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Executive MBA alum Cornelius Cook.
Executive MBA alum Cornelius Cook.

Telling the Story Behind Data: Executive MBA Alumnus Cornelius Cook Joins S&P Global

Cornelius Cook is a numbers whiz who loves to see a story unfold through data. One of his professional goals was to work in a strategic capacity for a Fortune 500 company. The Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA (EMBA) alum’s dream turned into a reality when he joined S&P Global Ratings as a new associate director earlier this year.

“Finance can be viewed as quantitative, which it is, but there is also a story behind all of that,” said Cook. “I like analyzing to understand the story and narrative behind certain things. Finance is integrated into everything, no matter what is. I like having a stake in that.”

Before joining S&P Global, Cook worked in commercial banking and rose through the ranks to become the senior vice president and chief credit officer of American Commerce Bank. After working in banking for more than a decade, Cook was ready for a change and to expand his skills. One of his lifelong goals was to earn an MBA, and he knew making a career transition would be easier with the degree.

“I knew that it would elevate my skill set and give me credibility in the business world,” he said. “An MBA degree is universal and not siloed. It felt like a way to round out my skills.”

The Alabama native chose the Scheller College of Business because it aligned with his lifestyle. He liked that the program was 17 months, and he didn’t have to choose his schedule—it was one less thing for him to worry about as he made his career shift.

In his Executive MBA classes, Cook learned about the global footprint, selling products and services, and general business terminology and strategies. All this new knowledge was foundational for him. He never had to sell anything to a consumer before because in his role at banks—everyone came to him.

“I worked for smaller banks and did not have exposure to traditional departments in a normal business: marketing, human resources, the supply side of things,” he said. “The classes helped me tie roots to things I had heard about but didn’t know how they worked. The EMBA program rounded out business for me.”

Cook is in a unique position as an associate director of S&P Global Ratings, a credit rating agency that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities. He works in the financial institution department and is the only one on his team that has worked at a bank or any financial institution. He hopes to bring a fresh perspective. He says the analysis S&P Global Ratings does is similar to his banking experience, but more granular.

“I hope to provide a new take and insight into companies we are analyzing, specifically banks that we provide rates on,” he said.

As Cook thrives in his new job, he hopes the legacy he leaves behind is for people to know he’s a leader who values autonomy on a team.

“Whoever I am working with, I want to ensure they have the platform, time, space, and support to have their opinion heard,” he said. “I feel like everybody should win, not just one person.”

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