in consulting, where I will be afforded the opportunity to approach new projects on a regular basis.
Specific to subject matter, I am particularly interested in the ways that governments and businesses interact. I am a community-minded individual, and I love seeing the ways that private firms can help governments satisfy their mandates and improve their communities.
Given these interests, my target is to work as a consultant for the public sector. In this field I believe I can help promote the public good and satisfy my hunger for new subjects.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope that they will remember the way that I carry myself through tough issues. There’s a false narrative in the world that portrays business leaders as callous self-interest machines, and I think we’ve all met a few people who inspire this myth. For my part, I hope my classmates regard me as someone who eschews this mindset and places his team above his own interests, especially when problems arise.