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Benjamin Barnett, Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major
Benjamin Barnett, Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major

Benjamin Barnett Named Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major

“I am an innovative, resilient, tech savvy, Marvel fanatic ready to change the world!”

Fun fact about yourself: This was kind of embarrassing but honestly true. When I was in elementary school, people were convinced that I was the double for Tyler James Williams, who starred as Chris in the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” so people would always call me Chris and I always look back and think I probably could’ve exploited the opportunity more.

Hometown: Hiram, Georgia

High School: East Paulding High School

Major: Business Administration, Information Technology Management Concentration, Finance Certificate

Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course was Technology Strategy. I really liked the structure of the class where instead of just being taught basic course material, our professor really wanted us to apply what we were learning to different business cases. Throughout the course. we looked at cases with Apple, Amazon, Intel, Qualcomm, and more! At the end of the semester, we worked in teams to present to the class a recommendation for a company of our choosing. It was a great learning experience and it really helped me understand the tech industry better from a strategic perspective.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Scheller College of Business Ambassador; Dean’s Scholar; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Council Undergraduate Representative; Dean’s List every semester; Faculty’s List for four semesters; Student Government Association; Student Center and Housing Committee Member; Georgia Tech Student Foundation Investments Committee, Financial Analyst; BB&T Emerging Leaders Certification; Independent Intramural Flag Football Team Captain

Where have you interned during your college career? Global Finance and Business Management Analyst, JPMorgan Chase & Company, Chicago

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working with IBM as an Associate Consultant within their Salesforce division in Dallas, Texas! I am looking forward to starting the next chapter of both my personal and professional life with an amazing firm.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Jacqueline Garner. Throughout my four years, I’ve had her for two classes and both times she was exceptional at both teaching and getting to know her students. I learned that it’s not simply about how much work you put in to learn a subject, but also being able to apply what you learn to real-world scenarios. I remember going into her office hours to clarify some points from class and the conversation shifted to the research she does on the impact of compensation in college football. It truly speaks to the versatility of all Scheller professors who not only provide a unique learning experience but are also willing to get to know their students.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? One of the biggest lessons I’ve gained from studying business is that it truly is a connection-driven field. It’s not about what you know or who you know. In the words of our outstanding career advisor Michael Dutcher, it’s about who knows what you know.

While academic achievements play an important role, the connections I’ve made during my time as a business student have made me a better professional and person. Scheller structures their curriculum around collaboration, so students can enhance their communication and teamwork skills for their internships, co-ops, and full-time programs. There is an abundance of resources for students to help them learn how to apply their networking skills, including taking the Career Development course, belonging to student organizations, attending information sessions, and more. The networking skills I’ve gained during my time as a business student have been instrumental to my early professional career, and I look forward to maintaining the connections I’ve developed over my four years at Scheller.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Ultimately, I think which school you attend has such a huge impact on your education. Speaking as a business major attending a STEM school, I think the most surprising thing is how many connections I was able to make and the influence technology has in every business.

Before coming to Scheller, I’d heard how welcoming and helpful everyone was, but I knew it was still business and thought there would be a lot of competition. I was so wrong because the connections I’ve made here have been invaluable to my Scheller experience and helped me prepare for the career I want to have. The other surprise was how much technology factors into business decisions. In the current landscape of business, there’s a transformation in data analysis, cloud computing, analytics, etc. Being a business major at Georgia Tech has afforded me the opportunity to combine business and technology in a unique way that will be valuable to any company I work for.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? The one thing I would most certainly change about my experience is to study abroad. I had plans to do it in the summer of 2020 before COVID shut everything down. The other thing I would’ve done differently is participate in the Denning Technology and Management Program at Scheller. This program gives students the opportunity to take unique courses in either engineering or computer science to go along with their business degree.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? My answer is a combination of academic and personal achievement. 2020 was a year of challenges for many due to the pandemic as well as finding a way to move forward after the loss of my mom. I thought about dropping out of school to focus on healing from the loss and dealing with grief and the lack of confidence I had in whether I could continue. However, I decided to stick it out because I knew it’s what she would’ve wanted and what followed was academic and personal success. I kept a perfect GPA for four straight semesters following the loss and successfully secured an internship the following summer and a full-time offer while still focusing on my healing and the challenges my family faced after her passing. It’s something I’m extremely proud of under the circumstances and hope to keep pressing forward in honor of her.

