As part of Scheller’s Countdown to Commencement series, we interviewed a few soon-to-be graduates from our Undergraduate program to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College, and what they plan to do after the Fall 2020 commencement.
Meet Barrett Kulik, a fifth-year student graduating in December with a finance concentration.
Where are you from?
I’m from Marietta, GA
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
My biggest influence is my dad. When I started college, he emphasized several times to me that I should find my passion and pursue it as relentlessly as possible. He taught me that to understand business, you must understand people first. He also showed me how broad a business degree was and that almost everything is a business. From large corporations like The Coca-Cola Company to non-profits and even individuals-they are a form of business!
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
I chose Scheller because of the commitment to excellence required of each student. Every student’s goal is to push themselves beyond their limits and I thought placing myself in that type of environment would be best for my development in college. We also have a community unlike any other. The students and faculty act as one team plus having advisors who know my name, goals, and involvements means a lot to me.
What concentration did you pursue and why? How has this helped prepare you for your future?
I chose to pursue a Finance concentration since I thought finance could be applied to any business big or small and my personal life as well. I liked the idea of having a quantitative skillset as well as the background to apply that analysis to several different area of business.
Where did you intern/co-op during school?
Coca-Cola, TM Capital, and SVB Leerink.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be returning to work at SVB Leerink as an Investment Banking Analyst in their biotechnology/biopharma division in Boston.
Who was your favorite professor (and why)?
My favorite professor was Dr. Jacqueline Garner or Peter Simasek. Each of them taught me my core courses in finance and had a huge influence on my understanding of the field. Both emphasized the learning and understanding of the concepts and were always willing to spend extra time going over lessons or explaining ideas until I understood what I was learning. They both applied lessons and ideas to the real world. They want their students to understand how what we are learning in the classroom translates outside of the classroom.
What was your favorite course?
My favorite course was Management of Financial Institutions with Peter Simasek. Learning how banks function and how things like interest rates affect the economy was critical to my understanding of finance and the financial industry. The biggest insight I gained was just how crucial financial institutions are to the economy and how the Fed can impact the economy with just a press conference.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Scheller embodies business and technology because technology is at the core of all the business concepts we learn. From core classes like IT where Excel and SQL are taught for weeks at a time or finance electives like Managing a Hedge Fund where most of our work was done using a Bloomberg Terminal, technology is fused into our problem-solving skills.
What activities were you involved with on or off-campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
I took the opportunity to get involved on campus as a way of giving back to the community as well as gaining more hands-on experience outside the classroom. I was heavily involved with my fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta and it gave me the springboard to get more involved on campus with organizations such as the GTSF Investments Committee, TEDxGeorgiaTech, Scheller Business Ambassadors, Financial Management Association, Interfraternity Council, Omicron Delta Kappa, Accel, Leading Edge, and the SGA Undergraduate Judiciary Cabinet. I think the Scheller education was influential in helping me get involved in these extracurricular activities because I was able to take some of the skills and concepts I learned in the classroom and apply them to my outside activities. Scheller encourages getting involved on campus to make sure your education is not limited to just the classroom. The skills and relationships I developed in the classroom and outside of it paid dividends in the job search and I am sure will go on to help me throughout my career.
How did the Scheller College undergraduate career education program assist you with your job efforts? Did you end up working or interning for one of your top choice companies?
The Scheller undergrad office has always been extremely helpful whenever I have needed help in the job search process. From fine-tuning my resume to helping write emails to professionals, whenever I have reached out for help, I have always been met with an enthusiastic response. My goal was to work in healthcare finance, so interning and working full time at SVB Leerink was a dream outcome since I will get exposure to all areas of healthcare, but especially biotech/biopharma which is a rapidly growing and innovative industry! I owe a lot of the credit to Stan Broome, Michael Dutchner, and the Undergraduate Programming Office team.
What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?
My best advice is to get involved and find a passion in your high school or college (if you are hoping to transfer). Scheller is built on the passion of its students and that is what makes it a special environment. Find a passion and pursue it as much as possible. That passion will then shine through in your application and interactions with others.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
I think the biggest myth about Scheller is that the students are very similar or that “business is all the same.” When you talk to students in Scheller, you quickly begin to realize that we all have different passions and interest within or related to business. Scheller has a diverse population of students that will go on to make huge impacts in many different areas of the business world.
Fun fact about yourself:
Before coming to college, I had never traveled outside the country in my life. Thanks to the Oxford Study Abroad Program as well as other experiences, I have been to 15 different countries throughout my college career!
Golf, music, reading, and exploring new Italian and Mexican restaurants around the metro Altana area.
If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be a....
I would be studying behavioral economics somewhere since I’m fascinated by how people make/process their decisions.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
Start/Found my own leadership development organization for high school/college students and play a round of golf at Augusta National.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
As someone with a passion for people who worked to make sure I left things better than I found them for others.