As part of Scheller’s Countdown to Commencement series, we interviewed a few soon-to-be graduates from our undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. programs to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College, and what they plan to do after Spring 2019 Commencement.
Meet Meredith Wolpert:
Meredith, a Boston native, is finishing up her business administration with a concentration in information technology management and a certificate in business analytics. She describes herself as a “vibrant, ambitious go-getter who loves a good podcast and long-life chats over coffee.” She was recently selected from students nationwide as one of Poets & Quants 2019 "Best and Brightest Undergraduate Business Students.” She is a Dean’s Scholar and recipient of the Bergmark Family Merit Scholarship, as well as the 2019 recipient of the Love Family Foundation Scholarship.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be joining LinkedIn in July 2019 in their Chicago office. I’m excited to be an incoming associate in their Business Leadership Program, which is a rigorous rotational program designed to facilitate the transformation of early-career talent into future business leaders. I discovered this program after initiating a handful of discussions with industry experts at LinkedIn. A few phone calls later, I was fortunate enough to have one of LinkedIn’s team members become my mentor throughout the whole process. On top of that, the career services team and professors at Scheller gave me all of the tools necessary to achieve this dream of mine!
Where have you interned while at Scheller?
I interned at Red Bull in Atlanta as a Regional Marketing and Sales Intern and at PwC in Chicago and Amsterdam as a Management Consulting intern. The internship at PwC was very exclusive as I was one of 15 interns out of 4,000 applicants for their International Program.
What is your favorite business course?
My favorite course has been Introduction to Strategy with Professor Pian Shu. Unlike any other course I’ve taken, Introduction to Strategy was purely built on case studies, group discussions, and team projects. This class took my original way of thinking about business issues and completely flipped it on its head. The biggest takeaway was learning that there’s rarely one right answer to solve a complex business issue. Instead, this class has helped me develop an appetite for taking risks and taught me to appreciate the beauty in uncertainty when it comes to decision making. Also, I also gained insight into how important it is to not only study the successes of a company, but also their shortcomings. While before, I focused solely on company’s success stories, I now see the value in failure and the lessons learned from it.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
One of my all-time favorite professors is Michael Lowe. I was fortunate enough to have him for Principles of Marketing. At Scheller College, everyone knows him as a professor who makes learning fun. He motivates his students with his contagious enthusiasm while incorporating honest feedback to consistently improve the course. After spending just one semester in his class, Lowe became more than just a professor to me; he developed into one of my personal mentors and role models.
In my opinion, Lowe’s greatest quality is how much he cares about his students both inside the classroom and out. When I received news that I made it to the final round for an internship at Red Bull, I was ecstatic, but quite nervous as I never worked on a marketing case interview before. So, I reached out to him for some advice. It was a Friday afternoon, and Professor Lowe sat down with me for hours helping me map out different solutions and practice my case presentation. (I should point out that Professor Lowe has a wife and four young kids, but that didn’t stop him from going the extra mile during his personal time to help one of his students.) He has created such a positive impact on the Scheller community, and I am forever grateful for all of the lessons — both inside the classroom and out — that he has taught me!
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
Ever since I visited Georgia Tech for the first time, I’ve realized that Scheller College of Business is like no other. The unique focus on technology, overall breadth of the curriculum, and endless career development opportunities here truly make Scheller an unparalleled business program.
From the start, as someone interested in entrepreneurship and innovation, I loved how Scheller found a niche for itself at the intersection of business and technology. Scheller is the first of its kind as it is a business school focused on educating students in cutting-edge technology. As a result, the classroom is sculpted into a uniquely engaging, challenging, and innovative environment.
Second, I loved that Scheller is a four-year business program that takes an interdisciplinary approach to education. Each student is required to take an introduction course in every concentration to gain a breadth of experience in all areas. In addition, students are encouraged to take classes outside of their comfort zone to complement their degree. It’s very common to see Scheller students pursuing multiple certificates, minors, and double majors.
Lastly, Scheller College is extremely unique as it focuses on career development from the first second you walk through the door. The faculty and professors go above and beyond in helping undergraduates explore, prepare, and begin a career of their choosing. For example, Scheller has two classes – GT1000 and Career Development – purely dedicated to helping students develop important career building skills such as learning how to network, polishing resumes, and perfecting case interviews. In addition, Scheller College is perfectly positioned in Tech Square where startup incubators and Fortune 500 companies (such as Delta Air Lines, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, AT&T, etc.) are headquartered right outside its doors. As a result, many students have the opportunity to take classes while working part-time for an internship or a co-op nearby.
