2020 MBAs To Watch: Catherine Sutherland, Emory University (Goizueta)

Catherine Sutherland

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

An extrovert who loves bringing people together, movies, and skiing, with a goal to prioritize sustainability in business.”

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I am certified to scuba dive in a dry suit. (It is so you can dive in water under 60 degrees and only your face and hands are wet.)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston University, Film and Television

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? 3.1 Phillip Lim, I oversaw the department store wholesale accounts for footwear and accessories

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? N/A, One Year Program

Where will you be working after graduation?

Working on that! I am looking for marketing and/or strategy roles in the fashion and beauty industries. 

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • VP of Student Activities
  • Member of Goizueta Women in Business, Black MBA Association, and the Goizueta Marketing Association
  • Core Value Award Winner Summer 2019: Teamwork
  • Core Value Award Winner Fall 2019: Courage

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Two achievements specifically come to mind: First – My classmates and I wrote a case for a Fortune 500 company that is currently trying to improve its auditing process to increase sustainability in its supply chain. Second – I organize weekly KEGS (Keeping Everyone at Goizueta Social) on Thursdays. It’s exciting to bring the Goizueta community together at the end of the week, even though it’s not easy planning a party for 150 people every week!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Transitioning from being the Executive Assistant to the CEO to managing a showroom in Paris for the sales team was a difficult process. I was lucky in that I had the support of my colleagues, but it took many additional projects, early mornings, and long nights to move departments and work in a client-facing role. I was soon managing a significant portion of the domestic and international wholesale business. I was proud that I had been transparent about my goals and that through hard work I was able to achieve them.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Wesley Longhofer. He is one of the most passionate and engaged professors on campus and teaches Business and Society, a class that covers the intersection of business and social issues, something that is incredibly interesting to me.

With a class full of polarizing opinions, Professor Longhofer is able to moderate a balanced discussion and is realistic when sharing the challenges businesses face in the rise of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement. Professor Longhofer is a Faculty in Residence at Emory. He often shares stories about his family and his own concerns about society today and has earned the utmost respect from his students. His dedication to his field and to Emory University is nothing short of admirable.

Why did you choose this business school? I was really inspired by the school’s focus on sustainability in both the curriculum and on-campus initiatives. However, Emory quickly became my top choice when I saw the tight-knit community at the school. Professors and students work closely on many initiatives and the school administrators are easily found on campus. GBS has a much more collaborative community and competition is scarce among students. The small student body allows students to reach out to one another when they need support or want to share a resource.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? In both your application and your interview, let your personality show. Since GBS is such a small program, the admissions teams take a very careful look at how they think you will connect with the school ethos and student body. Highlight your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That we only recruit for companies in Atlanta – I have a ton of classmates that have accepted jobs and internships all over the United States and globally. That being said, Goizueta is definitely a strong brand name in the Atlanta community!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would definitely be better at managing my time. During my first semester, I had too many late nights catching up on cases or finishing assignments because there are a lot of distractions around campus. Now I go straight to the library if I have a few hours in the morning or between classes.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Anne Arwood. Anne is one of the hardest-working and most inquisitive people I have ever met. Aside from making Dean’s List every semester, she is also a team advisor to first-years and is in the Goizueta Leadership Development Program. Anne is also an amazing mother to her two children. I am inspired by her persistent drive to learn and challenge herself every day, while constantly engaging with the Goizueta community.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I actually wanted to be a film producer in college! Valerie Tomasello, the VP of Marketing at my old company, was the one who inspired me to go to business school. She was such a composed and thoughtful leader and would always take the time to explain a concept or project that I might not have understood. She encouraged me to set goals and work hard to achieve what I wanted. When I asked her where she learned it all, I knew that I had to do the same thing: business school.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Turn around a struggling product and/or brand, both sustainably and financially.
  • Implement a comprehensive childcare plan and maternal/paternal leave for employees.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would hope it would be something like, “Catherine was a kind, hard-working person, and always brought the fun.”

Hobbies? I try to bake something new a few times a month and I love to ski. But my most consistent hobby is watching movies. I try to see all of the Best Picture nominees each year.

What made Catherine such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“This year’s Graduate Business Association, Goizueta’ s (GBA), our student-led governing body, serving over 400 students, would have an extraordinary deficit, if not for Catherine Sutherland. She is the current Student Activities Vice president at the business school. This role is invaluable because it serves as the pulse for the work-life balance that Full-Time MBA students need to offset the rigorous demands of the academic requirements. This role is vital to facilitating organic community building and upholding our rich traditions.

Catherine, who was initially elected for different GBA position, jumped into action when our then VP for Student Activities, stepped down. A transition such as this had the potential to derail our newly meshed student body. Thankfully, Catherine’s talents and motivations were not limited strictly to the classroom. She is a person who cares deeply about the social implications of her leadership role, and who has demonstrated this conviction through several substantial challenges associated with her transition. By taking on this new position, Catherine doubled her workload, and as a one-year MBA student, Catherine had a tall mountain to climb.

Catherine is a visionary, who has done a fantastic job of creating a plethora of robust and comprehensive student activities throughout the first semester. Catherine sees the value of extending experiential learning outside of the four walls of the business school. In January, Catherine planned a day trip, with a small committee, to explore Montgomery Alabama’s Civil rights museums, to stimulant necessary conversations and deeper understanding amongst students, as it relates to the history within the south. These few examples embody the depth of commitment to the community that Catherine has, which is in alignment with our Core Values at the business school.”

Irving Williams
Associate Director for Student Affairs, Full Time MBA Program Office


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