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Countdown to Commencement: Adam Zenker

As Portfolio Coordinator, Adam will continue to his work at Anthem’s Innovation Studio after graduation.

As Portfolio Coordinator, Adam will continue to his work at Anthem’s Innovation Studio after graduation.

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 Adam Zenker from Godfrey, Illinois. Adam describes himself as a healthcare innovator who welcomes the challenge of transforming an analog industry into a digital world. He received his BS in Business Administration from University of Missouri – Columbia and went on to work at Cerner Corporation as a Solution Architect, specializing in post-acute care markets. In the summer of 2017, Adam interned at Anthem’s Innovation Studio, located in Tech Square. He was introduced to this company during a MBA tour the first week of the program, during which he felt an instant connection to the Studio’s mission and the passionate employees. As Portfolio Coordinator, Adam will continue to his work at Anthem’s Innovation Studio after graduation.

In his spare time, Adam plays hockey and is involved in multiple philanthropy projects, including serving as the Student Executive Leader for the MBA program’s Pro Bono Consulting Practicum. The course partners student teams with non-profit organizations in Atlanta to solve key strategic challenges. Adam’s job was to manage the client relationships and source impactful projects for both the clients and students. He also participated in Scheller College MBA’s monthly clean-up of a local park located in the Old 4th Ward district of Atlanta and the Scheller College Day of Service.

The Sustainable Business Practicum was absolutely amazing – truly “one of a kind.” In this 16-week course, we learned hypothesis-driven consulting methodologies while working with major corporations to solve a strategic problem.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
I am most proud of being asked to serve as a Student Admissions Interviewer. Being a part of the process that hand picks the future leaders of the program was an honor. Our admissions committee fully integrates student interviewer input into the process to ensure our character continues from year to year. In my humble opinion, we have one of the best cultures of any MBA program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I am most proud of leading the creation of a behavioral health service line for my former organization. I was able to form lasting relationships with clients, co-workers, and industry leaders that challenged me on a daily basis. Throughout this project, I learned the value of consumer voice and buy-in. I was at the center of many competing opinions, and the project’s success relied on selecting which of those to integrate into the final product. It transformed me as a professional, and I use these learnings in all my projects today.  

Who was your favorite MBA professor?
Professor Charles Mulford. He took a subject I believe most MBAs choose to “check the box” (accounting) and made it insightful as well as practical. His elective course taught us how to analyze a company’s cash flows to detect potential fraud and early warning signs for investors. I don’t think I’ll ever forget to follow the cash again!

What was your favorite MBA Course?
Sustainable Business Practicum. I think I am still digesting everything I learned from this course in 16 weeks. We learned hypothesis-driven consulting methodologies while working with major corporations to solve a strategic problem. My team worked with Autodesk on a carbon pricing system. We were able to leverage Georgia Tech’s extensive network of researchers, as well our partnered consulting coach from Accenture, to recommend a well-planned solution.

The biggest insight I gained from this course was the importance of integrating company culture into final recommendations. We worked with this client 100% virtually, and it became evident after presenting our initial recommendations that we had not considered their corporate ethos. Luckily, we had a great project sponsor that helped steer us in the right direction before the final presentation.

Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
I chose Scheller College because of the technology ecosystem built around the campus and curriculum. The first time I visited campus, I looked up as I walked into the beautiful Midtown building. I counted six buildings with major brand logos shining back at me and seven skyscrapers towering over the skyline. I’d never been on a campus quite like it. As I ate lunch with current students and admissions staff, I quickly learned about all of the technology opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavors happening around us. I knew I wanted a school with these opportunities, and I knew I wanted to be at the center of it.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller’s MBA program?
Be authentic 100% of the time! Do your research on and off campus to be informed, but never model your behavior off a checklist.

What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
“Everyone is an engineer.” Myth busted. We have a very diverse set of professional backgrounds in our program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?
I admire all of my classmates for very different reasons. The classmates that stand out to me the most have to be moms, dads, and soon-to-be parents. I’ve done a pretty good job taking care of myself over the last 2 years, but I can’t imagine taking care of someone else during this journey. Kudos to all of you!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
My parents definitely helped influence my decision to pursue business in college. As a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. To be honest, the top two fields I wanted to pursue were journalism and culinary arts. Both still continue to be side passions of mine. However, I am very thankful may parents helped identify my strengths in business. 

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
Pursuing my passions in healthcare, albeit at a much slower pace.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?
1. Cook my way through an entire cookbook. I’m currently working on 101 Asian Recipes You Need to Cook Before You Die
2. Go skydiving

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