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Success Story

Gina Barrios, MBA 2003, is senior continuous-improvement consultant at Invesco's Atlanta headquarters.
Gina Barrios, MBA 2003, is senior continuous-improvement consultant at Invesco's Atlanta headquarters.

Gina Barrios Applies Problem-Solving Skills at Invesco

Gina Barrios, MBA 2003, enrolled in Georgia Institute of Technology's business school because she wanted to point her career in an interesting new direction. She never thought she'd also wind up with a network of friends around the world — and a job that gives her the opportunity to sustain those friendships.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Clemson University, Barrios spent the next 12 years with General Electric (GE) as an engineer in the manufacturing and service operations sides of the company. Her assignments took her to GE facilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Syracuse, New York.; and Greenville, South Carolina. In 2001, Barrios was working at the company's Medical Systems Service Group in Atlanta when she decided it was time for a change.

"I decided to get my MBA because I wanted to advance my career and make myself more marketable, not just to engineering firms, but more generally," she said. "I wanted to get a better sense of business, and perhaps one day run a company."

A first-generation American of Italian parents, she grew up in Utica, New York, but had planted roots in Atlanta that she didn't want to pull up by going to an out-of-state college.

"So I quit my job at GE and went full-time at Georgia Tech."

After spending many years in the workforce, being in school again was like "a breath of fresh air," she recalled. "It was best decision I ever made."

As an engineer, Barrios felt at home in the Tech environment.

"We had a project that involved nanotechnology, for example, and I really enjoyed working with the professors doing research on something technologically oriented," she said.

She also liked the MBA program's relatively small complement of students because "you knew everybody in your year, and you got to know everybody in the year either above or below you," said Barrios who, as the social director of her class, organized parties, picnics, and international-themed potluck dinners.

She maintained a social life of a more personal nature as well. Guillermo Barrios was a fellow MBA student. They began dating, and three months after graduation in 2003, the couple was married.

Gina Barrios and family.

Out of six job offers awaiting her after graduating from Tech, Barrios accepted a position with Citigroup's Credit Card Division. Then in 2007, she secured her present job as a senior continuous-improvement consultant at Invesco's Atlanta headquarters.

"I solve business problems within our company," she explained. "It could be anything from a department looking for ways to automate a particular task to finding ways to streamline a process to make it more efficient.

"Invesco is one of the best places to work in Atlanta," she added. "It's a wonderful environment where everybody works well together, and it supports a great work-life balance."

Barrios likes the variety of tasks her job entails and credits her MBA with helping prepare for it.

"In my MBA I focused a significant amount of time on finance and marketing classes — areas I didn't have in my background. They were very enlightening and opened my eyes to other aspects of business.

"Now in my consulting role, I can go to any group within the company, and while I may not know the particulars of their job, it doesn't take me long to get up to speed with understanding what the job is about well enough to help them fix the issue at hand."

Barrios' job often takes her to Invesco's 34 locations outside the U.S., where far from home she still manages to find a familiar face.

"When I traveled to India on Invesco business I met up with a former MBA classmate who now lives there," she said. "On that same trip I happened to have a 24-hour layover in Dubai, so I got together with a Georgia Tech MBA alumnus there who took me and my colleague from Invesco sightseeing all day long. When I was in Hong Kong this past year, I met up with another alum from our MBA class, and we went out for drinks together. About a year ago I was in Toronto on business and visited with another classmate from Tech.

"That's what's great about the smaller MBA program and knowing everybody," she continued. "We keep in touch with a significant number of alumni from our grad school days, and even though we're scattered throughout the world, sometimes we can still get together."


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