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Kara Pomerantz, Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major
Kara Pomerantz, Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major

Kara Pomerantz Named Poets&Quants 2022 Best & Brightest Business Major

“Self-aware type-A personality with an affinity for cats, coffee, and a good laugh.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have tutored several Georgia Tech students in accounting classes who went on to become NFL and NBA athletes!

Hometown: Woodstock, Georgia

High School: Cherokee Christian School

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

Favorite Business Course: Seminar in Advanced Accounting

This course is a fun, interactive deep dive into the large-scale accounting frauds of the recent past and present. It also seeks to educate students on the importance of financial reporting ethics and the broader impact of accounting treatments on the economy as a whole.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Awards:

Throughout my time at Georgia Tech, I have maintained a 4.0 GPA and, as a result, have qualified for Faculty Honors distinction and the Georgia Zell Miller Scholarship every semester.

Leadership Roles:

Ever since I started at Georgia Tech, seeking opportunities to get involved in the student community was a priority of mine. As a first and second year, I led the Georgia Tech Student Alumni Association’s Spirit, Traditions, and Pride Committee as a Spirit Days Chair. In this role, I initiated, planned, and executed monthly outreach events to promote Institute traditions, holidays, and overall school spirit for the Georgia Tech community.

During my second and third year, I served the new wave of first-year students as a GT 1000 team leader. GT 1000 is a mandatory freshman seminar purposed to guide first-year students in professional development through resume writing, interview practice, and career discovery. In my role as a team leader, I assisted the course instructors in curriculum planning, offered feedback on student resumes, led a team of students to complete their first case competition, and served as a mentor to two classes of 20+ students.

Also in my third year, I became an official Georgia Tech tour guide, giving 90-minute campus tours each week. I thoroughly enjoy meeting prospective students and their families and giving them a glimpse into the Georgia Tech experience that I have grown to love over the past four years. Whether I am answering freshman housing questions, describing student life, or testifying to the amazing opportunities the Institute provides, I am proud to serve as an ambassador for Georgia Tech every time I step out on tour.

While feeding my passion for mentoring and serving the Georgia Tech community, I also discovered a devotion towards promoting and educating myself and others on the value of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. In the midst of navigating my first year at Georgia Tech, I recognized this need within the Scheller College of Business. This led me to spearhead a new student organization called Diversity in Business, which was the first of its kind to have a DE&I focus. I was motivated to replicate the diversity initiatives I had witnessed in the broader business world and sought to promote and educate students on workplace diversity. For the first two years, I served as the president and recruited a diverse set of peers to fulfill the necessary executive board positions. We successfully held biweekly events, bringing in speakers from top companies such as Deloitte, NCR, and Coca-Cola to discuss their corporations’ diversity initiatives as well as offer their personal experiences and career challenges as diverse individuals themselves. Today, Diversity in Business thrives with a membership of over 50 students, significant university and corporate funding, and a legacy of championing positive change within a growing student community.

As an extension of my DE&I work through Diversity in Business, I was selected to serve on the Scheller Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council as one of three undergraduate representatives. Following the series of racial injustices that took place in the summer of 2020, this council was faced with the heavy challenge of identifying areas of improvement within the Scheller community and crafting and prioritizing solutions. The council consisted of faculty members and both MBA and undergraduate students who met biweekly to discuss sensitive and important topics and spearhead necessary change.

Campus Jobs:

In tandem with student leadership, I also sought out professional work experiences. The first internship I obtained was with the Georgia Tech Alumni Association in their accounting department. I learned the inner workings of the Association’s invoicing and payroll processes from the department’s CFO and was able to apply classroom concepts to real-world scenarios.

Another work opportunity that I pursued was being a student tutor for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Every week for several semesters, I created supplemental lesson plans and practice problems to help 8+ student athletes achieve their academic goals in introductory accounting courses. All of these athletes successfully completed each course with significant grade increases and some later advanced to the NFL and NBA. Although I only knew these students academically, it was still a gratifying and unique experience to serve them during their time at Tech.

As of today, I work alongside the Corporate Relations Manager and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Education as a teaching assistant for our required Career Development class. Like the name suggests, this course educates third-and fourth-year students on key professional skills and activities such as resume and cover letter writing and behavioral and case interviewing. My responsibilities include offering constructive feedback on student assignments as well as providing advice as it relates to career discovery and degree planning. This role is a particularly enjoyable one as I get to support my fellow classmates by sharing my learned skills and acquired network as they jumpstart their careers.

Where have you interned during your college career? During Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 of my freshman year, I interned with the Georgia Tech Alumni Association as an Accounting Intern.

During the Summer of 2021, I interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Atlanta, Georgia as a Health Industries Assurance Risk and Regulatory Intern as part of their advisory practice.

Where will you be working after graduation? In Fall 2022, I will start full-time with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Atlanta, Georgia as a Health Industries Assurance Risk and Regulatory Associate.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The common misconception about navigating the business world is that a person’s network matters more than their capabilities; that one could lay the foundation for a successful career on connections alone. Although building one’s network is strongly encouraged within the Scheller community, there is an even more important culture of hard work and collaboration amongst students, faculty, and staff.

