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Real Humans of Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2023

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emory goizuetas mba classJohn Crain, Emory Goizueta’s MBA Class of 2023

Age: 28
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Birmingham-Southern College, Mathematics and Economics Double Major
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Financial Services, 5 years

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I enjoyed an incredible experience in my prior role and am so appreciative of my time there. However, it was largely diligence focused, and while I loved that aspect of it, I wanted the opportunity to go beyond that and play a more active role in developing strategy. I knew that business school would not only provide me with the opportunity to ultimately do that, but it would also prepare me with the appropriate skillset needed to do it effectively.

Why did you choose Emory Goizueta? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I spent months researching schools and having conversations with current students, alumni, faculty, etc., and the school that I connected with the most throughout that period of time was Emory. I was convinced that I would be able to reach my goals here. I also knew that I wanted to be in a market that was mature enough to allow accessibility to a wide variety of professional opportunities, but also had high potential for growth. Going through the pandemic, there has been increased interest in moving away from global hubs and towards secondary cities like Atlanta, and that has and will continue to result in major growth prospects for the city. Atlanta is an exciting place to be right now. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
From a professional perspective, although I worked in finance, I worked with a variety of companies, especially within the healthcare and technology sectors, which allowed me to gain a functional knowledge of those industries as well. I think this cross-industry knowledge will be an asset as we learn concepts that span the entire spectrum of business. Further, from an interpersonal perspective, I think I have a unique ability to genuinely connect with all types of people despite how different our backgrounds may be, and that is important in a situation like business school where we all find ourselves surrounded by people with wide varieties of backgrounds and experiences. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I am a lifelong Alabama fan, and I am excited to bring every single one of my international classmates who are not familiar with American football onto the bandwagon. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Strategy consulting, ideally working with technology companies. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:

– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I found incredible value in having one on one conversations with both current students and recent alumni of the schools I applied to, especially those who had similar career interests. They were great resources and surprisingly willing to help. Discussions with them allowed me get clarity around my own story and helped me to see the nuances that really differentiated various programs.  

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started the entire process earlier. By no means did I feel rushed, but the application process requires a LOT of self-reflection, and I learned a lot about myself and my goals throughout the process. Having more time to adjust applications based on those revelations would have made the entire process less stressful. 

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
All of the “tell me about a time when…” questions in interviews. Storytelling is absolutely a skill, and I never have been a great natural storyteller. There was no secret unlock to getting through it – it just required good old fashioned practice. The more I practiced, the more comfortable I felt. 

What is your initial impression of the Emory Goizueta students/culture/community?
I remember after I was admitted last spring, Emory made me feel incredibly welcomed even before I had made my final decision to attend. Personalized welcome packages, current students reaching out, check-ins from my admissions director, etc. It led me to believe that Goizueta would be a place where people genuinely cared about me reaching my personal goals and were willing to provide as much support as I needed. Since arriving on campus, I have absolutely found that to be the case.

What is one thing you have learned about Emory Goizueta that has surprised you?
Everyone has been so proactively willing to help. I expected to be supported, but given that business school is obviously an incredibly busy time, I thought I would have to ask for it more than I have. Fortunately, support and encouragement have been thrown at me so frequently by classmates and faculty that I very rarely need to specifically ask for it. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
My entire process was majorly impacted by the pandemic in several ways, but I would say the primary obstacle was the inability to physically visit schools during the application process. A school’s culture is a factor that I think all applicants consider, and while current students and alumni were able to speak to me about the culture at various schools, it’s very difficult to get an actual sense of it for yourself without physically placing yourself in it. On the flip side, doing interviews virtually saved me a lot of money on travel costs, and as a student with no income, that is something I am now much more appreciative of. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Definitely time management. With so many competing opportunities and commitments, both academically and professionally, it can be difficult to know how to best allocate my time and energy.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
One of the reasons I came to business school was the opportunity to spend two years around high quality people, so I am very excited to continue learning from and getting to know my classmates.  

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.