Meet Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2021

Georges Durot

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Lover of numbers, people, and coffee. I also enjoy tropical beaches and college football Saturdays!”

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was born at Evanston Hospital, less than a mile from Northwestern’s campus.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Georgia, Risk Management and Spanish

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Coca-Cola Company, Mergers & Acquisitions Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working in Coca-Cola’s Treasury group, I became fascinated with my colleague’s idea to build an app that enables consumers to split and settle restaurant checks from smartphones. After months of late-night collaboration and bug fixes, we bootstrapped a prototype, branded it “BillBoss”, and activated a local pilot. BillBoss began gaining momentum, so we pitched the app to CEO Muhtar Kent and CFO Kathy Waller in an Atlanta restaurant, recommending that Coca-Cola invest in our product. After probing our business model and paying with BillBoss, they funded the app and I set aside aspirations in corporate finance to lead this digital start-up within the world’s largest beverage company.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Intellectually diverse. I met so many interesting friends at Day at Kellogg, admitted students day, which was a great glimpse into life and business school at Kellogg. It was exciting to see how each classmate brings such a unique perspective that fits into the program’s broader puzzle. One example of this was Professor Michael Mazzeo’s mock strategy case on the McDonald’s Corporation’s plan to offer all-day breakfast. I first approached the case solely through my finance lens, but by the end of the session, I was drawing on classmates’ backgrounds across all functions – operations, PR, supply chain, and others – to fully examine the business decision. This was when it hit me just how transformative Kellogg will be.

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? I chose Kellogg because it offered the perfect blend of professional and personal opportunity. Given my prior experience, I was drawn to the program’s emphasis on general management, marketing, and strategy in addition to quantitative rigor. Furthermore, I always felt the itch to return to the Midwest since my family moved to Atlanta when I was six, and Kellogg’s surrounding community presented ample opportunity for my partner. It truly checked all the boxes and then some!

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? In addition to many impactful academic opportunities and professional clubs, I’m also looking forward to Kellogg’s other growth experiences. For example, I grew up in a beach-going family and have never been snow skiing, so I’m excited to attend the popular Ski Trip in December. I believe it’s in Whistler this year…Hopefully I return in one piece!

Kellogg is often described as “team-driven.” In your experience, what is the most important quality of a team member? How do you intend to bring that in a culture where “students run everything.” I think optimism is one of the most important qualities of any team member. Positive attitudes are contagious, but so are negative ones. It’s important to decide which perspective you want to bring into a group setting. I’ve always found it much easier to achieve goals, pivot to new ones, or just “figure it out” when approaching an opportunity or challenge with optimism. Each time I visited Kellogg, I was amazed by the general happiness around campus, from professors and students inside the classroom to the surrounding Admissions and Career Management teams. I’m excited to share positive energy in this team-driven culture that makes Kellogg so vibrant.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The video interview questions were challenging given their sheer unpredictability. My advice for applicants is to prepare a few timed “stories” that can be applied to a variety of personal and professional questions. Most of all, approach your recording confidently, well-rested, and ready to be yourself.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After five incredible years at Coca-Cola, I was eager to experience something new: professionally beyond corporate finance and personally beyond the Southeastern USA. Pursuing my MBA at Kellogg was the best path to explore other industries, functions, and cultures while expanding my career’s optionality.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Way too many!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Like many others, I spoke to students and alumni with backgrounds similar to mine about their MBA experiences and I connected with certain professors in tracks of interest to understand each program’s substance. However, I think it was most helpful to visit all my top choices before the application process. Not only did this give me a true sense of campuses and cultures, but it also helped me feel comfortable when revisiting for interviews. I’ll always remember stepping into Kellogg’s Global Hub for the first time and following Associate Director of Admissons, Emily Stevens, on an amazing tour of the new building…I was quickly sold!

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Not so much a defining moment, but a defining piece of me is the role that athletics has carried into my career. I grew up playing competitive baseball, a game in which three or four hits in ten at-bats will get you in the Hall of Fame. In other words, failing seven out of ten times is considered great, which is crazy to think about. Characteristics of sports like this have given me the courage to never be afraid of failure regardless of the situation (and may also explain the entrepreneurial bug inside of me!).

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Ten years is a long time and I can see myself doing a variety of things between now and then. Perhaps I’ll be working on early-stage venture capital deals, either as the investor or entrepreneur. Additionally, I hope to continue exploring the world with my family and may have a kid or two running around if lucky!

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