Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Cade Ricker, Emory University (Goizueta)

Cade Ricker

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“Collaborative ambivert on a mission to never be the smartest person in the room.”

Hometown: Fairfax, VA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am an avid ultra-cyclist who competes annually in 100-mile ‘century’ races, and I logged 2,500 miles in 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point; Systems Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army, Engineer Officer

What makes Atlanta such a great place to earn an MBA? Atlanta boasts a robust professional scene balanced with a social scene that complements professional pursuits. Emory’s proximity to Metro Atlanta has allowed the school to develop extensive ties with industry partners in the city. This tight-knit relationship opens the door for candidates to intentionally explore the Atlanta professional network and beyond.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Emory Goizueta’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Goizueta’s small-by-design format instantly caught my attention. It attracts people who prefer a collaborative program both in and out of the classroom. You cannot go through a program like Goizueta without truly getting to know all your classmates. This was a priority for me as I believe relationships are one of the most important aspects to succeeding in business and life.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Emory Goizueta? I am most excited to grow the Goizueta Business School Veterans Association. In the Army, I was surrounded by mentors eager to help me develop into the leader I am today. Having a relatable support network is important, especially as a veteran transitioning from the military and pivoting into a new career field. At the same time, I aspire to create outlets where veterans in all six of Emory’s graduate schools can share their military experiences with the rest of the Emory community. This will ideally encourage open dialogue where stories are shared, and all students can learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Two months into my fourteen months leading a team of 37 people, the newest team member approached me to ask for help with balancing issues beyond the workplace. Only eighteen years old, he had overextended his finances before joining the Army and was struggling to support his spouse and six children. He faced the possibility of losing his children to Child Protective Services if the situation did not quickly improve. I delegated the team’s daily operational oversight to my team’s most experienced members so I could focus on helping him work through a plan to regain stability. He kept his family together, and this validated my belief that every member of a team is bound to encounter personal issues at some point. By fostering a culture of trust, team members can feel comfortable leaning on those around them to work through issues and ultimately ensure the team’s overall success.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 reminded me that life is fragile, and time is fleeting. 2020 accelerated society’s overdue realignment of principles and challenged the tendency to view situations from an invincible perspective. As I pivot to a new career path, I remain mindful of COVID’s lingering impact, but I am excited to help shape business and society’s new normal.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My time in the Army provided me with extensive leadership experience, but I knew I wanted to enhance this with a formal business education immediately after leaving the military. Pursuing an MBA at Goizueta will grow my technical business knowledge and help me adapt the various leadership skills gained in the military to the modern business world.

After graduation, I will pursue a career in management consulting. I want to immerse myself in an organization full of exceptional people while working with different teams to solve complex business problems and learn from executive teams leading large international organizations. Management consulting will also further develop my business acumen gained at Goizueta by exposing me to a variety of industries in the United States and around the world.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Fuqua, McCombs, Ross, Darden

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Emory Goizueta’s MBA program? The first piece of advice is to start preparing early. Reach out to students and the admissions committee to learn what sets Goizueta apart from other schools. From these conversations, you can determine how your profile will enhance the Emory community and how the Goizueta MBA will help you accomplish your career goals. The second piece of advice is do not self-select out of the program because you feel that an aspect of your profile does not fit certain criteria. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to gaining admission. Instead, get intentional. Reflect on your experience, explore where your passions lie, and then clearly present those in your application.


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