2017 MBAs To Watch: Simone Brathwaite, Emory University (Goizueta)

Simone Brathwaite

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“A paradox of sorts, fluttering between free-spirited wanderlust and dorky, type A working woman.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Orlando, FL

 

Fun fact about yourself: Studied abroad in Barcelona for the semester and traveled to five other countries (Portugal, France, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands) while there!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Florida, Bachelor of Science in Marketing

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Edelman, Account Supervisor

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Nike, Global Marketing Intern, Portland, OR

Where will you be working after graduation? Target, Senior Marketing Manager

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

  • Goizueta Marketing Association, Treasurer and Operations VP
  • Goizueta IMPACT, Events Co-Lead
  • Inside Goizueta (Diversity Weekend), Program Chair

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of my work on Inside Goizueta, our annual diversity weekend. The event is a 3-day event meant to attract top underrepresented talent. Diversity is one of Emory’s core values – and thus the event is important both to the school and to me. After attending IG as a prospective, the conference and its success became of primary importance to me – and I sought out ways to continuously make it a more engaging, successful conference during my time at Goizueta. I was able to be deeply involved in all aspects of the conference, including program development, event planning, coordination of logistics, and management of the internal team and day-of team. Through my efforts, I was fortunate enough to witness the conference come to life twice and, what’s more, I was able to be a part of what will become the main impetus for some to attend GBS.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of choosing to leave finance and go into PR. A year into working and in the height of the recession, I left a full-time finance job for an internship at Edelman. I look back and marvel at trusting my intuition and being courageous enough to search out what aligned best with my passion and skills at that moment in my career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA Professor is Doug Bowman because he took a vested interest in ensuring students got as much practical experience with marketing concepts as possible. Prof Bowman didn’t just lecture; instead, he turned to the class to leverage student’s past experience. Additionally, he continuously challenged students, pushing them to sharpen their marketing know-how and intuition as it relates to brand management.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite course was Marketing Strategy, formally known as GMSC. I received a client with the objective of helping them solve a real-life business problem. The biggest insight I learned from that class was the importance of defining roles within teams, and why it’s important to keep the client involved in the process of determining viable solutions.

Why did you choose this business school? The biggest reason is that it’s a top business school. However, what caused GBS to win out among other schools I was considering was because of the small, intimate learning environment. I attended the University of Florida for undergrad.  For my grad school experience, I really wanted to be within an environment in which faculty and staff would know my name: a program in which I could gain deep personal connections versus just having another 500 acquaintances. GBS provided that.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I’ve had many profound experiences, but one of my most memorable moments was on our Mid-Semester Module. A group of us were in Malaysia and went out on a local food tour. For four hours, our tour guide took us to numerous hole-in-the-wall restaurants that served the most delicious foods! We also learned a new celebratory Chinese New Year toast from a group of locals and danced in the streets of Little India! It was moments like this in which I felt true camaraderie among classmates that made me truly grateful to have chosen to go to business school and, specifically, to go to Goizueta.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The most surprising thing about business school was how many down-to-earth people were in my program. Prior to starting, I had this image in my mind that my classes would be full of super entitled frat boys (nothing wrong with them, just thankful for the degree of diversity I’m continually surrounded by at GBS!).

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Goizueta is a special community. In fact, we always gush about how our admissions team so perfectly curated the class of 2017, as the small class size is what contributes to some of the best parts of our business school experience. Therefore, I suggest applicants do their due diligence to determine if our community is one that would be a fit for you. This isn’t possible to fully determine unless you spend some time with us – so visit; have coffee with a current student; attend receptions in your town; schedule calls; and make a concerted effort to know us. Your ability to answer the “why Goizueta” in your interview and essays will be a lot richer and more authentic if you do.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

  • Myth: Your second year is a walk in the park.
  • My Experience: My fall semester of my second year school was probably my busiest time at GBS! As I warn every first year – be mindful of how much you take on in your second year because among classes, extracurricular activities, recruiting and having any semblance of a social life – life can quickly get quite stressful!

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I took Financial Statement Analysis to get more familiar with financial statements. Having opted to study abroad my last semester, I wasn’t able to get this last class in. However, my time abroad was such an enriching experience. I have no doubt that I made the right decision.

 Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Claire Cooper. Whether it’s helping first years with casing or setting up a fund to raise money for the International Rescue Committee (a cause near and dear to Claire’s heart) – Claire exhibits generosity, attentiveness and passion for everything she touches. What I appreciate about her is her openness – to sincerely get to know her peers, our experiences, and our unique points of views.

 I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I spoke to one of my clients at Edelman and was told that her and her peers had received their MBAs. I knew at that point it’d be difficult to make the transition from PR to brand management without my MBA.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…spending my days traveling the world, writing books and doing yoga. Preferably with people who I love.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would look for more opportunities for cross-college collaboration.

 What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To eventually own my business after learning as much as I can as a marketer in the retail industry.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My sister, Shari Brathwaite, who has continuously set the blueprint of what I should aspire to have and do through her own example. She’s an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Brownsville in New York and received her master’s right out of undergrad (which she graduated from early). But what’s more important – she’s a giver of her time and energy to all those she loves. Throughout my life she has continued to support my endeavors and helped challenge me to seek out what would give me true happiness. However, I can’t leave this section without also calling out my parents, Orlando and Sharon, without whom I wouldn’t have the thirst for knowledge, respect for my community and confidence within self that I’ve grown to have.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Simone is one of those rare, dynamic women who you want around you whether in a classroom, at a music festival, at a #BLM protest or in the club.

Favorite book: Eat, Pray, Love

Favorite movie or television show: The Office and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Favorite musical performer: Beyoncé (proud member of the Beyhive) and Erykah Badu

Favorite vacation spot: St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Hobbies? Yoga, writing, traveling, volunteering and spending time with family and friends

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

“It has been a pleasure getting to know Simone over the past two years. She has become a fixture in our school, appearing almost everywhere involved in some club or activity. She, too, will be successful because of an eagerness to learn and no fear of taking chances. As she will mention, moving from finance to PR as a career change was one of the best decisions she’s made. I’m confident moving now into a career in marketing will continue to pay dividends for her.”

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

 

DON’T MISS: MBAS TO WATCH: THE STORIES OF 100 EXTRAORDINARY GRADUATES FROM THE CLASS OF 2017