Meet Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class Of 2024

The best business schools mix big and small. They are located near hubs offering an array of opportunities. They possess deep resources to expose students to all the possibilities. At the same time, they are smaller, places where everyone knows your name, passions, and goals – and are always looking out for you. That description fits Emory University’s Goizueta Business School to a tee.

Nestled in Atlanta’s tony Druid Hills neighborhood, Goizueta combines big city reach with Southern hospitality. The latter resonated with Allegra Porter, a 2022 Goizueta grad and P&Q MBA To Watch. Coming into business school, Porter expected the environment to be “competitive – borderline cutthroat.” While Goizueta’s academic rigor didn’t disappoint, she notes that the competitive spirit is channeled toward supportive teamwork.

“We push each other to challenge ourselves, not try to out-do each other,” she tells P&Q. “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.”

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

BIG ADVANTAGES TO BEING SMALL

Jalin Garrison describes herself as “5’2 – but what I lack in height, I make up in personality.” You could say the same thing about the Goizueta Business School, where Garrison is a first-year MBA. Garrison was drawn to its “small by design” structure. This environment, she says, brings a “strong sense of community” that enables her to “be my most authentic self.” Size was also a differentiator for Michael D. Freudenthal, who joins Garrison in the Class of 2024. A Neuroscience major who moved into broadcast production, Freudenthal appreciates the academic advantages of a tight-knit community like Goizueta.

“The student-to-faculty ratio, one of the lowest in the country, allows for great discussions. Emory University is an intellectual bastion, where one can build close relationships with professors and develop lifelong friendships. Also, the people at Goizueta are what set it apart. Students are so willing to lend a hand to other students as there is a strong sense of camaraderie and a culture of paying it forward to fellow members of the community, especially as alumni of the program.”

Head south of campus and Goizueta’s lens expands to Atlanta as a whole. It is the home of 14 Fortune 500 companies – and 31 Fortune 1000 companies in total – including Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines. It boasts the country’s busiest airport – Hartsfield-Jackson – which enables Goizueta MBAs to have “easy access to fly in and out for events and interviews,” says Amanda Sun, a network development manager who has lived in China and Ireland. Atlanta is also home to over 60 colleges and universities and 250,000 students. Broader still, Georgia has ranked as the #1 state for doing business for nine years running according to Area Development. That includes ranking #1 in the Workforce Development measure for 13 consecutive years, while besting all states in areas ranging from Cost of Doing Business to Quality of State Government.

Emory Goizueta Business School students get to enjoy Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and the cityscape skyline of urban city skyscrapers downtown, Lake Clara Meer

DRAWN TO ATLANTA

“Pursuing an MBA in Atlanta is a unique opportunity as it offers students the chance to become a part of a dynamic and diverse workforce in a booming metropolis,” explains Alex Gonzalez, an Amazon logistics manager who grew up in California. “The various groups of backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas that are clustered in the city; they allow students to feel inspired to pursue great feats as they can recognize aspects of themselves in the different leaders in the Atlanta community. Atlanta’s diversity and economic success can be seen in many areas. A few key areas of achievement for the city are that it currently ranks #2 in metros in black workforce population, #3 for most desirable cities for startup companies, and #4 amongst metros for corporate headquarters.”

The best part? Atlanta provides something for everyone, observes Rohit Bhalla, a first-year MBA and engineer who maintains a side hustle as a firefighter. “Over the past couple of years, Atlanta has been the fastest-growing metro area in the United States… It is on track to become a key hub for tech startups in the coming years and would be considered as the next generation Silicon Valley. Atlanta is also organically booming in various other industries like Real Estate, Media and Entertainment (called the “Hollywood of the South”) despite inflation and recession concerns. Earning an MBA provides a realm of diverse career opportunities for aspiring MBA graduates.”

Post-graduation careers aren’t the only reason why MBAs flock to Atlanta. Bhalla clicks off a few more benefits: “abundant green spaces”, “award-winning restaurants”, and “rich history”. And Michael D. Freudenthal adds some extras. “There is a special energy about Atlanta. I love the positivity that permeates the Emory campus and the greater Atlanta area: it is a beautiful place with great weather and culture. Atlanta is a city where people will open doors with warm smiles wherever you go… I could not ask for a better place to complete my MBA.”

