As part of our Countdown to Commencement series, we interviewed a few soon-to-be graduates from our undergraduate and MBA programs to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College, and what they plan to do after Fall 2018 Commencement.
Meet Cajgie McGaha Dickey:
Cajgie is completing her Executive MBA (EMBA) with a specialization in Management of Technology. Hailing from Booneville, Mississippi, she describes herself as “a small-town family girl” who’s had a dream, since high school, to graduate from Georgia Tech. (Cajgie’s 18-year-old son is also a Tech student!)
Where are you employed and what do you do there?
I currently work for Cox Automotive as Senior Director of Human Resources Business Partners. There, I partner with senior business leaders to help align organizational talent with business objectives. This involves consulting on strategy and other talent-centric matters that enable effective execution on priority business initiatives.
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
It has been my dream, since high school, to graduate from Georgia Tech. It has taken me 30 years to realize this dream, but it was the obvious choice when I had the opportunity.
Why did you choose the Executive MBA program?
I chose the Executive MBA program for multiple reasons, but the main reasons were the length of the program, weekend format and as the name implies, an “Executive” student profile. As a working professional, I needed a program that allowed the greatest amount of flexibility to balance work demands without the potential fatigue/disruption that a longer process might impose. I also know that my optimal learning style is best in a classroom setting. Plus, I hoped to benefit from hearing the perspective of other professionals in and out of my profession and industry.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
My favorite was Professor Debbie Turner, hands down. Her authenticity and passion are evident in the way she teaches. She cares and wants her students to do well and you feel that. Even today when I bump into her in the hallway or outside of class, she remembers me and is genuinely happy to see me.
What was your favorite course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
Ethical Decision Making and Business Regulations were my favorites; both taught by Professor Lucien Dhooge (aka “The Law Dude”). Professor Dhooge is a great storyteller who goes to the extra mile to make class relevant and interesting, citing examples and case studies that are relevant to understanding the rules of law and frameworks for ethics in business. I enjoyed being in his classes and the biggest takeaway is that the appropriateness of decisions in business are about the lens or framework through which you view them.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Several technology businesses are headquartered here in Atlanta and as technology and innovation continue to be a focus for these businesses to be sustained, Scheller College is perfectly positioned to supply these businesses with the talent needed to compete and add capabilities that help to promote growth and competitive advantage. As these businesses are drawn to Tech Square for their innovation hubs, it makes sense to leverage Scheller resources in their backyard.
What is your best advice to someone interested in getting their MBA at Georgia Tech Scheller College?
Take the plunge. If you are unsure, attend one of the many information sessions and explore your options, as there are many. Whether your needs are full-time, part-time, online, or compressed, there is a program that may work for you. The admissions team and advisors are there to help walk you through the process.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
I heard repeatedly that once you go through this program you are bonded in a unique way to your cohort and that everyone looks out for each other. I have to say that going through this experience, this is ABSOLUTELY true. Each cohort comments on this aspect and you must live it to understand it. Everyone is making sacrifices to be here and leaning on each other in ways that bonds us like family. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything and have made lifelong friends.
What was your capstone project? What did you think about the final presentation before the judges?
My team’s product is a tool/platform for parents and prospective college students (domestic and international) to find the best school and financial resources to meet their future academic aspirations and needs. At current, we are preparing for a one-minute video that introduces our product after which we will present to the judges as our final deliverable. It’s been a long journey but gratifying to know we are nearing completion of our goal.
What were some of your key takeaways from the China international trip?
China was nothing like I imagined, and the experience completely changed my perception. I was a bit apprehensive but also excited to gain new experiences and learn. Some observations in particular were:
How we treat trade has major implications on commerce for imports and exports and I have a deeper understanding and appreciation on the topic. Also, before the visit, there wasn’t a country I would have ever contemplated for an employment engagement, but the trip opened my eyes to career opportunities. Finally, there is an art to doing business in China and companies must do their homework and understand cultural implication for success if they plan on doing business there. The Chinese economy is nothing to underestimate!
Did you participate in one of the optional trips?
No, work obligations and a son entering college (here at Tech!) in the fall prevented me from going on the optional trips.
Are you kidding? Who has time for hobbies when you have a kid entering college, a downsizing move after 20-years, and constant work deliverables in the middle of an MBA program?!
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be thinking about what could have been and missing out on a lifetime experience.
What are the top two items on your personal bucket list?
To complete my MBA from Georgia Tech and to achieve my goals of traveling to an African safari, Tahiti, or Australia -- one of which may be a graduation gift to myself!
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I would like to be remembered as a helpful and respectful classmate who did my best to contribute to a positive learning experience.