Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Maria Harper, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Maria Harper

Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business

“From Austin to Atlanta, I’ve seen how the future is shaped by business and technology.”

Hometown: Macomb, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m afraid of elevators

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Missouri, Journalism and German Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Manager, Demand Generation Operations at Planview Inc.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was looking for a school that offered curriculum that really leaned into how technology is changing the business landscape. At my last company, I had the opportunity to see first-hand how digital transformations affect different business components and I wanted a school that recognized the importance.

The Scheller MBA ranks among the best for instilling innovation and creativity according to alumni and students surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek. How have seen this in the programming so far? There’s very little abstraction in the curriculum. We are using the software tools innovative businesses use and we’re using recent case studies. We don’t lose focus trying to imagine theory into practice because we’re living practice every day. That opens the door to thinking forward from a specific business perspective, instead of trying to relate every operations issue to something you read from a textbook written during the dialup internet era.

At Scheller, you are literally across the street from Tech Square and living in one of the dynamic business environments in the world. What makes Atlanta such a great place to live and learn for you? Atlanta was one of the deciding factors of why I chose to get my MBA at Scheller. I think if it weren’t for COVID-19, I would definitely be able to tap into the local resources a little bit differently from a career perspective. But COVID-19 aside, there are a ton of innovative companies here that really make the business landscape what it is. On top of that, Atlanta is truly a historic city rooted in diversity and I think just being able to see first-hand how that impacts the businesses here is something you can’t get anywhere else.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are collaborative. Everyone in the Scheller MBA program is willing to go out of their way to help you ace a class, prep for a presentation, and even land a job. Even with being mostly virtual, we’re still a tight-knit group of intelligent individuals.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m proud of how dynamic my career has been. Within the marketing and advertising space, I’ve managed to pick up new skills and take on stretch projects that I’ve learned a lot from. My last role before business school was one I designed based on the needs of my department. Being able to constantly change and adapt as business needs change is something I put a lot of effort in.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Landing my dream internship at AT&T has been my biggest accomplishment so far. Being able to go to a company that checks all the boxes and all the reasons why I decided to pursue my MBA is so exciting. I’m happy that I’ll be able to apply everything I’m learning at Scheller about the intersection of technology and business to a company whose whole history has evolved along with technology.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I hit a point where I realized there were skills I wanted to develop to be able to progress in my career. Having worked primarily in marketing and advertising, I felt stuck in that world. There is a lot more I wanted to learn about business strategy, especially businesses that are going through transformations.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was deciding to do a co-op in Germany, moving across the world to work for a news network in Tuttlingen (population: 35,000). I learned getting comfortable being uncomfortable was the only way I was going to succeed in that situation and for the rest of my career and it’s a lesson I turn to daily in business school.


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