As part of our Countdown to Commencement series, we spent some time with 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 with their degrees after Spring 2018 Commencement.
Meet Evening MBA student Jacqueline Smyth. Jacqueline is from Portland, Oregon, and earned her bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from Boston College. She enjoys traveling, reading, knitting, and learning, and has visited 25 countries—seven of them twice. Jacqueline has worked at McMaster-Carr Supply Company while attending Scheller College, moving from a role as a Business Operations Analyst within the Customer Resolutions and Order Entry department to the Customer Preferences department while enrolled. After graduation, she will be a Senior Marketing Analyst at UPS.
My education at Scheller College has given me the confidence to pivot my career and leap into an analyst position at a Fortune 50 company.
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business for your MBA?
Of all the business schools I applied to, Tech’s students were the most enthusiastic, and both the school and the students I spoke with seemed to genuinely want me there. They were smart, articulate, and personable, and they made Scheller seem like an ideal place for someone without a business background to learn. I have never for a second regretted my decision and have evangelized the school ever since.
Who was your favorite professor?
Professor Michael Oxman. He is enthusiastic about sustainability, he makes the topic accessible, and he is compassionate when speaking to students and our project contacts. He is involved in the school outside of the classroom, and I’ve seen him almost as much at events as I have in the classroom. He’s funny and engaging, and I wish I’d had even more opportunities to learn from him.
What was your favorite course?
The Sustainability Practicum was my first practicum, and it made me fall in love with that style of learning. My biggest insights were how to become a subject matter expert in a short amount of time, reframe the question in business terms, and present actionable findings to a client.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
The opportunities for innovation are innumerable given the College’s location in Tech Square. Scheller College hosts a vast number of innovation and entrepreneurial events and gives MBAs access to some of the coolest technology and ideas possible. We truly reside at the intersection of business and technology.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into the Scheller College Evening MBA program?
Do not be afraid. You may think you do not have the technical or business background to get into Tech, but that is not true. You are your classmates’ best resource, and they are yours. You would not have such a diverse experience at Tech without people from all backgrounds and experiences coming together to learn.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
You need to be technically savvy to be successful at Tech. Which to an extent, it is true; however, if technical skills do not come intuitively to you (as they did not for me), you can ask questions, seek help, and put in the legwork to become proficient in statistics, SQL, and analytics. If I can do it, so can you!
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
My husband. He could tell that I was not satisfied staying the course and slowly moving my way through my existing corporate structure, so he encouraged me to apply to MBA programs.
Did you take advantage of extracurricular activities while at Scheller?
I was the Graduate Evening MBA Students (GEMS) Exec Board VP of Marketing and Communications from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017 and the Chair of Women in Business from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018. I also went to many tailgates, socials, and alumni events throughout my years here. These activities introduced me to many people, taught me how to network, and made me more confident in meeting new people and establishing new relationships.
Did you utilize any of Scheller College’s diversity initiatives?
Women in Business (WIB) has taught me to encourage other women in the workplace. It can be easy to get lost in statistics and freeze in the shadow of a male-dominated environment, but by using resources within WIB and at Scheller, I have felt empowered to support the advancement of women in the business world. More women and underrepresented minorities are moving into leadership positions, and it is exciting to be able to use what I’ve learned to make sure I’m in the right place at the right time.
Did you participate in a practicum course?
Yes, I completed many practicums: Pro Bono Consulting, Sustainability, Supply Chain, and International. I chose each practicum based on the subject matter that interested me most; if I had more time in the program, I would have participated in every single one available. I loved being able to isolate and focus on a problem and provide actionable strategies to client organizations. I also loved getting to know my group members, since the projects involved so much out-of-classroom time and creativity. Scheller College partners with powerhouse companies, so the practicums helped me gain confidence in having candid and sometimes difficult conversations with upper management.
Tell us about one of your practicum projects.
For my Sustainability Practicum, the City of Atlanta wanted to increase participation in their multi-family recycling program. We created a tool to help them identify their best potential apartment complexes and provided a roadmap of how they could encourage owners to participate in the city’s program.
Tell us about your experience in the International Practicum.
I worked with Boeing Brazil in my International Practicum. We created a business case for developing GPS technology specifically for Brazilian aerospace. Scheller gave me the framework to break down an extremely complicated and technical problem and create a recommendation for the client without being scientists or engineers.
I found that working across cultures has its own unique challenges, including different priorities for timelines, expectations for outcomes, and barriers with language. This experience taught me the importance of clear communications regarding deliverables and project scope regardless of the location of your company.
Did you complete any concentrations or immersive tracks?
I completed the Innovating for Sustainability immersive track and an Operations Management concentration. The Innovating for Sustainability Immersive Track has impacted my long-term career goals, as I will seek to support sustainable initiatives in whatever position I hold.
How did the Scheller MBA experience help you advance your career?
I would not be where I am today without Scheller College. My education here has given me the confidence to pivot my career and leap into an analyst position at a Fortune 50 company.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
Stuck in a low-management track and completely unsatisfied with my professional potential.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
1. Visit Easter Island
2. Own an alpaca
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I would want to be remembered as loyal, caring, and considerate, while being ambitious and hard-working.