An Emory Goizueta Business School MBA team gathered after class

BRINGING A COCA-COLA PRODUCT TO THE MASSES

…or a better class too. Just look at some of the company that Bhalla has in the Goizueta MBA Class of 2024. Take Taisha Blair. Along with earning an MBA, she is a pediatric resident physician at the Emory School of Medicine. On top of that, she spent 10 years training in modern dance. Blair joins Samantha Stevens, who managed policy and strategic initiatives for the Congressional Hunter Center. The class also features Patrick Forrestal, a U.S. Marine-turned-triathlete who once swam the treacherous water from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. And then there is Joel Anifowose, a Brown University grad who ran a food truck where he served fare ranging from sandwiches to risotto balls. His claim to fame? He helped build one of New England’s largest multifamily LEED Platinum projects.

Indeed, you’ll find the Class of 2024 involved in several high-profile projects. Michael D. Freudenthal, for one, was part of the production team for Amazon Prime’s The Boys, which has been nominated for six Emmy Awards. At Lockheed Martin, Cameron Bard worked as an aeronautical engineer. Earning a spot on a firm’s vaunted Skunk Works division, she designed the firm’s most innovative aircraft. Chances are, when you shop for groceries, you’ll see the handiwork of Lucy Mitchell. A scuba diving aficionado and senior manager at Coca-Cola, Mitchell designed the company’s chain for its Simply Spiked product, which debuted last summer. It was a complex assignment for several reasons. For one, the product included real juice, which had to be sent to the various states producing the various flavors to be combined. From there, these components were delivered to facilities to be manufactured, packaged, and shipped to retail outlets – all during a time when supply chains were knotted and truckers were in short supply.

“It was incredibly rewarding to see Simply Spiked on shelves this summer since I spent so much time working on this new product launch,” Mitchell writes. “I loved this project because it was externally facing, so I worked with the AIMs every day. I always like a role or project that is externally facing because it adds a layer of accountability. Plus, you get exposure to the ins and outs of another organization. Also, the alcohol business was a brand-new endeavor for Coke, so it had a lot of leadership attention.”

The class also distinguished themselves in training and mentoring. At the Gerson Lehrman Group, Amanda Sun oversaw the onboarding of the firm’s largest-ever training class. Not only had the class size doubled, but Sun was able to shave a week off training to enable new hires to make an impact sooner.  By the same token, Pouchy Guerrier noticed that his team, particularly new hires, were struggling to build peer relationships when they went online during COVID. In response, he devised a mentoring program, which paired senior employees with junior staffers.

“The objective was to give employees a platform to deepen their relationships with the company, as well as a chance to grow and build their bran,” Guerrier explains. “Every new associate is recommended to join the mentorship program, which has been an amazing success. Even after leaving the company, the program is still operating. Because of it, several associates have been assigned to new projects and grown within the organization.”

Emory Goizueta MBA students enjoying downtown Breckenridge

A CLASS PROFILE

During the 2021-2022 applications cycle, Emory Goizueta experienced an 11% surge in applications, ultimately enrolling 113 full-time MBAs in the Class of 2024. In several ways, this Goizueta class tops its predecessors. For one, the average GMAT score climbed from 692 to 700 with the incoming class. This is an extension of a larger trend, as GMATs have soared from 682 to 700 over the past five years at Goizueta. Average GPA also inched up from 3.36 to 3.38. By the same token, the percentage of women rose from 27% to 33% over the past year. At the same time, international students account for 50% of the class, up 15 points from last fall. As a whole, the class includes students from 17 countries, “including Spain, Pakistan, Nigeria, Belgium, Congo, Australia, Cambodia, and Vietnam” according to Melissa Rapp, the school’s associate dean of graduate admissions. Rapp also notes that 8% of the class identifies as LGBTQ+, with another 7% possessing U.S. military experience.

Academically, 29% of the class majored in Business as undergraduates. Another 23% hold degrees in Engineering, with Humanities (12%) and Social Sciences (10%) also cracking double digits. The class also includes students who studied Sciences, Economics, Computer Science, Law, and Public Health. In their most recent professional roles, 27% worked in either Consulting or Financial Services. 16% held roles in the Government and Non-Profit sectors, while another 16% operated in the Media, Entertainment, and Technology spaces. 12% of the class boasts experience in Consumer Products and Manufacturing.

Emory Goizueta has long been known for placing nearly 100% of its first-years in summer internships. In recent years, that near-perfect placement rate has applied to its graduates too. This fall, Goizueta reported that 98% of its spring grads had accepted job offers within three months of graduation. At the same time, graduates reported starting average base and bonus of $193,000, with top employers including Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, PwC, and Amazon. While two-thirds of MBAs stay in the south, that hardly makes Goizueta a regional schools says Kegan Baird, a 2022 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA.

“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.”

Next Page: Interview with Associate Dean Brian Mitchell

Page 3: Profiles of Class of 2024 MBAs

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