Meet The MBA Class of 2025: Neil Harris, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

Meet The MBA Class Of 2025: Neil Harris, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

Neil Harris

“An adventurous innovator who enjoys connecting with people and embracing new experiences”

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Fun Fact About Yourself: I embarked on a sailing journey three years ago, and since then, I’ve passionately raced sailboats competitively on Lake Lanier, conquering the challenges of the open water.

Undergraduate School and Major: Auburn University, Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Vanderlande, Mechanical Project Engineer

What has been your favorite part of Atlanta so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA?

My favorite part of Atlanta has been the variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Beyond the academic environment, the city offers a plethora of activities that make living here truly exciting. Exploring the Atlanta BeltLine, indulging in the vibrant restaurants and local shops, and cheering for our sports teams at Braves, Falcons, and Atlanta United games have made every week an adventure. The dynamic cityscape, complemented by outdoor activities like hiking at Stone Mountain or Kennesaw Mountain, ensures there’s always something new to try, making living in Atlanta an endlessly enjoyable experience.

Choosing to pursue my MBA here has been a strategic decision, not just for the lively lifestyle but also for the incredible academic and professional opportunities. Atlanta is a thriving hub for major companies, including industry giants like The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines. Additionally, Atlanta is a prime destination for tech entrepreneurs, companies, workers, and investors, and being part of this emerging tech scene further solidifies the city as an excellent choice for career development and earning an MBA.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Scheller MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?

The key factor that led me to choose the Scheller MBA program is the Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) program. With a solid background as a mechanical engineer for five years, my interest in technology innovation finds a perfect match in the program’s unique blend of business, law, and technology. Having worked on diverse high-end technology products, ranging from designing automated conveyor belt systems to testing water meter products, I am eager to explore business strategies that bring innovation to life. The TI:GER program’s emphasis on real-world projects is particularly enticing, providing a hands-on learning experience that I find invaluable for bridging the gap between theory and practical application. The extensive network of faculty and mentors within the TI:GER program is a vital resource that I aim to leverage to broaden my knowledge base. The program offers me a platform to refine my entrepreneurial skills, ensuring that I not only understand the technology aspects but also possess the business acumen to navigate a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Overall, the TI:GER program represents a transformative opportunity for me to merge my technical expertise with business insight, preparing me for success in the intersection of innovation and entrepreneurship.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Georgia Tech?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my experience at Georgia Tech has been my involvement in the Social Committee within the Scheller MBA program. This club has provided me with invaluable opportunities to network and connect with people from within and outside of the program. The Social Club fosters a sense of community among Scheller MBA students through a variety of engaging events. From cultural celebrations and holiday gatherings to lively happy hours, the committee ensures a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. I’ve particularly enjoyed attending events like karaoke nights, our annual Halloween party, and a Six Flags trip, all of which have strengthened bonds within our community and have been a blast to attend.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:

In my recent role as a Mechanical Project Engineer at Vanderlande, I was honored to be selected as a pneumatics specialist for material handling equipment. Taking on the challenge of spearheading the first in-house pneumatics air design for a fulfillment center was a defining achievement in my career. Traditionally, such designs were outsourced, but I saw an opportunity to leverage my expertise and enhance internal capabilities. Drawing on my background in the piping industry, I successfully completed a comprehensive pneumatics calculation and engineering design for a massive Amazon fulfillment center spanning 800,000 square feet and five stories tall. This design laid the foundation for future projects, empowering Vanderlande to develop and refine internal capabilities for designing pneumatics piping systems. This accomplishment contributed to improved efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced control over the pneumatic design process.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far:

As an MBA student, my most significant accomplishment so far has been my active involvement and selection as a first-year representative for the Social Committee. Taking on this role, I’ve played a part in planning and organizing a diverse range of events for our program. It’s very fulfilling to be part of a leadership team that fosters a sense of community by bringing everyone together for enjoyable experiences. Contributing to the coordination of social activities has not only enhanced my leadership and organizational skills but has also allowed me to make a meaningful impact on the overall student experience. Being a driving force behind the social cohesion within our MBA program is a source of great pride and accomplishment for me.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far?

There have been a lot of great memories so far as an MBA student, but one in particular that stands out is participating in Georgia Tech’s Leadership Challenge Course.  The Leadership Challenge Course is a unique outdoor training course where students engage in hands-on problem solving challenges within teams. The course included team challenges suspended several stories high, featuring activities like zip-lining, creating a fun and exhilarating experience. I really enjoyed this event as it helped further develop leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, while also creating a fun environment to meet and connect with new classmates.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Georgia Tech Scheller’s MBA program?

To prospective applicants seeking admission to the Georgia Tech Scheller MBA program, my advice is to actively engage with the wealth of resources available. I recommend attending online information sessions to gain insights into the program’s offerings and values. Take the opportunity to connect with the admissions team, who are very helpful and genuinely interested in helping prospective students navigate the application process. If possible, consider making an in-person visit to immerse yourself in the Scheller community. The faculty at Scheller are amazing, and engaging with them during your visit will provide firsthand insights into the academic excellence and supportive culture that define the program. I found that taking the initiative to talk with academic faculty and current students not only showcased my genuine interest but also allowed me to witness the collaborative spirit of Scheller’s atmosphere. These proactive steps not only enhance your understanding of the program but also leave a lasting impression on the decision-makers, ultimately contributing to a smooth transition into the Scheller community.

DON’T MISS MEET THE GEORGIA TECH SCHELLER MBA CLASS OF 2025

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