2022 MBA To Watch: Allegra Porter, Emory University (Goizueta)

Allegra Porter

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“Puzzle Solver. Avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast. Canine agility trainer. Theater/improv player. Francophile.”

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I’m training my 5-year-old border collie, Finn, to run canine agility courses. We hope to compete someday!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Wellesley College

B.A.; Double Major, Psychology and French

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? The Physicians Spine & Rehabilitation Specialists, Atlanta GA

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Optum, Launch Leadership Program, Eden Prairie MN

Where will you be working after graduation? Optum, Corporate Leadership Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • VP of University Relations
  • Leadership Coaching Fellow
  • Goizueta Ambassador
  • 21st Century Leaders, Goizueta Youth Leadership Summit: Coach; ‘21, ’22
  • Goizueta Women in Business Club, Mentor & 1st Year Representative
  • Toastmasters, 1st Year Representative
  • Wellspring Living Networking Event: Coach
  • Goizueta Gives: Volunteer
  • Eagle Scholarship Recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of the effort I’ve put into developing my coaching and mentoring skills over the past two years. I’ve been very fortunate in the support and guidance I’ve received in my life, so I wanted to take advantage of opportunities that would allow me to give back. I’ve had a great time and learned a lot as a Leadership Coaching Fellow, two-time Coach for Goizueta’s Youth Leadership Summit, mentor for members of Goizueta’s Women in Business Club, and MBA Ambassador.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of the first projects I ever managed was the creation of a new website for the medical practice where I worked. As anyone who has built a website can tell you, it is no easy feat. It is a long and arduous process that can span months and involves multiple different parties. At the time, I had limited management experience and no technical background, so this was a very big learning experience for me. Although I felt completely out of my element, I was determined to be an effective member of the team who could maintain the system independently, so I trained myself outside of work to learn the web platform, the program language, tools, and SEO requirements.

I’m proud of this project not only because of how successful the product itself was, but also because of how the new system elevated the patient experience and streamlined many of the practice’s processes. By adding new functionality that allowed for online bill-pay, digital form transmission, patient-portal access, online appointment requests, instant messaging capabilities, and educational videos about our practice services, my team and I were able to improve patient referral numbers, reduce medical record transmission delays, and increase timely bill payments by approximately 40%. The success of the project also paved the way for many of the practice’s future digitalization efforts.

Why did you choose this business school? When choosing a school, I of course valued academic rigor, but I also wanted to feel like more than just a number and have the opportunity to build strong relationships with my peers. I chose Goizueta because it offers the unique opportunity to be a part of a close-knit community within a larger university.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor JB Kurish has been one of my favorite professors. It is not only because of the material he teaches (his Social Enterprise & Impact Investing class, a new offering he started this year, has been one of the most thought-provoking classes I’ve taken during my MBA), but also because of his incredible ability to engage and motivate us (even while remote). He has a quiet confidence that can command a room, yet he is humble and approachable. He is always willing to help and offers encouragement, while empowering us to challenge ourselves. I love how he pulls his students in, builds off of their thoughts, and integrates humor into his teaching style. There is never a dull moment with him.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One thing I wish I’d realized when starting was that these years present a fantastic opportunity to try new things and learn in a safe environment. There were a couple of times I shied away from challenges because I was worried I wouldn’t perform well or would struggle. I wish that I’d just gone for them so that I could strengthen areas that I was perhaps weaker in.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One myth I had always heard about business school in general was that the environment can be competitive—borderline cutthroat. I haven’t found that at Emory at all. In fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Although the program is rigorous and we are a competitive institution, the competitive spirit is a supportive and collaborative one; we push each other to challenge ourselves, not try to out-do each other. My peers have been my greatest advocates, and I’m proud to be part of a program full of people who genuinely want others to be successful, who offer help and encouragement, and who celebrate each other’s achievements.

What surprised you the most about business school? I think what surprised me most about business school was how much learning I did outside of the classroom. The curriculum and material have enriched and empowered me, but I’d argue that what I’ve learned from my peers and other Emory community events (case competitions, conferences, volunteer activities) have been just as, if not more, valuable to me personally and professionally.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Before my interviews, I ran through mock interviews with a former MBA student of the program. This was helpful because the live practice allowed me to focus and refine my ideas much more than I would have been able to alone.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It’s difficult to choose one person because I’ve been inspired by so many of my classmates, but someone who stands out to me is my friend Sarah Connolly.

Sarah is incredible. She is everywhere, doing everything with nothing less than her full self. She’s involved in multiple leadership positions around campus, partakes in all of the service events, has been on the Dean’s list twice, and has made a big impact in her capacity as the President of the Women in Business Club (GWIB).

What’s perhaps most impressive about her is how humble and kind she has always been. She is very generous with her time and will go out of her way to help, no matter what she might have on her own plate. She knows everyone and always has a kind word to say or thoughtful question to ask. She has never been afraid to stand up for others or voice her opinions. She’s one of the smartest, most powerful women that I know and I’m thankful to have her as a close friend. I have no doubt that she is going to accomplish great things.

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

I want to be an integral part of a solution that improves our healthcare delivery system, particularly in the realm of behavioral health.

I want to travel and spend time in another city for a work project.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? One of the things that the pandemic really highlighted was that it is, perhaps now more than ever, possible to integrate your personal life into your work life. The two no longer need to be separate because working remotely offers us more flexibility in how we plan our time. We can work while being home with a sick child; call into a team huddle while walking the dog or work on a project while something’s in the oven.

There’s no question that working remotely presents its own set of challenges, particularly the issues of “unplugging”, remaining productive, and connecting with our coworkers while not in the office. However, I believe there’s a great opportunity here to bring better balance to our lives.

What made Allegra such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Allegra is one of the most thoughtful and selfless students that I’ve had the pleasure of working with this year. Allegra has an innate interest in the quality of experiences that her classmates have and works hard to ensure that they get the most out of their MBA journey. This year, Allegra worked to connect MBA students with the many university-wide resources available. One of the most valuable resources being overlooked is community, so Allegra focused on bridging the gap between MBA students and other graduate level students at other schools. This ongoing initiative seeks to connect students across different educational pursuits with the goal of expanding networks and increasing MBA’s sense of belonging.”

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


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.