Heyward Mainous, Georgetown McDonough MBA Class of 2025
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Economics and Environmental Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): I worked for four years prior to my MBA, first in Environmental Compliance for Georgia Pacific, then for a utility-scale solar company called Birdseye Renewable Energy doing business development. Most recently, I did ESG advisory services and consulting for Truist Financial.
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I found that throughout my career, sustainability was my passion. After moving into the finance industry, I increasingly wished I understood more about business, finance, and strategy with regard to ESG projects. I wanted to be able to add more value to the many amazing sustainable companies and projects out there that need financial backing to thrive. As far as why now, I was at a turning point in my career where I felt like I had a lot to gain from an MBA, and from a personal perspective, I just got married and am not tied to any particular location by children/family obligations. So I decided it made the most sense to pursue this sooner rather than later.
Why did you choose McDonough? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was drawn to McDonough for its location and international focus. Living in DC has been a dream of mine for a while, and McDonough is the best MBA program in the city. There are so many cool businesses and government agencies at our fingertips. Our program is also highly international. I have so much to learn from my classmates from all over the world (over 50% of our class is from outside the US!). The program itself is also famous for integrating a global lens into the class material.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Georgetown McDonough School of Business Class of 2025?
As I mentioned above, our class diversity from a geographical perspective is incredible! It makes us all better people and business stewards to be able to work with people from all over the world. Additionally, everyone I’ve met is so bright and friendly. It really makes the environment so collaborative and warm.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I’m a big college sports fan, particularly UNC football and basketball! I definitely have a bit of a competitive streak.
Post-MBA career interests:
Sustainability consulting and finance
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Attending information sessions and speaking with current students are both great ways to get to know the program, and for the program to get to know you! Demonstrated interest is always a plus.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I had generally done more research on a variety of programs. I pretty much picked places based on location and rank, and I could have done a better job of exploring what makes schools and programs unique.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Other than not having to take the GRE, the personal essays were really tough for me. I knew I wanted to get my MBA, but I had to do a lot of soul-searching and editing to get my essays in good shape and get the message across. In retrospect, it was a great exercise in shaping my career path and business school goals. Getting outside eyes on your essays is key here and was helpful after staring at the same paper for hours.
What is your initial impression of the McDonough students/culture/community?
My initial impression is how collaborative and engaging the community is! I feel comfortable reaching out to any of the second years for recruiting advice. My classmates work together to use all of our collective strengths on pretty much all assignments. I think this simulates the real world work environment and teaches us to work as a team which will serve all of us well in the future. Also, everyone is generally so friendly and fun!!
What is one thing you have learned about the Georgetown McDonough School of Business that has surprised you?
How much diversity we have in our program! I’ve never been a part of such an international group of people!
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Finding a balance between school/recruiting/social has made me the most nervous. I’m absolutely a “yes” girl and love to be social with my classmates and also not abandon my husband, but there are so many other commitments on top of that. It’s also really the first time I’ve been in school with the recruiting side of things being so heavy. Finding a balance has been what I’m most anxious about, but there are lots of resources to help guide us through this process which I’m grateful for.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m looking forward to this time of career exploration! It’s unusual after college to be in such a safe space to explore different career paths. I’m also excited to continue to build relationships with my amazing classmates, who I know many of will be lifelong friends and mentors.