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Phil plans to start with Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant post-graduation.
Phil plans to start with Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant post-graduation.

Countdown to Commencement – Phil Mauro

As part of our Countdown to Commencement series, we spent some time with a few full-time MBA soon-to-be graduates to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College for their MBA program, and what they plan to do with their degrees after May 5.

Meet Phil Mauro. Phil is from Seaford, New York and earned his bachelor’s degree in history and classics from the University of Notre Dame. He describes himself as a prankster who likes collecting Star Wars action figures. For seven years prior to graduate school Phil served as an Armor Officer with the U.S. Army. He began as a Tank Platoon Leader and moved through a variety of operations roles. He interned with Booz Allen Hamilton during the summer of 2016 and will be returning to Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant post-graduation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I am most proud of having the opportunity to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2009-2010. The opportunity to help the Iraqi Government with security, community relations, and economic development was truly a life-changing experience. Seeing the challenges of such a complex situation at such a young age really helped me learn that there are never easy solutions. It also made me appreciate the value of security, the capability of the human spirit to overcome adversity, and the mostly unsung efforts of the thousands of Iraqi Security Forces who fought alongside us.

Who was your favorite MBA professor?
My favorite professor at Scheller is Manpreet Hora, who teaches Service Operations Management. Professor Hora truly loves service operations. He starts each class by asking if anyone has experienced service successes or service failures since the last session, and goes on to talk about the operational concepts involved in each. He is really enthusiastic about bringing the operations field into the service economy, and even arranged a trip for the whole class to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra so we could learn about their operating model!

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
My favorite MBA course so far has been Six Sigma. I am one of those obnoxious people that loves process improvement. I had learned the important skill of attention to detail and specificity while I was writing orders for the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss. Six Sigma showed me how I could transfer these skills to the business world! I also learned that lots of organizations struggle with standardization and measurement. In the classroom, we learned this by measuring lemons and throwing paper helicopters from the third floor of the Scheller building.

Why did you choose the Scheller College of Business?
I really wanted to go to a school in a vibrant city, and I was familiar with Atlanta, having lived in Georgia previously. Honestly, I also wanted to go to a school with a great, historic football program! Georgia Tech made an effort to reach out to me as a veteran, and allowed me to pursue a dual degree in International Affairs.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?
I really enjoy all the group work, and especially the opportunity to do consulting projects for external companies. As a history major in my undergrad, I rarely had the opportunity to do group work. In the Army, the hierarchical structure made working with true peers somewhat uncommon. I was challenged to find a new way to relate to and work with others, and I really enjoyed that challenge. The practicum courses at Scheller helped broaden my experience, especially since I had never worked in the private sector before. I loved getting to see the inner workings of some of our local (and not-so-local) sponsors. These opportunities involved a lot of PowerPoint, but also took me to a cookie factory in Istanbul, the College Football Hall of Fame, and inside Emory Hospital!

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you?
I was really surprised by how much goes on at Scheller.

I thought I was busy as an undergrad, but I am ten times busier as an MBA. Between socials, club events, football tailgates, career events, and of course actual classes, Scheller is a busy place.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller’s MBA program?
Focus on leadership and breadth of experience. An MBA is designed to train managers, so any experience which can highlight your ability to lead and influence others is something you need to talk up. Scheller is looking for candidates with a diverse background...different sectors, different industries, different locations...anything that can show that you have a broad perspective.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
Working in operations somewhere...probably not in a place as great as Atlanta!

Who would you most want to thank for your success?
My parents. My mother works as a nurse and my father retired from civil service. My mother taught me to always consider the human aspects of a problem and the value of putting yourself in the shoes of every stakeholder. My father taught me to value diversity and work tirelessly to combat corruption and any sense of entitlement within an organization.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I would like my peers to remember me as someone who was always giving his all to make the student experience better and trying to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.


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