2023 MBA To Watch: Shanae Hillhouse (Smith), Emory University (Goizueta)

Shanae Hillhouse (Smith)

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“I am a hard-working MBA candidate interested in Business Analytics and Marketing Strategy.”

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Fun fact about yourself: Over Thanksgiving, I took a family trip to Belize and swam with sharks (nurse sharks, but still sharks)

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Florida; Bachelor of Science in Finance and Minor in Retail.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Project Manager/Analyst at Wendover Art Group.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Associate Brand Management Intern at the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia

Where will you be working after graduation? Senior Consultant at Capgemini Invent in Atlanta, Georgia

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Semi-Finalist in the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition (2021)
  • Dean’s List
  • Team Core Value Award Winner
  • Consortium Fellow and Liaison
  • Teaching Assistant in Core Accounting and Economics Classes
  • Impact Leadership Board: Chair of Collaboration and Inclusion
  • John R. Lewis Case Competition Leadership Board: Participant Chair (2022)
  • VP of Marketing and Communications for the Goizueta Black MBA

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of becoming a semi-finalist in the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition. I have long believed in a corporation’s role in making impact within our society, so having the opportunity to develop a business case and solution to correct racial injustice was very important to me. My project was a case prompt from Accenture that centered around how we can utilize new technology to lessen healthcare disparities. My team and I worked diligently to survey healthcare professionals and patients to understand grievances. We then utilized some of the great work Accenture was doing to develop creative and executable solutions that tackled questions posed in our focus groups. It was a learning experience and tied together many of my passions into one project. I was so proud of my work that I immediately signed up for the Leadership Board so I could cultivate the same experience with the next class of participants.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I started at Wendover Art Group as a Project Manager, half of my team decided to leave the company. I had to learn quickly and figure out how I could do things more efficiently. A large part of my role involved running reports for the Commercial division. I used my knowledge of Excel and Access to automate a lot of the reports, which ended up saving my team a lot of time. My teammates went from spending all of Friday running reports to less than half of Friday. It was a proud moment for me because I was able to quickly add value to my team despite being a new member.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Goizueta Business School because of the Community. While applying to business schools, I attended a few admissions events to understand the school culture. One event that stuck with me was Goizueta’s annual event called Inside Goizueta. The event is student-led and is centered around highlighting the diverse backgrounds at Goizueta Business School. I felt connected to the students that I met and appreciated the candid feedback the students provided about school culture. I did not feel marketed to, but instead got a taste of what student life would be like and could figure out where I would fit. Goizueta is a small program, so you get to know all your classmates. This was something I was looking for, but I also wanted to make sure that I could forge strong connections with my fellow classmates. Inside Goizueta gave me a sense of belonging before I started business school, and I made friends that I still connect with today.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Marina Cooley.

Before the spring semester started, I had the opportunity to take her short class “Design Your Whole Life”. It was the first class I took in business school that was not centered around career but more about well-being. It felt nice to have discussions around how we can be more purposeful with our time and how we can better live our lives in accordance with our values despite having limited hours in a day. I am currently taking her class Content Marketing this Spring and it has been equally engaging. I love talking about social media and digital platforms and how content is changing to capture a busy audience.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite MBA course was Digital and Social Media Marketing. This concept has always been of interest to me, but what I loved most about the course was that we got to pick a company we liked and apply the concepts we were learning throughout the duration of the course. By the end of the course, my team and I had developed a well-rounded Digital strategy that was in line with our company’s values. This semester, I am enrolled in Content Marketing which is more about creating engaging content. I am very excited to tie these two concepts together once I start working.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wish I had spoken up more. When I started business school, I was intimidated by my peers. From the first day of orientation, it was clear that everyone was smart, driven and had been successful before business school. I just felt lucky to be here. I was hesitant to speak up out of fear of saying something stupid and it took a while for me to learn that I deserve to be here and that my questions are just as valid as anyone else’s. It helped that I surrounded myself with great friends that really built up my confidence on my low days. I am very grateful for the community I found at Goizueta. It made it possible for me to be me and move outside of my comfort zone.

What is the biggest myth about your school? There wasn’t really any myth I came across about my school. I feel like I knew what I was getting myself into once I started. I had a lot of candid conversations with Goizueta students before accepting and those conversations gave me a pretty good understanding of what campus life would be like.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Atlanta is amazing. There are so many things to do here. I love spending the weekend exploring new places. There is something for everyone. If you love the outdoors, there are several hiking trails nearby. If you love nightlife, there are several options for bars and clubs. If you love to eat, there are plenty of diverse restaurants to choose from. My personal favorite is exploring Atlanta’s speakeasies. There are so many really cool secret bars, and it feels like a new one pops up every week.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by how much confidence it has given me. I started my MBA program unsure if I truly belonged in such a highly ranked school. Through the connections and accomplishments that I have made, I am more confident than ever in my abilities. I learned so much about myself in the program and I learned how to overcome some of my insecurities. I am grateful for those who have contributed to my growth journey.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Osereme Ujadughele. She has done a great job of helping prospective students and of organizing our Consortium class, so Consortium can continue to add value to its Emory members and community.

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

1. Help hire talented underrepresented minorities to positions of leadership. I have been lucky to have mentors who look like me take an interest in my career and open opportunities for me to showcase my leadership abilities. I want to pay it forward.

2. Work to live. I want a career that supports me to pursue my passions and hobbies.

What made Shanae such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Shanae Hillhouse is an outstanding student at Goizueta. Besides being an active Consortium liaison, she’s the Collaboration and Inclusion Chair of Impact, the Participant Chair for the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, and the Vice President of Marketing for the Black MBA Association. Shanae’s academic strengths complement her demonstrated leadership skills in many positions. She has been recognized on the Dean’s List in Fall 2021 and 2022 and with the Team Core Value Award in Fall 2022.”

Vernon Smith
Senior Associate Director of Student Life & Engagement
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

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