Meet Georgia Tech’s MBA Class Of 2020

Lindsey Waters

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

“A spunky, curious, hard-working millennial who is eager to learn and experience new things.”

Hometown: Belmont, NC

Fun Fact About Yourself: I applied to Harvard on the dare of a stranger the night before the deadline… and got in!

Undergraduate School and Major: Harvard University, English

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Coca-Cola Company, Manager, Brand Analytics

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Advising some of the world’s most-loved brands on consumer needs, preferences, and motivations. 

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Collaborative. Scheller students are genuinely altruistic and willing to work together on anything – school assignments, case competitions, interview preparation, networking skills, and more. The culture of collaboration – of succeeding together – is contagious and genuinely improves the MBA experience for everyone. Everyone here has an incredibly diverse skillset and perspective, and my classmates have been genuinely enthusiastic to share and grow together, both personally and professionally.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Scheller’s unique emphasis on the practical aspects of the MBA degree sold me. Rather than debating cases in a purely theoretical/hypothetical classroom situation, Scheller students are encouraged to work on real-life projects and business problems through our Practicum classes. Scheller’s practicum classes range from international experiences to pro-bono consulting, to sustainability to strategy, giving students a wide range of options to pursue their interests. Scheller’s strong relationships with the business community (from startups to Fortune 500 companies) enable students to dive deep into the inner workings of the challenges that face businesses every day. In turn, this allows students to leave the program as better leaders and contributors.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m very excited to be a first-year leader in the Strategy and Innovation Club at Scheller. “Strategy” and “innovation” are often ubiquitous terms in business, and students often base their passion and career choices on pursuing one of those areas – but with only a vague idea of what they mean. Through the club, I hope to provide students with practical examples (through company visits, company presentations/discussions, case working sessions, etc.) of what those terms mean to different businesses and how they can shape their careers to reflect their specific interests in those areas. By gaining both a broad and deep understanding of these two areas, I believe students (myself included) are best prepared for any challenge a business may confront.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Thus far in my career, I have only learned what is “right” by what is or was done in a given organization. I believe there is power in knowledge and in knowing the full story. I chose to pursue an MBA to fill in the gaps of what I know and what I don’t know I don’t know. Now, as I go forth into the world as an MBA, I will be better equipped as a leader to approach problems holistically and with the added confidence of education and more experience.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Ultimately, I was very skeptical about going back to school. I already had a well-paying job at a top company, and I wasn’t sure if the time away from the workforce (opportunity cost) and the monetary cost of an MBA would be worth the investment. That’s why I originally intended to pursue the Evening MBA option to have the “best of both worlds.” Ultimately, I decided that if I was going to devote the time and energy to pursuing a degree, I wanted to be “all-in.” In turning my attention to a full-time program, I decided that it would be worth it only if I took the time to genuinely explore what motivates me as a person, where I want to be in 5-10 years, and how I want to make an impact on the world. During these two years, I hope to gain a better understanding of how to be a leader and a greater confidence in my own direction. If I achieve those two things (and get a great job, of course), then it would have been worth the investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None – I was a non-traditional applicant. I originally intended to complete the Evening MBA program while working full-time, then decided to enter the Full-time program instead.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Slightly nontraditional, curriculum, cost/benefit, and time away from work were the primary factors for consideration.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? A defining moment for me occurred during my senior year of high school when I was applying to colleges. I was a finalist for a scholarship and a former graduate of my high school (who had graduated about 10 years earlier, no relation prior to this instance) reached out to ask if I wanted to review my application and prepare for the scholarship interviews. During our meeting, he asked me why I was limiting myself to in-state schools. He then asked, “If you could study anywhere, where would you go?” I replied “Harvard, of course,” and he then dared me to apply. His rationale was that you can only achieve what you try for – that I should push myself out of my comfort zone and “go big or go home.” This was the first time someone had challenged me to think differently about my potential and strive for more than what my current situation or standards were, and it has become a dominating force in my life since then.  Now, every time I set a benchmark or a goal to achieve, I think to myself “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” and chase that dream.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to join a consumer products or technology firm that is leading innovation in the consumer and digital space. I hope to be in either a brand management or product marketing role.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  In five years, I hope to have established myself as a leader and top contributor in a global firm. I hope to have formed genuine and meaningful relationships with my team and peers and to have helped others achieve incredible business results. I hope to have started a family and be a strong advocate and example for women and mothers in the workplace.