Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class Of 2021

Erin N. Lightfoot

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

Resilient powerhouse full of faith, inventiveness, and southern charm catalyzing teams on the front lines.”

Hometown: Augusta, Georgia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can write in cursive backward.

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgia Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amazon Fulfillment, Operations Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’ve devised network-wide standards for inventory control and end-to-end operational flow and even represented Amazon overseas in Germany. However, my biggest accomplishment relates to training and development. I’m most proud of equipping hundreds of people in the workplace and surrounding community with leadership and operational skills that improved their quality of life (better wages, increased self-confidence, etc.) from guiding managers through inclusion and diversity courses to training employees on interviewing techniques to teaching high schoolers the value of goal-setting.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Ambitious. We have various motivations but are all enormously determined to learn, engage, and succeed.

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 world-class business education. As I advanced in my career, I relied less-and-less on my engineering background and more on my raw talent. As a young professional with growing promise and responsibility, I found it imperative to bolster that raw talent with formal studies to refine my leadership and business acumen. I wanted a well-rounded, rigorous curriculum in the most inclusive, intimate context possible.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Social Enterprise at Goizueta. I’m looking forward to learning social enterprise strategies that will benefit minority youth by exposing them to a variety of educational and professional paths.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I remember being asked, “Why now?” and “Why Goizueta?” I felt strong convictions about both but wanted to clearly convey those convictions to the admissions team.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I reached this personal ceiling in my capacity to think and lead bigger than I’d done before. I knew I’d remain in this rut of underutilization until I addressed it head-on. So, I sought out an MBA experience where I could train like an athlete preparing for the Olympics.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None. I only applied to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I prioritized schools with top U.S. rankings and a variety of scholarships. Then, I attended recruitment programs and conversed with current students, alumni, and faculty. I watched the professional and social content that schools posted and paid attention to what other entities publicized about those schools. Lastly, I reflected on how each school’s mission and values aligned with mine and which school set the precedent that any organization or company should emulate.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Kindergarten. My teacher was an incredible black woman, Mrs. Welcher. She taught us advanced spelling words like “giraffe” and exposed us to novel experiences like attending a hockey game and riding in a limousine. Mrs. Welcher required us to memorize affirmational poems like “I Am Somebody” that I still recite today. Her teachings, along with my parents’ examples, taught me the power of having self-worth, self-discipline, and willpower at a very early age.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Doing fulfilling work that positively impacts people. Enjoying life with family and friends.