Thus, the most important lesson that I have learned from studying business is that it is not about who you know. Instead, it is about who knows what you know. In other words, the key to achieving lies within your own ability to learn and put forth good work, and the key to success is to surround yourself with people who know your competencies and will champion for you.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The most practical piece of advice I would give to students interested in studying business is to strengthen their communication and conversational skills. At the start of my very first business class four years ago, each student was asked to introduce themselves. When my turn came along, I stuttered through my name, hometown, and completely blanked on a fun fact.

After a few more failed introductions and awkward networking interactions, I resolved to be a better communicator. I pushed myself to schedule coffee chats with young professionals and practiced leading conversations with strangers. I attended smaller networking socials and information sessions with companies to challenge my comfort levels and used student organizations and class presentations to rehearse public speaking skills. As I started interviewing and networking to obtain internships, I realized how beneficial my initial efforts were, and I would now encourage other students to do the same.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing that I regret was not intentionally seeking out mentorship opportunities with Scheller professors. Every business professor that I have taken a course with has made a point of being available to students for questions, concerns, or simply good conversation. While I always established a positive reputation for myself in terms of performance, I would have loved to get to know my professors on a more personal level, asking for guidance, career advice, and industry knowledge. Leveraging the expertise of these immediate connections is something that I would definitely pursue if given the opportunity again.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The personal achievement that I am most proud of would be the ideation, formation, and success of Diversity in Business, the first undergraduate business organization with a DE&I focus. At a vastly diverse institute such as Georgia Tech, the Scheller College of Business is no exception. A significant number of culturally diverse students are admitted every year and contribute their success to the Scheller name. However, prior to Diversity in Business, these same students invested their extracurricular time in clubs and organizations outside of the college and diverse membership rates for Scheller-specific groups were seemingly low. Puzzled by this, I spoke with peers and found the resounding answer to be a sense of misfit, that the existing business student groups perpetuated like-minded members and it was difficult to cultivate community within the college.

It was then that I realized Scheller lacked an outlet, advocate group, or club with a diversity and inclusion focus and I resolved to fill the need. I chartered Diversity in Business as a student-run organization that would serve to advocate for the diverse Scheller population. The undergraduate program office fully supported my work, and the organization received generous funding and access to university and corporate connections. This enabled us to execute events that focused on educating students of the presence and importance of DE&I in the workplace. The goal was to see both diversity and inclusivity at play within Scheller as both were needed so that people of all backgrounds, profiles, and interests felt as if they too could thrive and belong. I have enjoyed seeing an increase in student participation for diversity-related events such as implicit bias workshops and panels.

As additional diversity programs rise up and offer more events and education opportunities, I am excited to see the student community’s positive response and am proud to have been a catalyst in the overall movement towards an even more diverse and inclusive Scheller experience.

Which classmate do you most admire? I met Anna Montgomery during my first year at Georgia Tech in a campus ministry as a fellow business student. As we started taking classes together, I quickly found myself drawn to her leadership and interpersonal skills. In any academic or team setting, Anna is passionate about motivating herself and supporting others to put forth good work. I have found kinship in our similar work ethic and anti-procrastination tendencies, and I admire her ability to eloquently articulate her thoughts on any topic in all settings. She is passionate about pursuing a career where she can serve others and make a positive contribution to the world. She wears the biggest smile in and out of the classroom and never fails to celebrate the victories of others regardless of how big or small. For these reasons, Anna Montgomery is the classmate I admire and respect the most.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?

My father, Mark Pomerantz, is an unparalleled source of sage advice and experience. He is the first person I call for guidance and whose opinion I respect the most. As a beloved and effective leader who has worked hard to achieve corporate success, the most foundational skill he instilled in me was to “Finish what you start.” Whether it be a losing board game, a lousy test grade, or a difficult life transition, my father taught me endurance, persistence, and thoroughness; To finish the race not for the respect of others, but for the respect of yourself. Resolving to carry things to completion and carry them well is a life skill that has been a precursor to my evolving success in all areas of my life. Mark Pomerantz is my father, role model, and biggest supporter, and the individual I most want to thank.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Act as a mentor to college students after gaining industry knowledge and experience. I have had fantastic mentors through the Student Alumni Association Mentor Jackets program and would love to give back to the next generation in a similar capacity.
  2. Have the opportunity to work abroad for a one- or two-year rotation and experience a different culture. I studied abroad after my freshman year, and I am eager to continue my travels.

What are your hobbies? At a very young age, I took to baking. Cakes, cookies, breads, pastries, and anything sweet or savory that goes into the oven has been a passion of mine for quite some time. During the pandemic and quarantine of 2020, I also taught myself how to embroider and crotchet. I now embroider canvas tote bags and crotchet scarves and hats for friends and family as gifts. Aside from crafty activities, I am a coffee lover and actively explore different coffee shops around Atlanta. I also identify as a plant mom and enjoy collecting and caring for several house plants. More recently, I have become a foster parent through the Atlanta Humane Society and have started caring for cats leading up to their adoption.

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

“Kara is the kind of student which every professor hopes to have in their class. Not only is she intelligent and ambitious, but she is also warm and kind. She consistently outperforms expectations and completes tasks in a professional manner. Her verbal and written communication skills are excellent. Kara is among the best students that I have had the pleasure to teach. She is a leader amongst her peers, and she helps to promote a strong, unified community at Scheller. Kara draws people to her through her positive attitude and strength of character. It has been a pleasure to teach Kara and I look forward to seeing her accomplish many great things in the future.”

Ryan Blunck
Lecturer, Accounting
Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

 

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

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