2019 MBAs To Watch: Luke Wareham, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Luke Wareham

Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology

“Pacesetting by day. Affiliative by night. Always seeking to achieve the goal.”

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I was able to fly an airplane by myself before I could drive a car. I got my solo pilot’s license on my 16th birthday and my driver’s license a few weeks later!

Undergraduate school and degree: Auburn University, Aviation Management

MBA Degree: Full-time MBA with a concentration in Marketing

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I was a Supply Chain Project Manager at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. I was responsible for managing numerous supplier development activities for Lockheed’s new LM-100J commercial air freighter. It was unique, cutting-edge, technological work that has the potential to make a big impact on Lockheed’s bottom line. My time at Lockheed inspired me to get an MBA from Georgia Tech due to Scheller’s focus on business and technology.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I interned with Goldman Sachs Investment Management as a Summer Associate in Atlanta.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be joining Microsoft’s Bing Search Advertising team as an Account Manager in Bellevue, WA. I will be responsible for growing Microsoft’s revenue and market share in the online search industry by managing client relationships and using consultative sales techniques. It’s the perfect job for me because it combines my passion for building relationships with the business skills I’ve gained at Scheller. I can’t wait to get started in the role and put my MBA to work!

Community work and leadership roles while in business school (include school awards and honors):

  • President, MBA Finance Club – I lead the MBA Finance Club at Scheller and seek to provide students with access to various finance related events including industry speakers, company visits, and professional development advice. One of my initiatives as Finance Club president is to increase the number of cross-club events, allowing students who aren’t interested in finance careers to understanding how important finance is to business. For example, I co-led an Impact Investing Panel with Scheller’s Net Impact Club to show students how finance and sustainability can work together to solve business and societal issues. The panel included six experts from the Atlanta area, including representatives from Morgan Stanley, WildArk, and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. It has been a lot of work, but leading the club has been very rewarding and I feel I’ve made a lasting impact on Scheller students because of my position.
  • Athletic Committee Chair – I am responsible for providing Scheller students with access to athletic events, including tailgates, intramurals, and Atlanta-area events. Living in a sports town, this position carries a lot of high expectations, but I believe that I have met those expectations, as this year saw the highest tailgate attendance numbers in the past three years!
  • I am a big believer in the Atlanta community, and I volunteer my time to make the city and its economy the best it can be. During my time at Scheller, I have volunteered numerous times for Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, as I have lived and worked in the Marietta community since I moved to Atlanta. Additionally, I was an ambassador at the Lake Lanier Dragon Boat Races, an event that hosted athletes from all over the world and brought over $4 million into the Gainesville, Georgia, community. I believe that by volunteering at these events, I have portrayed a positive image of Georgia Tech Scheller College, and the residents of Atlanta to people from around the world, and I hope that I have made Atlanta a better place because of my actions.
  • Merit-Based Honors Scholarship at Scheller
  • Graduate Research Assistant
  • Executive MBA Finance Tutor

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school and why? While it might be easy to choose to get an amazing job offer or having a great GPA, the achievement that I’m most proud of at Scheller is winning Georgia Tech’s “Tailgate of the Week” Award! This year I served as one of four Athletic Committee chairs, with my duties revolving mainly around tailgates. Having attended an SEC school for my undergraduate degree, I wanted to bring a world-class tailgating experience to Scheller. Planning the food, drinks, games, and events for the tailgates took hours each week, and setting up and taking down took even longer! However, my effort was acknowledged by the Georgia Tech Athletic Department when I was awarded the campus-wide award for best tailgate during Tech’s game against Bowling Green. My girlfriend and I got to watch the game from the sideline, and everyone at the tailgate had an amazing time. To me, this was validation that I delivered on my promise to provide a great game day experience, and I hope that I’ve set the bar high for future tailgates!

What was the biggest achievement of your professional career? Before I came to Georgia Tech, I was a supply chain project manager at Lockheed Martin. One of the programs that I worked on was the LM-100J program, which was Lockheed’s newest aircraft at the time. With this new aircraft, my team and I faced countless challenges and spent thousands of overtime hours trying to find solutions to problems that no one at Lockheed had faced before. After nearly three years of developing systems, purchasing parts, and building the aircraft, in May 2017 I witnessed the LM-100J take off for the first time. As the plane lifted off and started circling the Lockheed plant for the film crews, I was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment because I knew that all of my time and effort had paid off. My team and I had overcome adversity to make something truly incredible happen.

Who was your favorite MBA professor (and why)? Professor Charles Mulford, core accounting professor, was my favorite. I know…I said accounting! While Professor Mulford is a seasoned accountant who comes to every class wearing a pristine suit and tie, the way he teaches the subject makes it fun and exciting for every student in the class. Professor Mulford’s expertise, witty humor, and a true passion for teaching make each lecture an experience that can’t be forgotten easily. There’s a reason that the award for “Best Core Course Professor” is named in honor of Professor Mulford…he’s won it 11 times! Also, it doesn’t hurt that he is the annual MBA Spelling Bee host, where his true humor and ability to make witty remarks are on full display!

