2019 MBAs To Watch: Harrison Reeves, Emory University (Goizueta)

Harrison Reeves

Goizueta Business School, Emory University

“Verbose”

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun fact about yourself: In the past 12 months, I have been to the highest place on earth (… well close to it at Everest Base Camp) and the lowest place on earth (the Dead Sea)

Undergraduate School and Degree: UNC-Chapel Hill, double major in Economics and Peace, War & Defense

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I did a pre-MBA internship at a boutique consultancy, Varda Partners in Charlotte, NC. Before that, I worked at Driven Brands, also in Charlotte, NC.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? EY – TAS out of the Atlanta office, but my project was in Melville, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Sr. Consultant at EY – TAS out of the Atlanta Office

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I served as President of the Graduate Business Association and was also involved with the Graduate Student Government Association.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As president of GBA, my primary objective was to drive sustainability initiatives at Goizueta so we could be a leader in Emory University’s larger sustainability objectives (Emory is a recognized as one of the top sustainable universities in the U.S.)

The most visible way we accomplished this was through the “K.E.G.S. Cup.” Each week, we host a “Keeping Everyone at Goizueta Social” event, with food and drink to debrief the week. We previously consumed over 500 solo cups per week and produced additional plasticware waste.

To address this, we applied for and received a grant from Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives to provide branded stainless steel cups to all students that effectively serve as a ticket of entry to our weekly K.E.G.S. (now rebranded as Keeping Everyone at Goizueta Sustainable) event.

Through this initiative, we have all but eliminated plastic waste at our K.E.G.S. events. More importantly, it has inspired behavior change as reusable cups have replaced plastic water bottles in classrooms and thermoses have replaced single-use cups at Highland Bakery.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Varda Partners, I was brought in to help a primary client establish a new distribution channel. By the end of the four months, I was on the project, the new channel represented 10% of the client’s sales.

This was my first time deep diving into data analytics and was also my first experience working as a consultant. The opportunity to do a pre-MBA internship solidified for me that I wanted to recruit for consulting.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough one, but Daniel McCarthy. Prof. McCarthy is a new professor to Goizueta and I was in his first Consumer Behavior class last year. While Prof. McCarthy is quite academic and the class is data heavy, he brought the material alive with our group projects. All the while, he was regularly being quoted in WSJ, CNBC, among others, and made headlines by selling his company to Nike.

What was your favorite MBA Course? I was not a fan of Financial Accounting in CORE semester, but Managerial Accounting has been an awesome class. I will never forget about the Death Spiral!

Why did you choose this business school? The community. At Welcome Weekend as an applicant, it was apparent how cohesive the entire student body was. With a small class size, it may not be an expansive network of classmates, but it is a strong one.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be authentic. In my interview, I provided answers that may have been a little too honest. EQ is really important at Goizueta. While my interview may not have worked at other schools, I think my authenticity helped show how I would fit in the Goizueta community.

What is the biggest myth about your school?  It’s hard to be invisible at Goizueta, and I think this “myth” has absolutely been proven true. You don’t have to be in a leadership position to make an impact or to be recognized. This all boils down to the class size and community.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? MBA is not all about the career switch. Improving my career trajectory was a major motivating factor for me to get an MBA. To that end, mission accomplished. However, the experiences along the way over the past two years have been even more rewarding, from the relationships built, skills developed, and countries explored.

I don’t think this knowledge would have changed my approach to applying to business school, it has just been a welcomed surprised.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Rolling out the K.E.G.S. Cup has actually been a transformative experience, as it has shown how even a little entrepreneurial initiative with a strong communication plan can create an impactful change.

Going into its implementation, I recognized that the K.E.G.S. Cup was an inconvenience, as it provided a barrier to entry to one of the most popular events on campus. To overcome the inconvenience, we needed to communicate why it was important, and also demonstrate how easy it was to comply. Most importantly, though, we needed to make it cool. With a strong “why” and some cool, free swag, we were able to achieve buy-in and make it a success.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have had the privilege of working with an incredible GBA team this year, and it’s unfair to choose one among them. The VPs on GBA have helped steer club involvement, address to social issues, and so much more.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom is a dentist and father is an internist and both, of course, have professional disagrees. I always knew I did not want to go into healthcare, but that higher education was important to me.

What is your favorite movie about business? I loved Moneyball but mostly because I love baseball. It does show the power of data, especially when you have the opportunity to have a first mover advantage of insight on what to do with available data.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? “Impact” – Impact is, of course, a major program at Goizueta that makes up a large portion of the first-year experience. I’m not sure if this is just among Goizueta alumni or everywhere, but “impact” has also seemingly become a business buzzword that is as overused as “synergies.” It got to the point that I kept an “impact tracker” in my notebook at company presentations.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…fighting a lot harder to get a consulting job, probably less successfully too.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? The ROI is definitely there for it to be worth well more than I paid for my MBA. The experience has an intangible value added though that I prefer to leave qualitative than quantitative.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 

1) Visit 30 countries by age 30 — currently one away with over a year to go.

2) Own a business that is ESG focused

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Harrison worked to build bridges, was engaging and cared.

Hobbies? Basketball, hiking, visual and performing arts, and all Atl/UNC sports

What made Harrison such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Harrison takes his roles as class president and leader in our community very personally. He wears it on his sleeve, how important it is to represent Goizueta. He leans fully into the experience of representing his classmates. He’s been an ally in a way his classmates and the leadership of the school admire and respect, particularly on issues of social justice and inclusion.”

Brian Mitchell
Associate Dean of Full-Time MBA Program

Are you a friend of Harrison? Leave a comment to congratulate him.