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Real Humans of Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2022

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Bryan Shepherd, Goizueta MBA Class of 2022

Age: 28
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Presbyterian College, BS Psychology & BA Political Science (MS in Applied Psychology from the University of Southern California)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years’ experience in talent acquisition/ organizational development consulting

Why business school? Why now?
I enjoyed incredible experiences as a research associate and client-facing consultant. Most of my experience, however, was more implementation-focused and downstream and I wanted the opportunity to develop strategy. After reaching a bit of a career plateau in my pre-MBA experience, this was the perfect time to deepen my ability to break complex problems into discrete, solvable issues and to synthesize this information to clients in a way to help create unique solutions.

Why Emory Goizueta? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was very focused on my search due to extensive research and a wonderful network of colleagues and friends to help clarify my goals. I knew I wanted a collaborative environment, strong outcomes in strategy consulting (internships + FT offers), and a community where I’d be able to learn both from professors and my cohort as I try to better learn the language of finance and strategy stakeholders. Emory checked all these boxes, kept me close to home, and provided many opportunities to stay well out of my comfort zone.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I have a unique view of the value of an MBA because I’ve recruited thousands of leaders 10+ years out of business school – this gave me a unique breadth of experiences across most industries and functions, from life sciences and technology to industrial and hospitality. Furthermore, I’ve been able to give great interview and company feedback to my cohort because of my experience leading interviews and candidate assessment for both large and small companies alike. Lastly, I’m a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow – I’m very passionate about ensuring that underrepresented minorities have pathways into business school and business – I’m able to apply some of my prior experience into this space as well.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I learned how to drive when I was 8 years old and I’m an avid fan of the American hero LeBron James.

Post-MBA career interests?
Strategy Consulting

Advice to current prospective applicants?
I’ll share advice that was very valuable to me: be very clear on your priorities and goals as you enter business school and keep track of your progress relative to those goals as you matriculate. Saves stress and will help keep you focused. It’s also important for you to articulate how you’ve created impact during the application and recruitment processes, not just that you’ve created an impact, so take time to reflect on everything you’ve done.

One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I spent nearly all of my savings visiting schools. I think it was important to understand how I felt as I talked to students at each school and to understand if I could visualize myself at each of these programs. I was also very forthright with admissions interviews and leaders about the factors the influenced my ability to attend.

One thing you would change or do differently?      
I would’ve started studying for the GMAT/GRE in small chunks about 2 years ahead of my application if I had the foresight. It would’ve taken the pressure out of that process. I would also just worry less and trust in my faith and efforts.

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would’ve skipped the standardized testing for sure. I knew my “why,” so it helped me stay focused.

What is your initial impression of Emory Goizueta students/culture/community?
I was surprised at how easy it was to connect with both those who had similar backgrounds and those who were completely different from me.

One thing you have learned about Emory Goizueta that has surprised you?
I thought the idea of “day one readiness” was just a feature of how the program was marketed. This has been true since early in the Summer when our career management center helped us prepared for CGSM’s Orientation Program/Career Fair and became even more intense when we took on a daunting course load during our “core semester.” I’ve learned so much so quickly.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing time between academics, mental/physical health, family, recruiting, and disconnecting in the face of a global pandemic and a social renaissance.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Not working for free anymore, learning from my classmates, and helping underserved communities reach their goals.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.