Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class Of 2021

Mustapha Sakr

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

“Future business leader with a dream to improve educational opportunities worldwide. A foodie too.”

Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon

Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures: I have been to 23 cities on 4 different continents. I am currently a Fulbright Scholar and previously a YES alumnus when I lived in Houston, Texas as an exchange student.

Undergraduate School and Major: Lebanese American University, Banking & Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Ernst & Young, Senior Consultant

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Before being promoted to a senior consultant, I was often entrusted, by senior managers and partners, with handling complex projects directly with our C-suite executive clients. The highlight of my client interactions throughout my experience at EY was receiving an offer from a CFO to be his consultant. This offer reflected the value I delivered and the strong image I mirrored on behalf of EY.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Diverse: I have met an ex-professional opera singer who wants to move into management consulting, a lawyer who wants to get into private equity, a professional athlete who seeks to develop her career in the sports management industry and an entrepreneur with a record of different start-ups.

What I truly love about my MBA classmates is how everyone is willing to help and support in any way possible. The program connected us through GroupMe after we accepted the admission offer. Through this app, I managed to find a classmate whom I will live with for the next two years and another classmate who welcomed me at his place on my first night in Atlanta. I have developed relationships with strangers on an app (my cohort) prior to arriving in Atlanta based on mutual interests that helped me transition more easily. We now constantly communicate on professional and matters such as networking events, case studies, prepping for interviews, moving to a new city, and finding the right spot for Friday drinks out.

This does not only apply to my cohort; the second-year students have been a great support system while sharing their experiences and tips on how to kick-off on the right foot. One remarkable interaction is my peer career coach, who has a slightly similar background and exact future aspirations; he did not hesitate to share his experience and how he leveraged his skills to land his dream job (happens to be mine too).

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? Aside from the collaborative environment, I was looking for a program that focuses on placing students into consulting. This is reflected by employment statistics, faculty’s backgrounds, and the success stories of Goizueta students in consulting clubs, case competitions, and IMPACT projects.

IMPACT was the key factor that led me to choose Goizueta. During undergraduate, I was always at my best when working on projects that were reflective of the real business world and of actual problem simulations problems that require practical solutions and vivid action plans.

Because IMPACT is a core requirement of the program, it is easy to feel how much the school is invested in making this experience as solid and remarkable for all students.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I look forward to joining both the Goizueta Consulting Association (GCA) and Net Impact. I am super excited to be able to apply the lessons learned in class to a real-life setting along with second-year students. I feel that GCA will be a platform to experience real cases and seek structured thinking to find vivid solutions.

Simultaneously, Net Impact allows me to continue to work on social change through business locally in Atlanta and hopefully on a larger scale.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?

The video essay section in the application was the most challenging, as I was juggling between delivering the complete message in under a minute and making a great first impression. The question was: “What is the best advice you have received and how have you used it in your life or career?”.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  After I started my career with EY, I would regularly assess my position in the company and my expected growth in the short- and long-term versus where I aspire to reach. In order to better understand my skills and goals, I would have this discussion with my peers and direct supervisors in order to further understand my strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, I was always developing relationships with professionals in the consulting field in order to broaden my knowledge of different functions and industries.

At one point, I was a part of a large and critical project that combined consulting teams from different firms and expertise. Through that, I was exposed to strategy consulting by realizing the high-level impact that these projects will create while also understanding the difference between setting and implementing a strategy. While both seemed interesting to me, I knew that my current skills would not support that shift in my career. Therefore, I decided to set different development options and started weighing the pros/cons of each. The most efficient and impactful one to me seemed to be an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? McCombs, Kenan Flagler, Kelley, Oxford – Said Business School, Harvard, Stanford, London Business School

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As a Fulbright scholar, I was discussing different school options with the program coordinators in D.C and Lebanon based on certain criteria that include several factors: geographic location, ranking, class size, program structure, post-MBA employment opportunities, and cultural fit.

To dig deeper into the cultural aspects of every program, I used several online resources such as program websites, GMAT Club, Clear Admit, Poets & Quants, etc. Through these resources, I learned more about the norms of a program, the way students interact, faculty-student interactions, how companies perceive students in a given program, and the amazing stories of each incoming class. Poets & Quants was a major resource for identifying deeper cultural, academic, and professional details.

One last resource is talking to people and learning from their stories. In my case, I talked to my host father (the family I stayed with during my exchange year in Houston, Texas). He pursued an MBA At Rice – Jones. He helped me solidify my values so that I could prioritize my goals going into an MBA.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I believe that my whole experience while living abroad as an exchange student was a remarkable one. That started with my parents, who were courageous enough to accept sending me halfway across the world when I was 16 to my host family whom I developed such a keen connection with that still lasts through today.

During this experience, I became a new person, as if I were born again. I met people from all over the world, learned so much about different cultures, experienced a new learning system and acted as an ambassador for my country.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I aim to be a change catalyst for corporations and governments throughout the world. This will probably take the shape of partnership in a major management consulting firm.