Which classmate do you most admire? This is a tough question to answer. Throughout my four years, I’ve had so many classmates who’ve been a part of my journey. I’m grateful because they’ve all pushed me in ways that will always be beneficial to my career and life.

Given that, the classmate I admire the most is Darius Chinoy. We were members of the same student organization, Scheller Business Ambassadors, and were paired as mentor/mentee during my freshman and his senior year. I never thought that relationship would expand into a friendship that will last a lifetime. In addition to his consulting career at KPMG, he is one of the best conversationalists and networkers I’ve met; he has provided valuable advice that has really helped launch my professional career. One of the first things he asked me was how much I liked football, which is something we’re both obsessed with, and he invited me to join his intramural football team. While this may seem like a small thing, it was important because it helped to create a closer mentorship and a more personal relationship. I truly admire how much he is willing to give back to me and to Scheller, as well as the connections he made, and the people in his life. He’s well-rounded, dedicated to his goals, successful, confident, and humble among a long list of achievements, and I can’t wait to see him continue to inspire others along the way.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? The person I would most want to thank for my success without a doubt is my mom. Almost two years ago, she lost her battle with cancer. She was the most generous, caring, and loving person ever and I’ll be lucky to even be half the person she was. Her characteristics and values led her to obtaining multiple degrees and enjoying a successful career in nursing. Growing up was never easy for my family, as we experienced a lot of moving and life challenges. But she worked extremely hard to provide not only for me but my four other siblings, sometimes working two and three jobs to make ends meet.

She decided in June of 2013 to move our entire family from Delaware to Georgia. While I didn’t understand it then, it became the best thing that’s ever happened to me. She always stressed the importance of education not just to make a living but to truly make a difference in the world because that’s who she was – always wanting to make a difference in someone’s life. She taught me the value of hard work, setting priorities, education, and generosity, and she held me to the highest standard. And while she didn’t always agree with my decisions, she made it known that I had her full support. I wouldn’t be anywhere near the person I am today without her and while she isn’t here to witness this accomplishment, I know she would be proud.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would love to work abroad at least once during my lifetime. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to study abroad during my last years in college due to COVID, so being able to work in a different culture for a couple years would be a very rewarding experience.

The other thing on my bucket list is, after several years of gaining the necessary experience, I want to open my own consulting practice – combining my passions of technology and finance to help small businesses provide the best value for their customers. I recognize the current economic injustices happening and would like to specifically help minority-owned businesses obtain the loans they need to operate.

What are your hobbies? While COVID had put a halt to my top hobby, which is traveling, I’m glad things are starting to open up more because I love experiencing new places. Traveling abroad is something I specifically look forward to, but some other hobbies include cooking, which I started doing more of during quarantine. I like going to the gym, spending time with friends and family, and keeping up with sports as well.

What made Ben such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Ben Barnett is an example of what excellence looks like. He commits to it in every endeavor. It seems that excellence is a core value and a part of his foundation. As his professor, it has been a joy to see his growth as a leader in group/team activities as well as seeing him sharpen his quantitative and qualitative skills. Additionally, he possesses a tremendous sense of the importance of relationships and EQ, as he often looks for relevance and value in his work.

I am so encouraged and excited to see his ability and willingness to be a voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He articulates very well the need, expectation, and value (social and economic) of DE&I being woven into organizations and an individual’s activities and initiatives. He walks the talk!

As a leader who is balanced by being quiet and listening, but prescriptively vocal when needed, Ben is an outstanding candidate for Poets&Quants’ Best & Brightest. His consistent, intentional effort to make a positive impact and generate results is admirable and exemplary and will have a tremendous positive impact on anything he does. He makes whatever he gets involved with better and motivates others to be better.”

Charles F. Easley, Jr.
Professor of the Practice, Organizational Behavior
Institute for Leadership and Social Impact

 Reprinted from Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Benjamin Barnett, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

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