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Real Humans of Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2023

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emory goizuetas mba classAliya White, Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2023

Age: 29
Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Spelman College, Major: International Relations, Minor: Computer Science
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Strategy Consulting at Deloitte for 2 years within tech strategy practice 

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Now was the perfect time to take my diverse work experience and build on it. I have a little over 7 years work experience and I knew I wanted to take my career to the next level. I wanted to strengthen my strategy skills and develop my leadership skills. By attending business school, I would be able to do that and get exposed and try other areas of interest such as VC that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. 

Why did you choose Emory Goizueta? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
In addition to the career opportunities, school culture, Consortium group, and the Atlanta location, I chose Goizueta because I knew it was an environment in which I could thrive. Goizueta is ‘small by design’, and I have always appreciated and thrived in smaller environments. It allows me to build better relationships with the faculty, develop deeper friendships and have deeper conversations. The opportunity to develop and dig deeper with friends, faculty and in conversation is what makes Goizueta unique and it is something you will take away with you when you join the workforce. It has only been a few months; my teachers know my name and I have a great group of friends that are willing to share their experiences with me and assist in assignments if need be.  

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
The Class of 2023 is awesome and very diverse already! If I had to think of what makes me unique and valuable, I bring with me a diverse work experience and perspective having worked at a start-up, consulting and in the public sector. I have been the client and the consultant at some point in my career. Having sat on both sides of the table broadens your perspective. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I have gone paragliding twice – once in Spain and once in Croatia!  

Post-MBA career interests:
My short-term goal is to pursue a global strategist position within Samsung’s Global Strategy Group or a role in a management rotation program such as Amazon’s Retail Leadership Development Program. I aim to facilitate companies’ globalization efforts by working on projects related to new market entry analysis and synergy assessments. I want to help businesses understand cultural differences, policies and procedures at the local level and develop an international strategy.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:

– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Attend the diversity conferences, check out the school in person (if you can) and have a 1-2-1 with someone in Admissions. Attending the conferences allows you to meet other students who are in the process of also applying and it’s also a good way to meet the current first year students. Now that I am a first year MBA student, all the now second year students that I met during the diversity conferences have been very helpful since being on campus and are always down for coffee chats and sharing their tips for success. When I visited Goizueta in person, I was able to picture myself there which helped solidify my decision to attend. Lastly, having an authentic conversation with someone Admissions truly helped with my application process. They were able to answer any of my concerns but in addition, I was able to learn a lot more about the school and express my interest directly to them. 

What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Prioritize and plan the application process out as early as possible if you can. Give yourself time to edit the essays, reach out to employers to write letter of recommendation, and study for the GMAT/GRE. If you give yourself 6-8 months, by the time it comes to hitting the submit button for the applications, you will feel like you put your best foot forward and confident in your application. Also, remember networking is a huge part of the application process. Reaching out to current students, alum, and faculty at the school. Have at least 3 conversations (1 student, 1 alum and 1 staff) with someone from each school you plan to apply to. 

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Writing about yourself can sometimes be a bit hard. Trying to think of successes in your careers, what makes you unique, a time when you were a leader can be daunting. Although, we all have those experiences and characteristics that make us unique, I struggled to think of them on spot. My birthday is around the Fall/Autumn time (before round 2 application deadline). To help me get through it, for my birthday, I had a zoom call with my closest friends and I asked them what they thought makes me unique and to share their favorite experience with me. As my friends told me different stories (some so funny I cried), they thought they were making feel special on my birthday, little did they know, I recorded the conversation and took notes. Most of my essays and stories came from that 4 hour long zoom conversation call I had with my friends for my birthday.

What is your initial impression of the Emory Goizueta students/culture/community?
I am exactly where I need to be and at the right time in my life. I have met such awesome people since stepping foot on the campus. Every weekend it seems like someone is hosting a BBQ at their house. There is ample time to network and get to know one another. The second years are very welcoming and they always are down for a coffee chat to share their experience about the recruiting process, managing the workload and give you some tips for the homework. 

What is one thing you have learned about Emory Goizueta that has surprised you?
I knew core classes would be a lot. During the application process, many first years mentioned this, but nothing can really prepare you for the experience despite how many people have shared their experiences with you. You just have to go through it, prioritize, be clear with your team and know that you will get through it and ultimately end up on top. Core classes at Goizueta is the first semester when they put you in teams and you have to complete all the core classes (accounting, economics, marketing, etc.) in one semester (3 blocks). In the end, it is for the better because you will have completed most of your core classes by December (the end of the first semester) and be able to start taking electives second semester and get to the classes you are most interested in quicker.  

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Due to COVID, Goizueta waived the GRE/GMAT for some students if you had a quantitative work experience and if you were affected by the pandemic.  I was able to get my standardized testing score waived due to my quantitative experience having worked both in investment banking and consulting. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
As a liberal arts major in undergrad, I am most anxious about some of the quant courses. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited about being a student again and being challenged. I am enjoying my IMPACT360 Class, an experiential course here in which MBA students work on semester-long consulting projects with real businesses. Also, I am excited about the annual ski trip that Goizueta plans every year. 

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.