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 Walker Watson:
Savannah, Georgia, native Walker Watson is completing his undergraduate Business Administration degree with a concentration in Operations & Supply Chain and a minor in Engineering and Business through the Denning Technology & Management (T&M) Program. During his time in the program, he's traveled to 20 European countries while studying abroad at Georgia Tech-Lorraine. After graduation, Walker will be joining Deloitte Consulting as a business technology analyst based out of their Atlanta office.
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and helluva Business major!
I enjoy all things outdoors. In Atlanta, that means running around our beautiful campus at Georgia Tech or on the Beltline. When I am back home in Savannah, I enjoy any chance I can to get out on the water, like paddle boarding or going out in a boat.
Where did you intern/co-op and when? What projects did you work on during your internship?
After my freshman year, I interned in public affairs in Savannah at Kinder Morgan. I worked on community outreach projects for a proposed petroleum pipeline, and after my sophomore year, I interned at a startup in Atlanta called Clutch. I worked on process improvement and as well as delivering cars to our members.
Also, during summer 2017, I interned at Barclays Bank in New York on a technology project management team working to add the ability to trade emerging market currency swaps on their trading systems. The previous summer, I interned at Southwest Airlines in Dallas where I worked on a team of interns on a technology project proposal that we presented to the CIO at the end of the summer. (That summer, I was also able to travel to more than 15 cities across the country with the Southwest flight benefits!)
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
I chose Scheller because I was interested in the “intersection of business and technology.” I loved the environment Scheller has, being a part of Tech Square and being part of a world-class engineering Institution. I can still remember the moment I made the decision that Scheller was for me when I took a tour in high school. I was impressed with the students and faculty I met as well as all of the Scheller-specific resources and career services. I am proud to say that Scheller has exceeded my expectations.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
One of my favorite professors has been Bob Myers who taught my Global Operations course and is the faculty sponsor of the Undergraduate Operations Management Society. He encouraged us to get exposure to real-life supply chain operations, both in and out of the classroom. Because of his guidance, I was able to visit a UPS distribution center, a Kia Motors manufacturing plant and tour the Tech Ops hangar at Delta Air Lines.
What was your favorite course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
My favorite course is one I am currently taking, Strategic Management. I have been able to take the concepts I have learned in all my undergraduate business classes and apply them to real world case discussions. I have learned that the problems companies face are always multidimensional and involve solutions that touch each area of business.
Because of this, I am thankful that Scheller requires students to take introductory classes in each concentration area. This broad exposure provides a strong base for us to tackle the challenges faced by today’s businesses.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Scheller is unique compared to other business schools because of the influence technology has in our education. From its curriculum that requires students to take computer science and IT classes, to the exposure to Tech Square startups and innovation labs, its students have a strong technology base that is increasingly important in today’s business world.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?
Be yourself and don’t feel like you need to have your future completely mapped out. It is great if you already have a plan, but don’t worry if you don’t. Scheller will allow you to explore different areas and find your passion.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
I’ve found the reputation that that our students are the happiest on campus to be true!
What activities were you involved with on or off campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
While at Tech, I have served as the treasurer for my fraternity and the VP of Finance for the Undergraduate Operations Management Society. The accounting classes I took definitely helped me be a better treasurer for my fraternity.
Did you end up working or interning for one of your top choice companies?
I did not come into Georgia Tech with any target companies in mind, however, I will never forget the experience I had working in the airline industry at Southwest. I have been blown away by the opportunities that have presented themselves to me through Tech. It seems that every top company has a presence on our campus and our students cannot go wrong.
Did you travel abroad during your time at Scheller? What were some of your key takeaways from the experience?
I studied abroad during the spring semester of my sophomore year through Georgia Tech-Lorraine. The key takeaways from this experience are definitely the friends I made and the appreciation for the differences and similarities between the cultures in Europe. I was also able to spend my last spring break in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, through the T&M Program. It was an eye-opening experience. We made friends with the Shenzhen University students and the short trip has only made me want to go back to China for a longer period of time.
For T & M students, please provide details about your capstone project:
My T&M capstone was with Acuity Brands in their Smart Light Division. We were tasked to increase the value and sales of the Smart Light products. After conducting industry research and interviewing stakeholders, we developed a two-pronged strategic approach. Our approach incentivized installment of smart lights through increasing the standalone value for contractors and by increasing the breadth of their smart light suite of applications. For contractors, we proposed a re-designed mobile application for the smart light installment process that saved time and made their lives easier. To increase the value of their Smart Light suite of applications, we created a training guide and roadmap for Acuity to host hack-a-thons on their smart light development platform called Atrius.
What was the biggest lesson you learned while taking part in the T & M program?
The biggest lesson I learned during my time in T&M was not to be afraid of technical problems just because I am a business student.
How do you feel a program like T & M will prepare you for life after graduation?
T&M has taught me how to work successfully on cross-functional teams. Whether it was working with mechanical engineering students in ME-2110 or collaborating with computer science and industrial engineering classmates on our Capstone project, we learned to play to our strengths and work as a team to achieve goals. I believe this aspect of teamwork will prove to be beneficial for me after graduation.
Did being part of T & M play a role in what you’ve decided to do after graduation?
Being a part of T&M will definitely play a role in my post-graduation life. I would not have decided to intern on technology teams while at Tech or decided to pursue a full-time career in the technology space had I not been a part of this program. I found my passion through T&M by being exposed to the technical side of business.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be traveling the world.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
To visit all seven continents and to go sky diving.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I want my peers to simply remember me as an encouraging friend.