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 understands that for students to compete in the 21st century job market, technology must be at the forefront of their business degree. As a result, the curriculum is designed so that technology is seamlessly intertwined into every business course, no matter the subject or level. Whether it’s studying machine learning or building a robot from scratch, Scheller students are fully equipped to view and solve real-world business issues through a technological lens.
Further, the Scheller community embodies a true growth mindset. Scheller students have an itch to create the unimaginable, explore the unknown, and develop the “next best thing.” We never settle for the status quo, but rather utilize our business and technology expertise to push boundaries and surpass expectations. Technology is not just one part of our program, rather it’s in the fabric of this school.
What did you enjoy most about Scheller College?
The tight-knit community here at Scheller College is truly something special. I love how there’s a common theme of students working hard to achieve their dreams, but also celebrating their classmates’ successes as well. It’s rare to find such a supportive, uplifting environment at this high-caliber of a program. Throughout the past four years, the Scheller community has always been there for me through my highest of highs and lowest of lows. The people here are always the first I want to share good news with, and they’re the ones who help pick me back up when I need it the most. Scheller truly feels like a family within the greater Georgia Tech community. I feel lucky to call this place my “home away from home.”
Also, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Oxford Study Abroad Program during the summer of 2016. This intense 12-week program consists of taking 12 credit hours of coursework while traveling to 27 cities across continental Europe and attending the University of Oxford’s Worcester College. This experience challenged me to grow into an incredibly independent, resourceful, and adaptive individual. After traveling to a different city every few days, I became comfortable with immersing myself in different cultures and I learned the value of keeping an open mind.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?
Business is all about relationships. Whether you’re in investment banking or a creative agency, at the end of the day, we’re all just in the business of working with people. So, interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, and relationship building are key to becoming a well-rounded, successful business professional. Also, while it’s pivotal to make these strong relationships, it’s even more important to maintain them. Throughout my time here, I’ve learned that your most important asset is your network. But, it’s even more crucial to know how to grow and leverage it.
Secondly, I’ve learned that technology plays into all aspects of business as we move forward in a global environment. Scheller College is uniquely positioned at the intersection of business and technology. I feel fortunate to have been immersed in a curriculum designed so that technology is seamlessly intertwined into every business course, no matter the subject or level. Whether it’s studying machine learning or building a robot from scratch, Scheller students are fully equipped to view and solve real-world business issues through a technological lens. Further, the Scheller community embodies a true growth mindset. Scheller students have an itch to create the unimaginable, explore the unknown, and develop the “next best thing.” We never settle for the status quo, but rather utilize our business and technology expertise to push boundaries and surpass expectations. Technology is not just one part of our program, rather it’s in the fabric of this college.
What concentration did you pursue and why? How did this help prepare you for your future?
I’m studying Information Technology Management (ITM) and complementing it with a certificate in Data Analytics. As a future business leader in the 21st century, I wanted to gain a technical skillset that would equip me to tackle complex business problems with innovative technology. Looking back, the ITM and Data Analytics courses have not only taught me advanced technical skills that have made me an invaluable asset during my internships, but they have taught me how to be a creative problem solver who thrives in a fast-paced environment.
Did you travel abroad during your time at Scheller? What were some of your key takeaways from the experience?
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Oxford Study Abroad Program during the summer of 2016. This intense 12-week program consists of taking 12 credit hours of coursework while traveling to 27 cities across continental Europe and attending University of Oxford’s Worcester College.
This experience challenged me to grow into an incredibly independent, resourceful, and adaptive individual who is now always up for a new challenge. After traveling to a different city every few days, I became comfortable with immersing myself in different cultures and I learned the value of keeping an open mind.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?
I would advise the student to keep an open mind! In my opinion, the beauty of a business degree is just how flexible and transferrable it is. You can go into almost any industry you’re interested in and quickly become an invaluable asset to any organization you’re a part of. A business degree will open more doors than you can imagine, so I’d encourage you to be open to every opportunity that comes your way.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? (and why?)
I was surprised by how applicable my business knowledge is in other facets of my life! Whether the business topics surface in an interdisciplinary class, while listening to the news, or even having a conversation with a stranger, my foundation in business has helped me better relate to individuals and think critically. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a case study in class where the same company/topic is in a podcast I’m listening to or mentioned in an interview a few days later. Being knowledgeable about a business-related topic and able to contribute solid points in these scenarios is very rewarding!
