2018 Best MBAs: Emily Gennaula, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Emily Gennaula

The Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

“Industrious leader with a perfectionist streak, adventure-seeking outdoorswoman, bubbly friend.”

Age: 25

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Fun fact about yourself: I was pictured on the cover of the New York Times for sleeping in the garage of a Times Square hotel during the 2003 New York City blackout.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Pittsburgh, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Majors: Finance and Accounting)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? PwC, Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? A.T. Kearney – Chicago, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Associate – Pittsburgh, PA

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Leadership Roles:
    • Graduate Business Association Career Development Officer
    • Consulting Club Advisory Board Member
  • Awards:
    • Forté Foundation Fellow
    • Brian T. Olsavsky Fellow (Selected by Admissions for leadership)
    • Arjun V. Gokhale Spirit Award (Selected by Administration for teamwork and ability to bring diverse groups together)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my first year, many of my classmates (myself included) struggled with networking events. Particularly, we struggled with what we refer to at Tepper as “circles of death,” where students form semi-circles around recruiters, attempting to both learn and build connections. I pursued multiple efforts to help students gain comfort with networking.

As a first year, I co-wrote and produced a film depicting networking events and ways to build connections, featuring some brave fellow students. At the start of my second year, I coordinated a multi-departmental mock networking event. My fellow returning second years acted as recruiters, sharing internship stories and meeting new students, while incoming first year students practiced networking ahead of events with actual companies. Together, the efforts were a resounding success, which students and administration alike touted as instrumental in assisting with successful fall recruitment. I am proud of these efforts because they not only allowed my classmates to gain confidence and shine in recruitment, but also promoted ongoing knowledge-sharing between students – a hallmark of our Tepper family. I’m excited to say that planning for next year’s mock networking event has already started.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Before business school, I was as an auditor with PwC. My proudest achievement was helping my team and client through a challenging post-merger period, which required not only the merging of two companies, but two geographically-separated PwC teams. As I reviewed a critical financial piece of the merger, I worked with both of PwC teams to share findings and build connections. Through my relationships and reliability, I helped the teams through several time-constrained projects, building value for our merged client. Ultimately, I’m most proud of this experience because I bridged a gap between two dispersed teams while helping our client through a challenging time.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Fallaw Sowell, Associate Professor of Economics. Fallaw teaches Managerial Economics as well as a multitude of other advanced topics. Though I’ve taken several economic classes during my academic career, none made me think more critically, understand more deeply, or enjoy more thoroughly the nature of economics than did Fallaw’s course. Fallaw builds a connection with each one of his many students and has a power to explain and captivate like no other professor.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Funding Early Stage Ventures, a course about how companies are formed and funded from both an entrepreneurial and Venture Capital perspective. While I gained many indispensable technical insights from the course, my biggest insight was on people. I learned how people think when forming companies, specifically their emotional ties to the business and team. As I move into a consulting career, having insight into the ties that my clients have with their businesses is indispensable.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Tepper for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the community. As a Pittsburgh native, it was important to attend a school that had a similar people-focused, charitable nature to my hometown. I found exactly that, and luckily in my own backyard, with Tepper. Our Tepper family, as we call it, celebrates the diversity that all our students and alumni bring. Tepper allows students to learn from each other with small class sizes and multiple community-building events. With the family-focused community at Tepper, I knew I could succeed professionally while growing personally.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself! Tepper is a special program in that we are a small community of very unique people. Admissions – as well as your future classmates – want to get to know you, including your passions and personality. Try to relax and show your true self during the admissions process.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not taking advantage of all of the amazing travel opportunities. Many of my classmates are from outside of the US, and often host cultural treks to their home countries. While I travelled a fair bit during business school, I wish I would have taken advantage of more of these opportunities to explore the world alongside my classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate and friend Mike Provenzano. Mike came to business school with a dream of pursuing a career in the aerospace industry and not only achieved his goal, but brought others along with him. Having attended Tepper for only one semester and with no professional experience in the space industry, Mike established a new club, STARs, focused on promoting professional development in the astronautics, rockets, and space industries. He tirelessly worked to help others learn about his passion, ultimately landing himself and several others internships and full-time careers at space focused companies. It has been a pleasure to work with and learn from a humble, passionate leader like Mike.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad most influenced my decision to pursue business with his never-ending enthusiasm and gentle competitive nature, reinforced with the help of my three younger sisters. My dad always believed I could achieve my dreams, and ended any doubt by asking “why not?” His positive attitude has motivated me through the past years and will continue to push me as I begin my post-MBA career.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…finishing the year-end audit with my PwC team and helping clients solve problems.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list? (1) Travelling to world famous cultural events (top on my list currently is the San Fermin festival). (2) Become a life-long mentor to help someone through their career, as many others have helped me.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as supportive, smart, and kind with a can-do attitude.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happyness – The biggest lesson I learned was that anyone can achieve their goals through hard work and resilience.

What would your theme song be? “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Favorite vacation spot: Vail, Colorado – I love to ski and spend time with friends and family outdoors

Hobbies? Outdoors activities (Skiing, hiking, biking, camping), reading, travel, and planning trips for groups of friends

What made Emily such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“As Career Development Officer, Emily had a strong interest in supporting her classmates’ career development, which is what I’d expect to see from someone in this role. However, Emily elevated the positon to a new level through her thoughtful leadership style and her strong interpersonal skills. Emily also has a knack for bringing people together to achieve a shared vision, which made her so deserving of our Arjun V. Gokhale Spirit Award. Examples include: increasing collaboration and communication across Club leaders and Tepper Administration; impactful events like the Mock Networking session; and the production of a highly engaging and instructional film depicting student networking do’s and don’ts.

Emily’s contributions to our MBA program and the Tepper Community will continue to benefit students in the future. Given her level of success while at the Tepper School, I can’t wait to see what Emily will accomplish in her post-MBA career!”

Stephen Rakas
Executive Director
MBA Career Services

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST: CLASS OF 2018