Go big or go home. Bigger is better.
You’ve probably heard those maxims. After all, getting big reflects success. It is a reward for perseverance and performance. Big means ‘name’ clients, fawning press, and exclusive circles. Of course, big also brings suffocating overhead and expectations – no place to hide and little room for error.
Here’s an alternative path: Stay small. You can take time and remain focused, stay closer and react faster. Being small, you can do it better and own a niche. More than that, small is the space where you can get personal, see your impact, and know your value.
THE ADVANTAGE OF SMALL
In other words, staying small is a strategy. It is one mastered by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In the Class of 2022, you’ll find 145 MBAs who are embracing the small, intimate, close-knit and connected. In return, they enjoy meaningful relationships, personal attention, shared experience, and lasting purpose.
Margaux Galitz, who earned her undergraduate degree at Goizueta, is returning because the smaller class size enables “professors and advisors to really focus on individual students.” These deeper connections, says Rutendo Chikuku, enrich the learning experience.
“I believe in community,” writes the Zimbabwe physician. “Being seen, being known, and being connected are critical components that help students to flourish.”
WHERE EVERYONE MATTERS
Marketing fluff? Well, Goizueta goes to extremes to back up its personalized approach. The MBA program maintains a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, with each student assigned a personal coach. Known as “Coca-Cola University” – the namesake spent 17 years running the soft drink giant – Goizueta isn’t quite as small as advertised. You see, the business school also boasts a Top 20 undergraduate program, not to mention flourishing evening and executive MBA programs. Still, it is Goizueta’s commitment to the individual student – and its recipe for building community – that remains as the full-time program’s signature.
“Class size really did matter in my experience at Goizueta Business School,” explains Catie Mannario, a 2020 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “It was easy to dive into school and meet everyone. The community grew early on due to the class size and allowed us all to become close friends.”
Make no mistake: the Class of 2022 will work hard. Goizueta’s reputation for academic rigor is well-earned. Still, the class will certainly adopt a play hard mentality once they arrive on campus. One example is the program’s traditional Thursday afternoon KEGS (Keeping Everyone at Goizueta Social) – a chance for students to decompress and bond over drinks and food spreads.
“When clubs and organizations sponsor a KEGS, it is so fun to see students get excited about their classmates’ cultures and passions,” explains Catherine Sutherland (’20). “Some of the best KEGS have included a drag show from the Pride Club, a “shave off” after a Beard Growing competition to raise money for cancer research, and country music karaoke. This weekly event really emphasizes Goizueta’s focus on diversity and community, and is a great opportunity to get to know your classmates, program office, professors, and faculty.”
BEATING WALL STREET
Yes, Goizueta may be “small,” but you could easily add “but mighty” after it. Just look at some of the talent it has attracted to the Class of 2022. They include leaders and experts from companies like Schlumberger, Barclays Capital, and Korn Ferry. In the U.S. Navy, Benjamin Holladay was accepted into the highly-selective Naval Reactors headquarters as a nuclear engineer – an “intense” role that prepared him for the rigors of graduate business education.
“The consequences of the work are as high as they are in a military application of nuclear power,” Holladay explains. “However, this environment challenged me and stretched me to grow in the best way possible. I learned to consider all possible outcomes as well as all possible solutions; I learned the importance of clearly and concisely articulating a position as well as the immense value that dissenting opinions provide; I learned to anticipate questions (several levels deep) but also that some questions do not need to be answered to arrive at the right solution, and most importantly I learned that the value of building strong working relationships by truly listening to someone cannot be overstated.”
How about Frank Thomas? As a teenager, he moved to New Zealand to work as a journalist. Eventually, he joined The Motley Fool, where he headed up investing intelligence. With his reporter’s love for analysis and penchant for objectivity, he created an instrument that was the envy of Wall Street.
“I researched and designed the investment strategy behind my company’s first index and ETF product, the Fool 100,” he tells P&Q. “After two years of quantitative research, the strategy launched in early 2018 and has beaten the S&P 500 by nearly 31% since inception. It currently manages $275 million in client assets.”
MAKING AN IMPACT EARLY ON
The class also features Kevin Link, who started his career at a fast-growing startup. Three years later, the venture was acquired by Ferguson Enterprises, the nation’s largest distributor of plumbing and HVAC supplies. Not only did Link help lead the transition, but Ferguson brought him in to help with a different consolidation. At Korn Ferry, Rachael Augostini headed up large scale diversity and inclusion efforts, while Breanna Spurley’s expertise ranges from “calculating trading desk earnings at an investment bank to building expense models at a nonprofit.” Equally impressive, Christopher Sanchez operated out of the technology side of Barclays Capital as an assistant vice president. Now, his work underpins the firm’s processes involving compliance and taxes.
“During one specific project, I worked with finance, tax, and technology teams to capture the requirements to support a new set of technology capabilities and reporting tools to ensure compliance with newly-passed tax regulations,” he explains. “Given that this was the first time this had ever been done, I enjoyed the challenge of helping the firm solve never-before-seen problems and designing technology that successfully provided the desired results. I became a subject matter expert across a variety of topics related to this new regulation and trained more than 20 teams internally on how to use and review the technology, calculations, process, and roles and responsibilities.”
Sound complicated? Try being Rachel Jain. At athenahealth, she had to relocate to the Philippines to build a project management team. The cultural and language differences were formidable enough. On top of that, she tacked on working nights to accommodate the 12-hour time difference with corporate. At the same time, this role stretched her and made returning to school far less intimidating.
“Being able to work so well with my Manila team and use our various backgrounds as a strength helped me prepare for the collaborative nature of the business school. Furthermore, I had to improve my written and verbal communication skills by working with a team that spoke English as their second language (as well as working virtually with my team in America). The skill to communicate virtually will be crucial when working with my classmates this year while COVID-19 continues to create new ways of collaborating.”
FOLLOWING HER FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS
Outside the office, financier Breanna Spurley is a “tap-dancing violinist.” Her classmate, Christian Smith, calls himself a “musical soul” and a “master vocal impressionist. For Margaux Galitz, fame came early…as in the cusp of adolescence.
“I sang professionally in a children’s pop singing group from the ages of 11-15 years old in Miami. Through this experience I was able to tour the country and record an album.”
Goizueta will also serve as a family affair for some. Kevin Link and his wife are expecting their first child in January. An MBA degree will also enable Rachel’s Jain’s family to come full circle.
“I will be graduating with my MBA from Goizueta Business School exactly 30 years after my dad graduated with his MBA from Goizueta,” she writes.
Overall, Goizueta experienced a surge of applications in the 2019-2020 cycle. The number rose from 1,022 to 1,067, a 4.4% boost. At the same time, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the class climbed from 12% to 19%. This number, however, was offset by a steep decline in international students, which fell from 35% to 19% (though 21 countries are still represented in the class, nearly identical to the year before). In addition, the percentage of women held relatively steady at 30% for the 2022 Class.
That said, these totals don’t reflect 27 students who decided to defer. “What has been nice is we’ve been hearing from the international students that they are starting to get visa appointments, even as early as this month,” says Melissa Rapp, assistant dean of MBA admissions in a 2020 interview with P&Q. “So they will be able to join soon.”
Go to page 2 for an in-depth look at 12 Emory Goizueta MBAs
Our Meet the Class of 2022 Series