2023 MBA To Watch: Peter Danis, Emory University (Goizueta)

Peter Danis

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“Analytical, skeptical, and incredibly talkative, working to decarbonize our planet and have fun doing it.”

Hometown: Smyrna, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I like to race sailboats!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Maryland – B.S. Fire Protection Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Novelis – Corporate Risk Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Deloitte Consulting – New York

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting – New York

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership and Involvement:

VP Goizueta Energy and Cleantech Association (GECTA)

EVP Goizueta Consulting Association

VP Goizueta Jewish Club

Elected First Year Student Rep

Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy Fellow

Delta Leadership Coaching Fellow

Teaching Assistant

Goizueta Ambassador

Awards:

Dean’s List

Peer-selected for the “Rigor” Core Value Award

National Finalist: Rice Cleantech Innovation Competition (RCIC)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Along with several classmates, I fielded a team for the Rice Cleantech Innovation Competition (RCIC) this past November and we won third place nationally. We were tasked with making a targeted cleantech investment and calculating greenhouse gas reduction potential and financial returns of said investment over a ten-year period. We explored many different verticals within decarbonization, sized and assessed the competitiveness of markets, evaluated companies in each space, and developed hypotheses on where to find a meaningful combination of climate and financial impact. We honed in on a startup with a novel hydrogen fuel cell membrane, designed a strategic commercialization plan, valued the company, and put together a thorough pitch deck. We were invited to the final round in Houston, where we presented and answered questions from an impressive panel of judges, including investment managers in PE, VC, and the CVC arms of Chevron and Mitsubishi. I found this entire process to be exhilarating and a great confirmation of how much I enjoy work around energy and decarbonization.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was part of the investigation and response team for a factory explosion in Germany. Fortunately, no one was injured. Without getting too nerdy into the fire science, it was a special type of event that did not have a fully agreed upon protection measure across the industry. It was an ideal case study. I ended up co-authoring a safety standard which was implemented around the company, but then shared widely in the entire industry as well. You don’t compete when it comes to safety. I am very proud that my work has directly impacted the safety of thousands of employees across the globe.

Why did you choose this business school? I have a very personal connection with Emory as a whole. Both my parents completed undergrad here (it’s where they met!) and my fiancé did as well. Paired with my childhood experiences of visiting the Carlos Museum and concerts at the Schwartz Center, I knew what I was getting myself into.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? There are many wonderful professors at Goizueta. Since he is retiring after 20 years in academia, I will honor Professor Ray Hill.

Prof. Ray Hill has the most intellectual horsepower of anyone I have met in my life. He pushes you to challenge all commonly-held beliefs and form your own opinion on everything. He is famous for his random number generator cold calling and will take every opportunity to point out when your answer could have been stronger. His teaching style is a great reminder that in life you will not be the smartest person in the room and that you need to be able to explain your rationale and thoughts in the clearest manner possible. He teaches Core Economics, Project Finance, and the Economic Environment of Business.

Despite his intimidating classroom sessions, he is actually a very warm person. We have worked together through the Goizueta Energy and Cleantech Association (GECTA). He is the sponsoring faculty member and has opened up his unparalleled network of energy professionals to meet with students.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Norway Global Experiential Module with Professor Renee Dye

We had a course that took place at the end of the spring semester where about 20 students flew to Norway for ten days. Professor Dye arranged private meetings with companies like Telenor and Statkraft, as well as a special lecture from the Norwegian School of Economics. The module focused on Norway’s long-term view on sustainability, their unique economic system of partially state-owned companies, and Norwegian culture. Outside of our talks, we hiked a glacier, celebrated their Constitution Day parade in Oslo, and took a scenic train ride across the country.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The best tradition at Goizueta is definitely KEGS – “Keeping Everyone at Goizueta Social” – where on Thursday afternoons we host a big social event. Here, everyone celebrates the end of the academic week (no Friday classes allowed at Goizueta). It changes in theme each week, including food, music – and of course, kegs. Professors, significant others, babies, and dogs all make appearances. Shoutout to my classmates Stephon Harris and Ryan Murray who have done a wonderful job putting on a brand-new party every week.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Take my professors out for coffee more often.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I’ve heard others say that Goizueta is just a “consulting school”. We’ve got plenty of people going into banking, tech, marketing, operations, and so much more.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Atlanta is very green and breathable. There are always parks nearby, pleasant weather the majority of the year, and tons of trees. There’s a reason it has the moniker the “city in the forest”.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised at how much reflection and introspective thought I was asked to do. I thought it was supposed to be just schoolwork and networking!

In many different classes and encounters, I was pushed to think through what exactly I want out of my career; what type of leader I am now and eventually strive to be; what my values are; and how I spend my time and does it match those values. These two years of having dedicated space to contemplate such topics have been rewarding. I could bounce ideas off of professors and, on many occasions. met with career coaches provided by Goizueta.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Visit! Granted, it was easy for me living in Atlanta. I walked the halls, the Coca-Cola Commons, and Jenkins Courtyard (where we have KEGS). When I wrote my essays and interviewed, I was able to articulate exactly how the campus made me feel and why I wanted to be a contributing member to the community.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Madeline Davis

Sometimes, I think Madeline has an identical twin given that she seems to be everywhere at once. She is a leader across multiple clubs, holds an elected position in the Graduate Business Association, and has been a teaching assistant for nearly every class that has existed. When she is not running our entire MBA program, she gets great grades and even is working on her own entrepreneurial idea. If I can match just one tenth of the energy and time management that Madeline possesses, I will have a wonderful career.

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

1. Return to business school as an adjunct professor

2. Start an energy / cleantech VC firm with Goizueta friends

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

“Peter’s cheerful attitude and campus involvement make him an instrumental member of the Goizueta community. He strives to help all his peers with job recruitment and career development by spending hours every week leading consulting case practice, editing resumes and cover letters, hosting mock interviews, and arranging alumni speakers to visit campus and connect with our students. Demonstrating inspirational work ethic, Peter pushes Goizueta forward by representing our school in national case competitions and conferences and through his various leadership positions.”

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

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2023

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