Krishna Collective: Meet The International MBA Students At Emory Goizueta

Embarking on an MBA journey, especially as an international student, is an adventure filled with unique challenges and rewarding experiences. Goizueta Business School at Emory University, known for its diverse student body and inclusive environment, offers a glimpse into this journey through the eyes of its students.

Each narrative sheds light on the diverse paths that led these students to pursue an MBA, their reasons for choosing Goizueta, the challenges they faced in adapting to a new country and educational system, and their aspirations post-MBA. Their experiences underscore the importance of research, networking, and strategic planning in navigating the MBA landscape as an international student.

These stories also highlight the supportive community at Goizueta, where students receive personalized attention and guidance, helping them integrate into the U.S. academic culture, while achieving their career goals. Whether it’s finding a sense of belonging, adjusting to new teaching styles, or strategizing for internships and job opportunities, each student experience provides valuable insight for prospective international MBA candidates.

Learning about the experiences of international Goizueta MBA students can help you maximize your own journey and help clarify your motivations for pursuing an MBA. Below, you’ll meet three Goizueta MBA students from the Class of 2025 and three from the Class of 2024 who are currently excelling as international students at Goizueta Business School. Each student profile includes a student from different parts of the world, industries, and pre-MBA experiences to provide an extensive overview of their lives.

Timi Ademulegun

Timi Ademulegun

MBA Class of 2025

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria; London, United Kingdom

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Hull; Law LLB

MBA Concentration: Strategy and Consulting

Pre-MBA Experience: Sabi; Legal Officer

Post-MBA Goal: Become a Strategy Consultant, specializing in private equity

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? My last role in a Fintech startup focused on market expansion in e-commerce across various African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. This role demanded an understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks in each market, offering me a unique perspective on international business operations.

Working in a startup environment, I discovered that my passion extends beyond the legal domain into business. This realization was confirmed by my entrepreneurial venture, where I founded a startup with a business model similar to Airbnb. It highlighted how I was able to integrate my legal expertise with business strategy and development.

An MBA, in my view, is a strategic step towards acquiring the necessary skills, knowledge, and network to transition into a career in strategy consulting.

How has being an international student impacted your recruiting/internship experience? Being an international student, from the United Kingdom, has uniquely shaped my recruiting and internship experiences. Initially, like many international peers, I wasn’t fully aware of the limitations imposed on job applications due to non-U.S. citizenship. However, I soon realized that these restrictions didn’t completely close doors but rather redirected my focus. My British citizenship, in fact, became an advantage, allowing me to explore opportunities with consulting firms based in the U.S. but operating across Europe. Although recruitment as an international student comes with its set of challenges, I’ve come to see these as hurdles to overcome, not impassable barriers.

How has Emory University supported you as an international student? Emory University has been incredibly supportive in my journey as an international student. From the moment I arrived in the United States, I experienced acts of kindness that eased my transition. Harriet Ruskin from the MBA program office picked me up from the airport, with a warm welcome. Amy Bentley and Dean Brian Mitchell played pivotal roles in my integration into the U.S. education system. Amy connected me with a Teaching Assistant to overcome academic challenges, while Dean Brian offered guidance about the MBA journey, reassuring me of my ability to succeed. Their individual attention to my struggles and the personalized support I received were instrumental in my adaptation and growth at Goizueta.

What advice would you give to prospective students applying to U.S. MBA programs as international students? For prospective international students considering U.S. MBA programs, it’s crucial to research whether a university aligns with your career goals, like investment banking or consulting. Understand the specific fields each school is renowned for. For instance, Goizueta is known for its strength in consulting. A practical approach is to engage with current students at your target schools. Have open discussions about their experiences to gain insights. For example, I reached out to Nigerian students in Goizueta’s class of 2024 via LinkedIn to hear their stories. Additionally, attending events where current students share their experiences can offer a valuable perspective on the school’s culture and opportunities.

What advice would you give to an international candidate once they are admitted into an U.S. MBA program? For international candidates admitted to a U.S. MBA program, I recommend arriving early to acclimate to the new environment. It’s crucial to settle in before the intensive MBA coursework begins. As someone unfamiliar with life in the U.S., getting essentials like furniture out of the way can significantly ease the transition. Familiarize yourself with the campus by taking a tour, understanding routes and key locations. Regarding recruiting, start by creating a list of target companies and research them thoroughly. While the experience can be overwhelming at times, embrace it fully and immerse yourself to maximize your time in the program.