What was your favorite MBA course? Consumer Behavior was my favorite course because it was the one I least expected to encounter during business school. Consumer Behavior is about understanding why individuals make the decisions they do, and how simple changes to messages and marketing materials can have a major impact on the bottom line. For example, did you know that consumers perceive “50% off” and “Buy One Get One Free” very differently, even though the impact on their wallets is the same? As someone pursuing sales after graduation, this class was extremely insightful because it taught me the value of messaging, and that decisions that seem trivial have a huge impact on how successful a business campaign will be.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech for two reasons: first, I wanted to find an MBA program that integrated technology into its curriculum in every possible way. Coming from the aerospace industry, I know the impact technology has on business and society; I wanted to be at the forefront of the latest technological innovations because business and technology are becoming more interwoven every day. With its location in Atlanta’s Technology Square, world-renowned faculty and staff, and multiple technology-focused electives, I knew a degree from Scheller would position me for a successful career in the future.

Second, I chose Scheller because of the program’s family feel. It is hard to describe in words exactly how Scheller is a family, but I feel that a story could help. When I was applying to other business schools, I often received communications made out to ‘David Wareham.’ Even though ‘David’ is my legal first name, I’ve gone by middle name, Luke, since birth. I’m used to being referred to as ‘David’ in legal documents, but Scheller’s team always sent me communications made out to ‘Luke.’ This small touch showed me how much Scheller’s faculty and staff care about each student, and it truly showed me that I would be part of an extended family by coming to Scheller. The tight-knit community at Scheller makes all of the difference.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself during the application process and the interview. I think that too many candidates get caught up in trying to impress the admissions staff with amazing test scores or unique stories about a challenge they solved. While those are important, if Scheller is interviewing you for admission, it already knows that you are amazing and that you have the pre-requisite skills and experience to get in! Scheller is very much a community, and we treat each other like family. When we interview candidates for admission, we are looking for someone who would make a great addition to that family: someone who would make a good teammate and someone who we would want to grab a drink with after a tough project. So when you are thinking about applying to Scheller or preparing for an admissions interview, relax, take a deep breath, and remember to let your personality shine through!

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Two years ago, I wish I’d known that in addition to having a great job and being a more business-savvy individual, I would be graduating with 80 of my closest friends. I had always heard that business school is an opportunity to develop a new network of friends and business connections, but I never realized how strong the bonds I formed would be. For example, during orientation, our class went to an outdoor ropes course where we had to practice team-building skills. Even though it was only one week into the program and our teams were randomly assigned, I formed friendships in a few hours that will last a lifetime. I know that in the future if I ever need a helping hand or someone to vent to, my Scheller family will always be there for me.

MBA alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has definitely been a transformative experience. First, I would say that the way I see the world is substantially different from how I saw it two years ago. Now, whenever I see a problem or hear about an issue, I immediately attempt to define the process driving the problem to see if that can provide guidance on how to resolve the issue. Even in my personal life, I find myself looking for processes, even if the issue is as simple as how to more efficiently clean the house! Second, I would say that my communication style has changed dramatically. Prior to business school, my emails tended to contain every detail possible and my presentations were very data-heavy. Now, I find my emails much more to the point and my presentations are summary versions. I feel my ability to hone in on important issues has improved dramatically, and my communication style has forever changed for the better.

