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Countdown to Commencement: Grace Walton

Following graduation, Grace will remain at Georgia-Pacific in the role of Sourcing Manager, Innovation.

Following graduation, Grace will remain at Georgia-Pacific in the role of Sourcing Manager, Innovation.

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 Grace Walton. Grace is from New Albany, Ohio, and she completed her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Miami University. In her spare time, Grace enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, traveling, watching sports, and exploring Atlanta and its many craft breweries. Prior to the Evening MBA Program, Grace worked at Caraustar as the Manager of Direct Materials; however, as a result of obtaining her MBA, she has become a Sourcing Manager at Georgia-Pacific within their Innovation unit. Following graduation, she will remain at Georgia-Pacific.

The Scheller College experience helped motivate me to consider careers that would leverage both my unique skill set from my previous work experience and the new capabilities I had built in the program.

Why did you choose Scheller College of Business for your MBA?
I chose Scheller College for a number of reasons. First, I was impressed by how flexible the program was in all aspects – from the classes you could take, to how many classes you could take at a time, to what extracurricular experiences were available outside of the classroom. Since I had a technical undergraduate degree, I was also excited about the idea of participating in a business program at a school that is superior in its technical and science-based programs.

Who was your favorite professor?
My favorite professor was Tim Halloran, who teaches a series of marketing courses at Scheller College. In every class I took with him, Professor Halloran did a fantastic job of blending lecture content with cases, projects, and other real-world applications. He was also able to easily relate the topics he was teaching to business applications he had experienced in his marketing career. His teaching method made me want to learn more about marketing and marketing-related careers.

What was your favorite course?
I had a lot of favorite classes, but if I had to pick one, I would say my favorite course at Scheller was Supply Chain Modeling. It was the first elective Operations class I had taken, and I really enjoyed the fact that I could easily see how the topics would apply to many different organizations and roles that I might have in the future. There was a lot of focus on making the content of the class practical, which prompted many of the students in the class to share their work experiences that related to what we were learning. This enhanced everyone’s class experience.

As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology by offering a variety of experiences that allow students to customize their MBA experience for the unique career they aspire to have. As technology continues to infiltrate all businesses regardless of industry, it has become more important than ever to teach business students how to use technology to create efficiencies and maximize their impact. I recall many conversations inside and outside the classroom when my peers would relate our coursework to real-life situations at work—usually involving to technology. Those moments were powerful learning experiences for all of us.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into the Scheller College Evening MBA program?
My biggest piece of advice for applicants is to worry a less about their grades and accolades than about the true reason they want to start the business school journey. When applying to Scheller College, applicants should focus on their goals and why business school will help them accomplish them.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
I have always really enjoyed learning, so I knew that I wanted to get a master’s degree at some point. However, when deciding between business school and a more technical degree, I received a lot of encouragement from professional mentors to pursue the business route. My mentors’ personal experiences with their MBAs as well as my passion for working in business helped guide my decision to get my MBA.

Did you take advantage of extracurricular activities while at Scheller?
My main extracurricular experience while at Scheller College was with Graduate Evening MBA Students (GEMS). I was the co-chair of both the Athletic Club and the Women in Business Club, and I really enjoyed taking on those leadership positions to supplement my classroom experiences. I also participated in various GEMS events throughout my time in the program. The extracurriculars were both a great way to expand my leadership experience and to get to know my Scheller College peers outside of the classroom. My experience attending GEMS events is one of favorite memories during my MBA.

Did you finish concentrations or immersive tracks?
I completed concentrations in Operations Management and Leadership & Collaboration, and I completed an immersive track in Innovating for Sustainability. Since I was an engineering major for my undergraduate degree, many of the business courses I took in the program were new topics for me. The concentrations and immersive tracks allowed me to dive deeper into specific areas of interest that I identified when taking the core courses in the program. The electives I took in those concentrations allowed me connect what I was learning in the classroom to what I was seeing in real-world business settings.

Did you participate in a practicum course?
Yes, I participated in three practicums, including the Sustainable Business Practicum. I chose to participate in this course because I believe that sustainability will be a major focus to organizations in the future. The practicum was a great way to learn about the sustainability problems some businesses are facing, as well as develop innovative solutions using course learnings.

My team worked with Hands On Atlanta to evaluate their earned revenue programs. Our team completed a detailed evaluation of their revenue-earning strategies and spoke with stakeholders who had participated in those strategies, including their partner organizations. We developed ideas for future revenue streams and made recommendations about which ones we thought fit best into Hands On Atlanta’s business model. 

Did you participate in the international practicum during your time at Scheller?
Yes, I participated in Spring 2018 and went to Brazil as part of the Boeing team. I had been looking forward to the International Practicum since I first applied to Scheller College and was very excited to finally participate. I have not had the chance to work globally in my career so far, so I saw the practicum as a very beneficial introduction to the world of international business. I learned many valuable lessons through the experience, including what preparation should be completed when starting to do business in a foreign country, what cultural differences should be considered in international engagements, and how to effectively work with stakeholders who are not in the same location as you.

My team explored Boeing’s potential development of a new technology that would solve a current issue. We conducted an evaluation of the technical issue, spoke with stakeholders who experience the problem, researched the competitive landscape, and made positioning recommendations to justify the resource investment needed to develop the technology. I feel my education at Scheller College prepared me for the International Practicum by arming me with a toolkit of skills to address business problems in all types of organizations—including those in other countries.

How did the Scheller MBA experience help you advance your career?
The Scheller College MBA experience opened my eyes to many careers in business that I had never considered. I interacted with my peers in the program, Career Services, and faculty members, who all have a wealth of knowledge about different career paths and companies. The Scheller College experience helped motivate me to consider careers that would leverage both my unique skill set from my previous work experience and the new capabilities I had built in the program.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
Maneuvering the world of business in a much less connected or fulfilling manner.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I would like my peers to remember me as a reliable and trustworthy leader with whom they had fun and memorable experiences.

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