IIwoong Su

IIwoong Su

MBA Class of 2025

Hometown: Busan, South Korea

Undergraduate School and Major: University College London; Economics and Business with European Studies

MBA Concentration: Strategy and Consulting

Pre-MBA Experience: BMW Dongsung Motors; Marketing Manager

Post-MBA Goal: As a sponsored student, I will return to South Korea to work for BMW, but I hope to secure an internship in the automotive industry, ideally with a company like Mercedes-Benz.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? In my previous company, becoming a senior manager required a certain amount of time and experience. As I work towards this goal, I am also eager to explore other industries and expand my expertise. To build my network and gain diverse experiences from colleagues, I have decided to pursue an MBA.

How has being an international student impacted your recruiting/internship experience? The academic rigor at Emory was much higher than I had expected, which came as a surprise. However, in the U.S., I spend a lot more time working on team-based projects, as opposed to studying alone as I did in Europe. Most of my time at Emory is spent with my team. Adapting to this new dynamic was challenging, but it allowed me to learn important soft skills such as effective communication with diverse individuals and presenting confidently in front of peers and professors. These skills are practical and highly beneficial, especially when recruiting for internship opportunities in the U.S.

How has Emory University supported you as an international student? Emory is known for its small community, and it feels like a second home to me. My core team members treat me like a friend or family member, unlike what I might experience in a program with 500 students, where knowing people is more challenging. I believe Emory offers a really good environment for international students.

What advice would you give to prospective students applying to U.S. MBA programs as international students? I recommend that international students visit the university campus before selecting a school to ensure the environment is a good personal fit. On a personal note, I advise really understanding your purpose for pursuing an MBA.

What advice would you give to an international candidate once they are admitted into an U.S. MBA program? Once admitted, fully enjoy and engage in your MBA journey by socializing with colleagues and peers within the program. Your greatest assets are likely to be the network you build and the knowledge you gain from it.

Pooja Bhatt

Pooja Bhatt

MBA Class of 2025

Hometown: Doha, Qatar

Undergraduate School and Major: Amity University; Forensic Sciences

MBA Concentration: Marketing and Healthcare

Pre-MBA Experience: Qatar Scientific Company; Analytical Product Specialist & Head of Analytical Division

Post-MBA Goal: Leadership roles in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and allied sciences

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? I chose to pursue an MBA because I enjoyed the piece of my previous role that allowed me to do a lot of work in business like corporate work, which involved customer and client-facing work that has more networking involved. It was fun for me to utilize my scientific background. I reached a point in my career where, working for a family-owned company, I didn’t see a next step for me in the company. [This] is where I thought gaining a formal business acumen education would help me gain the hard skills in areas like finance and accounting.

How has being an international student impacted your recruiting/internship experience? Bringing a broad background to my coffee chats and conversations with companies, I offer a global and diverse perspective that differs from that of domestic students. This unique viewpoint may be something recruiters and employers appreciate, and it represents my added value.

How has Emory University supported you as an international student? The community at Goizueta has been warm and welcoming, with genuinely nice people. As someone who is very family-oriented and misses my family greatly, it was important for me to be in a place where I feel happy and connected. The transition has been smoother than expected, partly due to supportive initiatives like the two-week international student onboarding period.

What advice would you give to prospective students applying to U.S. MBA programs as international students? My biggest piece of advice is to thoroughly understand what the school is all about. Initially, I only learned about the schools superficially. However, I gained a deeper understanding of the different program requirements and processes by attending events like office hours and asking the admissions team any questions about the application process.

Inquiring about core courses and the educational style (e.g., case-based) to understand the study models and determine if they are the right fit for you. Additionally, the location of the university is important. Consider whether it’s a trade-off you are willing to make in your day-to-day life.

What advice would you give to an international candidate once they are admitted into an U.S. MBA program? If you’re an international student without a business background, I highly recommend doing preparatory work on the subjects you’ll be studying during the summer before arriving at the university. This is especially crucial for a rigorous program like Emory’s. After being admitted, I sought advice from Professor JB Kurish, who recommended reading the Wall Street Journal to enhance my understanding of finance and strategy. My experience showed that preparing in advance helped me perform better in exams and participate more actively in class. The pre-work courses I completed included GMAC Fundamentals and HBS (Harvard Business School) CORe.

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