Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Kashis Mends-Cole, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Kashis Mends-Cole

Georgia Institute of Technology – Scheller College of Business

“Passionate and dynamic leader, striving for progress, committed to leaving the world a better place.”

Hometown: Gary, IN

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love music!  At 10 years old, I started off playing the drums at church for the youth choir. Once I reached seventh grade, I wanted to take music a little more seriously, so I joined the band to learn how to read music. From there, my relationship with music continued to grow which led me to where I am today: DJ’ing and producing music.

Undergraduate School and Major: Purdue University, Business Management with a concentration in Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Army National Guard, Budget Officer

When you think of Georgia Tech, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Scheller MBA and the larger university thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? When I think of Georgia Tech, the first things that come to mind are the diversity of people and diversity of thought. I can genuinely say that, within the Scheller MBA program and the larger university, I have experienced both. Our cohort comprises a diverse group of individuals from all over the country and the world with a variety of backgrounds. Everyone is willing and open to share; classes are more intriguing and engaging because we learn from everyone’s experiences. I believe Georgia Tech and Scheller’s commitment to diversity enhances the value of our education.

What has been your favorite part of Atlanta so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? Atlanta was ideal for me primarily because of family. Earning an MBA in Atlanta allows me the opportunity to enjoy my loved ones while pursuing my educational goals. In addition to family, Atlanta is a dynamic city. It has all the qualities of a great city including diversity, a variety of great food options, and sports. You name it, it’s here. Two things I enjoy are live music and sports. Atlanta is usually on my favorite hip-hop and afrobeat artists’ tour schedule, making it accessible to attend concerts and events.  Basketball is my favorite sport and with the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena in proximity, it makes it very convenient to watch basketball games in-person. Overall, I like that there is always something to do here!

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Scheller MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I have never been one to back down from a challenge. As I was searching for an MBA program, I was looking for an experience that would challenge me and push me further in my career. I was going into business school to make a career pivot, so it was important for me to get into a program that provided opportunities to gain real-world experience. I was impressed with how Scheller’s curriculum included practicums for concentration areas like marketing and business analytics, which partners students with actual companies to solve complex business problems. Knowing I could gain experience throughout the semester by enrolling in a practicum and the companies Scheller partners with locally and internationally made it easy to choose Scheller.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Georgia Tech Scheller? Of all the courses I’ve taken so far, Management Info Resources has been the most enjoyable. The course does a great job of introducing and exposing students to practical and free open-source software. In my previous roles in budget, I never had a chance to use software like Gephi, for example, but we completed an assignment where Gephi played a critical role during this course. Using Gephi, it was interesting to see how you could visualize data, leverage social media, and an individual’s social network to make decisions that could benefit a business.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have been in the Army National Guard for a little over eight-and-a-half years, and this year I was awarded my first Army Commendation Medal. I received the medal for outstanding performance while I was working in a role above my rank. To date, that position had been the most challenging position I have held since being in the Army National Guard, but with the help of great teammates and mentors, I overcame those challenges. I would say that this is my biggest accomplishment in my career so far because the circumstances, experience, and lessons learned leading up to earning this award made me a better officer.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I believe that being involved in the community and creating opportunities are crucial to leaving the world a better place. Each year, I try to engage in events and activities to do just that. With the help of family and friends this year as an MBA student, I was able to pool together resources to sponsor five children through the Liberian Children Foundation. Through the sponsorship, each child receives free tuition, books, and meals. My family is originally from Liberia, and I saw this as a great way to give back and make an impact on the place where my family is from.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Scheller MBA program? The first piece of advice I would give anyone interested in coming to the Scheller MBA program is to figure out what is important to you. When you do that, I believe you’ll be able to ask and get answers to all the essential questions that will help you embark on this journey. Next, I would suggest talking to as many people as possible, whether that be current students, faculty, advisors, or alumni. Those conversations will give you a better perspective of the program, and you will be able to determine if the program is truly a good fit for you. And finally, be yourself!


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