Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class Of 2021

Naveen Srikakulam

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

“An engineer, musician, movie buff, cooking enthusiast who loves solving challenges and building a strong network.”

Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can understand seven languages. My goal is to learn at least one more language before I graduate from the MBA program.

Undergraduate School and Major: NIT Trichy, Civil Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sales Manager– Global Commercial Payments, American Express Banking Corporation

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Due to the introduction of a few monetary policies in India, our clients suffered a lot of financial issues and were not able to pay our receivables on time, severely affecting our cash-to-debt cycle ratio. I spoke to a friend of mine working in a commercial-lending bank and brought the bank on board with us to fund our clients’ receivables, thereby creating synergy among all the parties involved. I pitched the idea to the higher management of our company and the bank to gain buy-in, easing the strained cash flow of our company, which resulted in getting bonuses for all the departments on time. This is my biggest achievement so far, as I pushed my boundaries and came up with a unique idea, analyzed various options using data, and implemented the solution in such a short period of time.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Goizueta students are the most humble, open-minded, kind, and interesting people I have met in my life. One of my classmates gave his Porsche to a newly-met classmate so that he can take his visiting partner out for dinner before she left town. The community is very collaborative and tight-knit.

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? The key factor that led me to choose GBS is the support that one receives in the program. Goizueta creates an extremely helpful and nurturing environment for the students, which can be clearly observed in their behavior. When I was contemplating which school to choose, I decided to speak to the students for information. While I did not get a good response from some other schools, Goizueta students not only responded well but made sure that my concerns were addressed by putting me in touch with admission staff or with other students. This speaks volumes about the community at GBS.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?  I am really excited about the experiential learning activities the school curriculum provides such as GALA and Mid Semester Modules (MSM) at an international location in the program.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “How would your teammates describe you?” was the most challenging question I faced during the process. I felt it was a very subjective question and when asked, I was thrown off my feet. However, I, fortunately, remembered my annual performance notes from my team and could answer it appropriately.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  I thoroughly enjoyed creating value to my clients and to my peers in professional life. I was passionate about assisting businesses to enhance their strategy and to make their processes more sustainable and robust. However, the solutions I came up with required a lot of effort since I was not aware of all the business topics. My managers, who were MBA graduates, helped me in those aspects and promoted the idea of pursuing an MBA. After nearly six years of working, I felt that I was ready to share my experiences and learn new things from other classmates.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tuck, NYU Stern, Foster & ISB India

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I wanted to have a program that provided three things:

  1. A vibrant city- Atlanta is the hub of many Fortune 500 companies. The opportunities in the city are immense.
  2. A supportive community – The GBS alumni network is present across the globe. The community is bound together by strong relationships.
  3. Brand value- GBS is a global school and has an excellent brand name across various firms.

Moreover, I learn the best when the class size is small. GBS had everything I was looking for in an MBA program, including some of the best professors in their field of study. After considering these aspects, I was confident that this is the right program where I can become the best version of myself.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The defining moment in my life was when I left my home for high school education. As I was born in a small town, I had poor communication skills and could not befriend any person for nearly five months in a city. That was a depressing moment of my life, but it taught me the importance of communication, relationship-building, and teamwork- attributes that are required to thrive in any professional setting.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  In five years, I want to apply my MBA skills to make the companies I work with strong and sustainable. I wish to be in a leadership role, where I can influence the firm’s policies and decisions to contribute to its growth.