Finally, I have become much more outgoing because of my MBA experience. Prior to business school, I didn’t enjoy networking or speaking in large groups. This meant that there were times that my views were not heard, or I missed an event opportunity because I was shy. The MBA experience has completely changed this, especially since all the classes are discussion-based. A couple of cold calls will get anyone out their shell! I am thankful for my MBA experience because success in business is often tied to networking and communicating effectively, and I believe that becoming more outgoing has been the most important transformation that I’ve experienced as an MBA student. I am more confident and communicative.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire David Woods, one of the smartest, kindest, and hardest-working people I have ever met. David is a second-year year MBA student, and he does everything he can to help others. For example, in our first year, David spent hours (and even set up free, private tutoring sessions) helping the class understand a new data analytics software that we were unfamiliar with. Even though he needed time to do his own assignments, David made sure that he helped the class learn before tending to his own work. David also donates his time to school clubs and events, and always has a smile on his face when he’s there. The most impressive thing about David, however, is that he does all this while being a great family man. David is the type of person that I aspire to be, and he is a role model for everyone at Scheller.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Mark, my former manager at Lockheed Martin, had a big influence on my decision to get an MBA. Mark was one of the best managers I’ve worked for due to his ability to see the big picture, understanding of Lockheed’s business model, and genuine interest in the well-being of his employees. I have always admired Mark’s leadership and hope to one day be a leader who is as respected as he is. One thing that always stood out to me about Mark was that he was the only manager for whom I’ve worked who had an MBA. I believed (and still believe) that Mark was so effective because of the lessons he learned during his MBA program. I knew that if I wanted to make an impact on business and individuals, I needed to get an MBA. When I approached Mark about it, he was extremely supportive of the idea, even though he was sad to lose me as an employee. He even went as far as to help me evaluate MBA programs, so I could decide on which one would be right for me. Thanks to Mark’s guidance and support, I ended up making one of the best decisions of my life, which was to pursue an MBA at Scheller! I hope that in a few years, I will be in a position to provide similar guidance to others and that I will be looked up to the way I looked up to Mark.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered during your time at Scheller and what did it mean? (Feel free to be sarcastic!) TIGS (“This Is Grad School!”). TIGS was a calling card throughout my MBA experience, and I think you will only hear it said amongst the Scheller MBA Class of 2019. Initially meant to be used whenever someone was facing a particularly tough assignment (a play on “This Is Sparta” from the movie 300), TIGS morphed into a phrase that we use to describe something funny and/or uniquely Scheller. For example, a TIGS moment occurred when the class presented our accounting professor with financial statements printed on bed sheets. The whole class and the professor laughed like crazy and we all shared a TIGS moment, one that each of us will remember as part of our Scheller experience for years to come.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…if I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be building the next generation of combat aircraft. Prior to business school, I was a project manager at Lockheed Martin. I loved the work and the aviation industry, but an MBA from Scheller was too good of an opportunity to pass up!”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I think it’s nearly impossible to place a monetary value on my MBA, but I believe that it will be worth more than $2,000,000 to me over the course of my career, based on salary alone. In addition, the network that I’ve established at Scheller and the larger Georgia Tech community will benefit me forever, and I couldn’t begin to place value on the friendships and connections I’ve made. I feel the Scheller MBA is worth far more than I paid for it, and I feel Scheller is one of the best value-for-money MBA programs in the world. Scheller provides students with access to world-renowned faculty, a best-in-class career services team, and exposure to some of the top employers in the world. Additionally, the Georgia Tech brand name is immensely powerful, garnering respect no matter where you go. All of those factors add up to an amazing value for students, yet Scheller doesn’t charge an arm and leg for it!

What are the top two items on your bucket list? My first wish is to fly a P-51 Mustang (World War II fighter plane). Ever since I began flying, I’ve loved the P-51’s design and speed. Being able to spend a few hours in the cockpit of one of the greatest airplanes ever built would be one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life, and a dream come true. My second bucket list item is to travel to all 50 states and eat at a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives location. I am a big fan of the show and always seek out a “Triple D” location whenever I’m in a new state, but I’m far from accomplishing my goal. I’ve been able to visit locations in seven states, and I hoping that after my stint as a “poor college student,” I’ll be able to check off a few more!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as a good teammate who always pulled his weight and contributed to the team’s success, but who also took time to have fun, joke around, and make lasting friendships.

Hobbies? By far my biggest hobby is traveling. I have been to 33 states and seven countries, but I’m always on the lookout for my next destination! Thankfully, my girlfriend loves to travel with me, and I’m hopeful that a visit to Australia, New Zealand, or Southeast Asia is in our future soon. I’m also overly passionate about 80s music. I have always enjoyed Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, Duran Duran, etc., and I love seeing 80s groups live in concert. Whenever I have a chance to see a group, I take it. I also enjoy music trivia, although I don’t play as much as I’d like to. Finally, I’m a foodie and enjoy trying as many places as I can, even though I don’t eat seafood. If you’re ever in Atlanta and need a recommendation, just let me know.

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

“Luke Wareham is the professor’s ideal student. He’s polite and responsive, making sure to participate regularly in classroom discussions. Such classroom involvement helps to make my job easy. When a topic is introduced, I know that I can count on Luke to have the kinds of comments and questions that help others to understand. I was fortunate to have him in both my core and elective courses.”

Charles W. Mulford
Invesco Chair and Professor of Accounting
Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech

“Though my Consumer Behavior course often enrolls students with a focus outside marketing, I can think of none more curios and enthusiastic than Luke Wareham. Given his interest in finance, it is not surprising that he relished such topics as judgment, decision-making, and perception, but he was just as keen to learn about attitudes, psychographics, and brand communities. In class discussions, coursework, and personal conversations, Luke showed a rare combination of deep understanding and genuine creativity. From thoughts on improving customer insights to perspectives on “neuromarketing,” his ideas were consistently provocative and engaging. In my opinion, Luke exemplifies the notion of the “well-rounded” MBA, for whom diverse skills and interests serve as a foundation for achievements ahead.”

Samuel Bond
Associate Professor, Marketing
Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech

 

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