2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Kegan Baird, Emory University (Goizueta)

Kegan Baird

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“A son, brother, husband, and friend who strives to make a difference (cheesy, but true).”

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve applied to be on Survivor multiple times. No calls from Jeff Probst yet…

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Georgia, BBA in Marketing and BS in Statistics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant in Strategy & Analytics

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? UPS in Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant in Strategy & Analytics (Yup, same as before school but with a different salary this time).

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, Managing Director
Goizueta Nonprofit Consulting, Co-President
Goizueta Gives, Vice President
Goizueta Business Administration, VP of Community Outreach
Men as Allies, VP of Community
Goizueta Sports Club, President
Emory Club Tennis, Player
Goizueta Honor Council, Member
Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy Fellow
Emory Marketing Analytics Center Fellow
Delta Leadership Coaching Fellow
Impact Coaching Fellow
Teaching Assistant (7)
Douglas G. Matthews Scholarship for Management Excellence and Entrepreneurship
Class of 2022 Core Value Award (3) – Accountability, Community, and Diversity

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was helping to establish and then completing the second inaugural John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition. Racial justice was not a particular passion of mine heading into business school, but I’ve always been passionate about utilizing all the opportunities I’ve been provided in my life to provide opportunities for others. The summer of 2020 changed my outlook. Once the competition was established in the Fall of 2021, I immediately wanted to be involved so I could do something that would have an impact. Over the past year, our team has put so much time into making this competition a success and ensuring the competition makes a difference through education and action. I’m proud of all the effort our student team, along with plenty of faculty and staff assistance, put into the competition to execute on our vision. More importantly I’m proud of the fact that we’ve gotten so many people and corporations to re-evaluate their own practices and beliefs — actually take action in working towards creating a more equitable future.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Deloitte, I was working on a project for a state government to streamline their new public benefits system, primarily focusing on SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). State governments are required to process SNAP applications within 7 or 30 days depending on the household’s circumstances, which can literally determine whether these individuals are able to access food. When I joined the team to work on this initiative, we were hovering around 50% of applications being processed on time. Through repeated process and data analyses and constant iterations of new techniques to improve productivity, we were able to move beyond our target goal of 90% and reach 97% timeliness. While the work was very challenging, helping our target population get the information and results they need is what makes me the most proud.

Why did you choose this business school? I am incredibly fortunate to be at Goizueta and will be forever thankful for the admissions team taking a chance on me. Overall, I was really attracted to Goizueta because I wanted to stay in Atlanta and am really interested in both marketing analytics and social enterprise. Coincidentally, Goizueta had The Roberto C. Goizueta Business & Society Institute as well as the Marketing Analytics Center, which fell right in line with my goals and development areas for the future. This made Goizueta a “no-brainer”. Atlanta is such an amazing community and I see myself here for the long run.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I’ve had multiple professors for multiple classes and have worked with others many times, so I’m going to be political and give a shoutout (in alphabetical order, of course) to Renee Dye, Jeff Rummel, Karl Schuhmacher, David Schweidel, and Lynne Segall. The relationships between students and professors are a testament to Goizueta’s culture. I can confidently say that I have genuine relationships with all of these professors, along with many others.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I’d sign up for less, so I could spend more time getting to know more people and getting to know people more. Nothing is more important than time and the biggest takeaway from school is not going to be your discounted cash flow modeling skills or which clubs you were a part of, but the people that you impact and the people that impacted you. I probably over-committed myself, limiting my availability to show up as much.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Everyone from Goizueta goes to work in Atlanta. While many students do choose to stay in Atlanta because it is an incredible place to live (no bias), Goizueta students have opportunities and move all over the world after graduation. Outside of the larger firms that require certain roles to work at HQ, there are really no constraints, especially now that many jobs are remote, and work forces are spread out. Goizueta really does position and support students for whichever career/firm they want, and the onus is on each student to take advantage of the opportunities and make that happen.

What surprised you the most about business school? The number of opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom. I told myself (and my wife, Halle) that I was going to take it easy in business school and spend more time with her than when traveling at Deloitte. After hearing about each of the amazing clubs and organizations Goizueta had to offer, I realized I’d just committed to a full-time job on top of school (sorry, Halle. Thank you for your patience and always supporting me!) There is so much going on and putting yourself out there can lead to some truly remarkable opportunities. Business school is truly a place where you get out what you put in. However, like I said earlier, it is easy to over-commit, so you need to be strategic about how you prioritize your time.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?
I think one of the reasons Goizueta decided to take a chance with me was because I demonstrated interest and enthusiasm from the very start of the process, participating in events and bring my authentic self to the conversation. I stayed in contact with the admissions teams and made it clear that I could see myself being here, without being overly aggressive.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Ivan Mosqueda. Ivan is the President of Goizueta Business Administration (student council equivalent) and has significantly shaped the culture of our class. I’ve said this to him before, but I don’t think there’s ever been someone who dislikes Ivan. If there is, I can guarantee it is their fault. Ivan embodies integrity, enthusiasm, and accountability. I’m honored to be his friend and am jealous of his willingness to provide for others. On top of all his daily duties as president, he’s planned a ski trip, a beach trip, six flags’ nights, a birthday bash, and has simply brought passion, energy, and positivity to our school. He really cares about people and has been crucial to my MBA experience. Thank you, Ivan!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father, Robert (Bob) Baird. He’s my role model and along with the rest of my family, is really the reason I am the person that I am today. I’m always trying my best to follow in his footsteps and admire his thorough, fun, and humble approach to life. His college majors were marketing and quantitative analysis and I ended up choosing marketing and statistics, so you can see that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

I’ve always tried to live my life following his 5 simple rules and 2 goals: Treat people how you want to be treated (Golden Rule), Think before you act, Do what is right, Learn from your mistakes, and Be generous along with being happy and making a difference.

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

1. Start a business. I’ve helped grow new businesses and started small non-profits but want to do something at a larger scale. Ideally, this would have a social impact focus or be a certified b-corporation, but step 1 is just getting the idea into motion

2. Work on something I love. I tend to like most things but don’t exactly know what I love doing, which can be a bit of a blessing and a curse. Being excited to go to work every day and work on something meaningful would probably be the Holy Grail, especially if that includes bucket list item #1 as well

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? I’m more focused on what really matters, which often means not focusing as much on moving up the ladder but paying more attention to work-life balance. While I haven’t exactly done this in business school, I’ll be taking this approach in the future. As I said, there’s nothing more important than people and that starts with family and friends. I tend to say yes to everything and overcommit, so I want to make sure my priorities align with reality and that I’m always present for those around me.

What made Kegan such an invaluable member of the Class of 2022?

“Kegan’s commitment and dedication to Goizueta and his classmates make him an invaluable member of our community. His work this year has embodied the nexus between business and society, which is something that Kegan is passionate about. Whether organizing the 21st Century Leaders annual campus visit, serving as the managing director for the second annual John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, or organizing the community service activities for his classmates, Kegan’s service to others is exemplary and worthy of recognition.”

Irving Williams III
Associate Director of Student Life & Engagement, Full-Time MBA Program
Emory University, Goizueta Business School


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