Georgia Institute of Technology – Scheller College of Business
“Thoughtful servant-leader seeking to improve our quality of life through cultural change and ethical tech.”
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I can power nap like nobody’s business.
Undergraduate School and Major: Macalester College, International Studies & German
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Booz Allen Hamilton, Associate
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? Like most folks, I’ve always associated Georgia Tech with engineering excellence. Perhaps less prototypically, I also think of gender equity when I think of Georgia Tech. As I watched my sister and many of her female friends graduate from the engineering college a few years ago, I know Georgia Tech made a concerted effort for decades to shrink the gender gap across all of its colleges, with strong success. At Scheller, I’ve been happy with not only the female composition of my class, but also with our collective presence in and outside the classroom as many of us hold leadership positions in different clubs and committees.
Perhaps what I didn’t expect in going to Georgia Tech was the network strength of the entire school beyond Scheller. Over the summer, I wore my Georgia Tech hat during hikes on the West Coast and encountered Tech grads who stopped me to say hi and chat on nearly every hike I went on! It was a huge testament to the size and strength of the broader Georgia Tech community.
What has been your favorite part of Atlanta so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? What I love most about Atlanta is its diversity and southern hospitality. The world is an exceptionally diverse place. To be an emotionally intelligent leader in an increasingly global environment, I think it’s important to put yourself in contexts where not everyone thinks, behaves, or looks like you. Until I lived elsewhere, I didn’t realize how much I appreciated being able to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone in any situation. Particularly coming out of being hunkered down during the pandemic with limited social interaction, Atlanta’s southern hospitality is a welcome reprieve and makes me feel like a part of the community. Atlanta’s diversity and size also lend itself well to folks’ being able to explore their interests, whatever they may be. Just in the first few months of the MBA program, my classmates and I have gone hiking in and around the city, spent time relaxing and reading in Piedmont Park, laughed to tears at comedy shows, and explored a number of bars and restaurants.
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? The Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) program played a key role in my decision to come to Scheller. While I returned to school to further my education, it was important to me to join a program that weaves curriculum with practical application. Georgia Tech, as a whole, is well-known for its practicums, and TI:GER takes applied learning a step further in both breadth and depth. Three semesters long, MBA students in the TI:GER program work with PhD students from Georgia Tech’s engineering, computing, and science colleges and startups from Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Atlanta to translate ideas into successful technology innovations. As a member of the TI:GER program, I’ll be learning from faculty, a vast network of industry mentors – including more than 700 TI:GER alumni – and other experts while working on technology-innovation projects. The essential skillsets, tacit knowledge, and network I’ll gain through TI:GER will directly help me pivot into the product management, marketing, and entrepreneurship positions I’m interested in post-MBA.
What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Georgia Tech Scheller? I love being part of the Peer Leadership Committee. Our mission is to build connections within the Scheller community to foster personal and professional development and support our fellow classmates through the good times as well as the rough ones. We do a number of things (pair incoming students with second year mentors, offer snacks to support inter-class bonding, host a student speaker series to help folks get to know their classmates), but what I’m most excited for are our Hobby Nights, where we subsidize our classmates sharing hobbies with their peers in small groups. It’s a great way to spend meaningful time together outside of school and get to know peers on a deeper level. One of the reasons I chose to go back to school and get my MBA was to expand my network and I love being part of a group dedicated to helping us connect and learn from one another.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The most meaningful accomplishment of my career was building upon a culture of inclusivity at Vermack, my neighborhood swimming pool growing up in Atlanta. I believe we all have valuable contributions to make in our communities, and it’s important to me to invest in people so they can become the best version of themselves they can be.
Kids sports can be a competitive business in the US. When I was growing up, I was fortunate to have a coach that invested in every swimmer, striking the balance between being supportive and appropriately challenging. Charlie Statts, who taught me to swim from ages five to 12, showed me what it meant to build community and help people realize their potential. When at 18 I became head coach of 120+ Vermack Vikings at a pool that felt less welcoming than the one I grew up in, I was committed to restoring the culture of my childhood that was responsible for so much of my own growth and development.
At that time most of my peers had quit swimming as coaching positions were outsourced to expensive club coaches, indifferent to non-serious swimmers. Our older age groups were decimated as a result, and non-club younger swimmers lacked role models. To encourage reinvestment in the team, I restored coaching positions back to neighborhood swimmers and established a junior coaching program to build a pipeline for leadership development. My hiring decisions reflected my commitment to improving every swimmer, not just those with aptitude, and I stood my ground in building a culture that prioritized both competency and inclusivity. Cultural change is hard to quantify, but since my departure, six out of seven of my assistant and junior coaches went on to become head coach themselves and I know every swimmer now has a place at Vermack.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Coming from a non-traditional background, I was nervous about some of the core quantitative courses, namely economics, finance, and accounting. While I’m not top of my class in any of these subjects, I’ve been pleased by how much I’ve been able to keep up with peers that had more quant-heavy undergraduate coursework. It’s been a lesson in continuing to push myself outside of my comfort zone and into spaces I’m not historically comfortable in and encouraged me to maintain a growth mindset.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Scheller MBA program? Have a good understanding of your values and priorities and what you’re looking for in an MBA program. Every program has its strengths, so the question becomes this: What program best meets your needs? While you can gain great insight from publicly available information, don’t hesitate to reach out to current students and faculty as a resource to better understand the program and whether it’s a good fit for you. Finally, it should go without saying, but in the words of Oscar Wilde – Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” We want you to be your authentic self so we can figure out how best to support you and understand how you’ll contribute to our community.
DON’T MISS: MEET GEORGIA TECH’S MBA CLASS OF 2023 AT SCHELLER COLLEGE
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