What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?
Be open-minded to every opportunity that comes your way, and never think twice about trying something new. I’m a big proponent of the idea that true growth only occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. So, in a nutshell, my advice would be: don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
In my experience, when I came to Georgia Tech back in 2015, I noticed there was a buzz around data science. Even though I was never good at math or science in high school, I decided to give it a try. More than 13 classes and a certificate later, I can confidently say studying Information Technology and Data Analytics was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. While some aspects were certainly challenging, having a data analytics background has made me an invaluable asset during my internships and has opened my eyes to what I’m capable of accomplishing. But, I would have never realized this if I didn’t step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College and how was it the same or different than what you experienced?
In high school, I always thought that when you get to college you’re completely on your own. Looking back, I can now confidently say that Scheller College has proven this belief to be completely false. There are a myriad of individuals here—from your peers, professors, faculty, and everyone in between— dedicated to helping you succeed and seeing you grow. I feel fortunate to be a part of a community that inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone while supporting you in every way possible. Contrary to my initial belief, Scheller College takes pride in helping each and every student maximize their potential both inside the classroom and out.
Did you utilize any of Scheller College’s diversity initiatives? How did they help you during your time at the College? (Women in Business, Excel Program, Blacks in Business, Veteran programs, LGBTQ, etc.)
Yes, I was involved with the Society of Women in Business (SWiB). I had the opportunity to serve as vice president, project manager of membership, and project manager of corporate relations. I found it very inspiring to play an active role in empowering young women to reach their fullest potential. More so, SWiB helped me develop the professional skills, leadership experience, and confidence I needed to be successful in college. Lastly, having a diverse support network of strong, successful women at Georgia Tech proved to be immensely helpful during my time here. I could depend on the other members for professional advice, personal mentorship, and strong relationships that will last a lifetime.
Extracurricular activities, community work, and leadership roles during college:
I was extremely active on campus and in the community. I was proudly the first female President of the Scheller College of Business Ambassadors, Project Manager for Dean Scholarship Events, and held numerous positions for the Society of Women in Business including Vice President of Project Management, Membership Project Manager, and Corporate and Alumni Relations Project Manager. I was a member of the DanceTech Performing Company, Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, and on the Freshman Activities Board.
“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…
If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying… Psychology! I love understanding what makes people tick. I find it fascinating to explore the how’s and why’s behind an individual’s behaviors, perspectives, and habits. The few psychology courses I’ve taken in college have proven to be immensely helpful and eye-opening as they’ve taught me just how complex the human mind can be.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
Karen Apuzzo-Langton, my high school business professor and personal mentor, inspired me to pursue business in college. As an enthusiastic and passionate marketing professional who wasn’t afraid to challenge her students, Ms. Apuzzo-Langton sparked my initial curiosity in business. From there, whether it was working on projects, completing homework, or studying for a test, I found any and all of the topics relatable and enjoyable to learn about. While I took almost every business class she had to offer, I was hungry for more. So, following in Ms. Apuzzo-Langton’s footsteps, I decided to pursue a business degree in college and have never looked back.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? (and why?)
I’m honored to have become the first female president of Scheller Business Ambassadors (SBA). As a nervous prospective student visiting Georgia Tech for the first time and feeling out of place, the Scheller Business Ambassadors immediately made me feel at home. Since then, I’ve always felt the need to give back to the organization that gave me so much. After stepping through the doors of the Scheller College my first day, I knew I wanted to get involved. Over the past four years, I’ve been able to serve as a general member, peer mentor, project manager, and, finally, president.
During my presidency, I was responsible for leading a team of six vice presidents, six project managers, and a group of over 65 ambassadors. I’m so proud to have been able to serve an organization filled with some of the most inspiring, driven, and impressive individuals I know. This experience taught me more about myself as a leader, team member, and friend than I could have ever imagined.
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
Without a doubt, I would like to thank my parents. They are some of the most selfless, giving, and supportive people I know. They’ve taught me what it means to be a hard worker and have given me all of the tools necessary to chase after my dreams. I’m so grateful for all of the values they’ve instilled in me and for all of the encouragement they’ve given me along the way. I will never truly be able to express my sincere appreciation for everything that they do.
Fun fact about yourself:
I say “Rabbit, rabbit!” after waking up on the first day of each month. In fourth grade, my teacher said this will ensure good luck for the rest of the month, and I haven’t missed one yet!
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
- To live and work abroad one day.
- To own a golden retriever!