2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Cameron Bard, Emory University (Goizueta)

Cameron Bard

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“I am aggressively introspective, insistent upon integrity, and gradually staving off an existential crisis.”

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Fun fact about yourself: Chopin’s piano nocturnes are some of my favorite studying songs, and I’d love to learn to play all of them in my lifetime (2 down, many more to go).

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Davidson College, B.S., Physics

Washington University in St. Louis, B.S., Mechanical Engineering

Washington University in St. Louis, M.S., Aerospace Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Lockheed Martin, Aeronautical Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Boston Consulting Group, Summer Consultant (Atlanta, GA)

Where will you be working after graduation?  

Boston Consulting Group, Consultant (Atlanta, GA)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Robert W. Woodruff Scholar
President, Goizueta Energy and CleanTech Association
EVP, Goizueta Consulting Association
President, Goizueta Ambassadors
Social Enterprise Fellow – Climate and Sustainability
Teaching Assistant (Managerial Finance, Leading Organizations and Strategy)
Dean’s List (Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023)
Core Value Award – Rigor
Rice Cleantech Case Competition 2023 – 1st Place
Deloitte National Case Competition, Local Round – 1st Place

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the 2023 Rice CleanTech Innovation Competition, without a doubt. Energy and decarbonization fascinate me. Since matriculation I’ve doggedly pursued as many opportunities as possible to learn about both topics. As the President of the Goizueta Energy and CleanTech Association, I fielded a team to compete in Houston and we came back home with a win. I couldn’t have been prouder of our team, and as a bonus, we developed a close and lasting friendship with several Rice students.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I can’t speak in much detail about my work. In one instance as an aircraft structural analyst at Lockheed, I was asked to assess a series of large, load-bearing components on our platform. In the past this process was extremely tedious, but with a lead and another junior engineer, we improved the analysis process duration by roughly 80%. As a result, we quickly exceeded the capacity of the next group in this particular workflow and showed substantial progress to our customer. Later at a team bonding event, my manager told me “Your work is the reason we have a program today.” Though he was certainly exaggerating, I felt incredibly fulfilled to provide so much value to the team.

Why did you choose this business school? Goizueta, more than any other school I considered, gave me the impression that the current students, faculty, and administration care deeply about ensuring student fit and career success on a personal level. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of structured weekends on campus after I applied, and I quickly felt like I was already a student—that’s how natural the experience was. I learned during the application process that job placement three months post-MBA at Goizueta reaches 99%. Looking back, that doesn’t surprise me given the school’s commitment to success via the Career Management Center (CMC), a cohesive cohort, and a strong alumni network that continues to expand nationally.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course wasn’t a course at all but rather a directed study for credit titled “The Costs of Nuclear Power.” In the latter half of my first year, I worked with beloved former economics professor Ray Hill to determine why nuclear power generation facilities have become so expensive in the United States. The effort took roughly 120 hours. At the end of our time together, I presented my research and fielded questions from a large audience of students, faculty, and staff. This work became foundational for my credibility in the energy industry, and periodically, I’m asked to send it to interested businesses and schools for their own internal use.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I haven’t lived it yet, but GALA (Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy) will almost certainly become my most memorable MBA experience. In this module, multiple teams of students live on a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands for a week and compete in sailing challenges. Provided I don’t drown, get eaten by a shark, or get sunburned beyond recognition, I’m certain I’ll have amazing stories to tell about the experience.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I don’t regret any of the courses I’ve taken, but I wish I had explored coursework outside of the business school more diligently. For example, Emory offers classes in environmental science and energy law that I find fascinating, and the school encourages us to build our own curriculum to an extent. Finally, we partner with other excellent institutions in the area (such as Georgia Tech), which expands the number of topics available to students looking to expand their horizons.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Did you know that Atlanta’s metropolitan area is more populous than Boston’s? This fact shocks me, but it helps to illustrate the city’s strengths. The city is a thriving hub for key sectors like finance, healthcare, consulting, and media, while also offering plenty of greenery and access to water. Additionally, Atlanta houses Hartsfield-Jackson, the country’s most trafficked airport, which makes traveling incredibly accessible. Finally, the cost of living is cheaper than most other large cities with the same opportunities.

What surprised you the most about business school? I’m surprised by the extent to which business school has provided growth opportunities. I started at Emory as a huge introvert with a small, close-knit group of friends and evolving career ambitions. Now, as I approach graduation, I find myself leading several clubs, advocating passionately for decarbonization and climate equity, and enjoying the benefits of a diverse and greatly expanded friend group. Business school opened my eyes to a world I never could have imagined, and I can’t thank Goizueta enough for this gift.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It’s so tough to choose one classmate, but I’d love to brag on Tyler Dinucci for a moment. Tyler is the quintessential MBA career switcher, transitioning from TV writing in Los Angeles (for shows such as American Gods and Star Trek, no less) to human capital consulting. Instead of viewing his non-traditional background as detrimental, he has used it as an asset to solve problems creatively and communicate solutions professionally. Simultaneously, he has pushed himself to take courses outside his expertise, including a number of data analytics courses few dare to touch. Finally, he does it all while undeniably making the rest of us look weak in comparison (especially at the gym).

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

1. As a future consultant with a passion for energy, I’d love to work for SMR (small modular [nuclear] reactor) builders on their associated cost and financing challenges. My previously described directed study taught me how complex these projects are, but I remain committed to decarbonizing the most difficult to abate sectors despite the obstacles.

2. Long term, I’m interested in perhaps building my own business in the renewables space. The energy transition won’t be solved entirely by centralized utilities, and small, independent developers are providing energy democratization on an increasing scale.

What made Cameron such an invaluable member of the Class of 2024?

“Cameron Bard epitomizes the definitive Goizueta MBA student – a visionary, strategic thinker, and catalyst for change. As a Woodruff Scholar, he entered the Full-Time MBA Program having already demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and leadership potential. With a background in aeronautical engineering, Cameron brought with him a unique perspective and an unwavering commitment to his passion for sustainable energy. This isn’t merely a passing interest for Cameron; it’s a driving force that has fueled him to push the boundaries of the traditional path of an MBA student. His MBA journey has been defined by academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and social responsibility. Not only is Cameron laser-focused on his own professional development, he also has a vision for Goizueta’s future. In his final semester, he is spearheading an exploratory study aimed at expanding the MBA curriculum to incorporate a specialized focus on sustainable energy. Through this initiative, Cameron’s legacy at Goizueta will empower future generations of business leaders to confidently navigate the evolving landscape of renewable energy and environmental stewardship.”

Amy Bentley
Senior Associate Director, Full-Time MBA Program
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

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