As part of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business 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, and what they plan to do after the Fall 2020 commencement.
Meet Rachel Luckcuck, a fifth-year student graduating in December with an information technology management concentration.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Irvine, California and then moved and went to high school in Marietta, GA, and while I was in college my family moved again and now lives in San Clemente, California.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
My mom is definitely the reason I wanted to pursue business in college—she’s worked in sales, marketing, and operations roles and has loved all of her jobs for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even learn that it was uncommon for women to hold positions of power in business until I was a teenager. I had no reason to think that there was any glass ceiling when I was watching my mom wear her suit to work every day. My career goal is to be like her; to earn and love challenging roles at companies that touch the lives of millions of people!
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
Georgia Tech had been my dream school throughout high school. Ever since I stepped foot on campus for a tour, I just knew that Georgia Tech was where I wanted to be. I remember being on a tour of Scheller College and being in awe of how confident and happy the students giving me a tour were. I immediately wanted to be like them, and I hoped that if I came here, I’d be one step closer to being as smart and confident as they seemed. Fast-forward four years, and I’m now friends with those students who gave me that tour and have given tours of Scheller alongside them!
What concentration did you pursue and why? How has this helped prepare you for your future?
I pursued a concentration in Information Technology Management (ITM). I remember taking Dr. Florin Niculescu’s introductory ITM class when I was a first-year student and being so happy to finally be learning the basics of how the internet works. It felt amazing to finally understand (or just scratch the surface of understanding) the actual mechanics of the thing that literally drives and powers nearly everything in our lives. That class made me super curious and excited to learn more. In my higher-level ITM courses, I learned that the field of managing information systems is much broader and even more exciting than I had at first anticipated! To name just a few, I learned how to design and build a SQL database in my Database Management class, learned to write Python for data analysis in my Business Programming class, and learned about platform wars, adoption curves, and so many more tech industry terms and trends in emerging technologies. All of these courses not only prepared me for a successful career in IT, but more importantly, they taught me how to be a self-starter and figure out technology and business problems on my own.
Where did you intern/co-op during school?
My first internship was with Procter & Gamble the summer after my second year as a student, and I returned there for a second internship the summer after my third year. I started the second internship one day after returning from a five-month exchange program in Sydney, Australia! The jetlag didn’t bother me at all though because I was so excited to start my internship in the Hair Care category as a Marketing Technologist intern.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be working at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a Marketing Technologist for the Hair Care category (Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Aussie, Old Spice, and more).
Who was your favorite professor (and why)?
Dr. Tatiana Rudchenko is definitely my favorite professor because of her infectious happy attitude. She so clearly cares about her students’ education and well-being. She was my professor for two classes and I would genuinely look forward to class on Fridays for those two semesters because she’d make every single Friday special. She would ask all the students to stand up, shake hands with a new student that we didn’t already know, and tell us to wish each other a “happy Friday!” In addition to how happy and comfortable she made me feel, I really loved what I learned in her classes. I’ve used the quantitative analysis tools and models that I learned from her in some of my other classes and for a capstone project that I did for Siemens. Dr. Rudchenko, thank you for all that you’ve done for me and all of your students!
What was your favorite course?
It’s hard to choose just one. If I had to choose, I think my favorite was Foundations of Strategy with Professor Pian Shu. I learned a lot in that class about how a company’s actions and goals must be in alignment for both the short term and the long term to not only gain a competitive advantage, but to also survive and continue to grow in the long run. What I loved about that class is that Professor Shu encouraged us to apply what we learned about business strategy to our personal lives. Because of that class, I began to view my time as my most valuable resource and I tried to spend it only on activities and tasks that meant the most to me and that I got the most enjoyment out of, that is, were in strategic alignment with my long-term goals. This prioritization of happiness made me a better student and I’m certain it will make me a better businesswoman. I also need to give a special shout-out to my GT 1000 class with Stan Broome—that class was incredibly fun and definitely set me up for success throughout my time at Scheller. GT 1000 taught me that any career goal is possible if you put in the work - a lesson that was continuously taught in all of my classes!
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Looking back on my internships and job searches, I think my very positive experience of being recruited by companies is a great representation of how Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology. It was so easy for me to market my degree, courses, skills, and experiences to just about every company that was recruiting at Georgia Tech and Scheller College. Technology companies were attracted to the soft skills I was learning as a business student and the consumer goods companies that I was particularly drawn to were interested in the technical skills I was learning as an IT concentration and as a student at Georgia Tech at large. The blend of technical and strategic lessons I learned throughout my degree was, in my opinion, perfect—I wouldn’t change a thing about the major, minor, or concentration that I chose.
What activities were you involved with on or off campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
I did a lot in college that I loved and am so grateful for, but I’ll focus on what has been the most significant part of my college career: the Georgia Tech Excel Program, which is a four-year inclusive program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I held several different roles within the program throughout college and helping Excel was very rewarding, but the friendships I made are what I’ll always remember and have for the rest of my life. I think the confidence my business classes gave me helped me be a better advocate for inclusion and respect for my friends in Excel, and simultaneously those same friends taught me lessons in patience and empathy that made me a better business student.
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?
I have Stan Broome’s words of wisdom and inspiration to thank for giving me the confidence to go after my dream company. In his GT 1000 class, as a first-semester first-year student I saw how fun it can be to do an “extracurricular” recruiting event such as the case competition we did in that class. That experience inspired me to apply to Procter & Gamble’s leadership weekend for freshmen that was sent out in Scheller’s weekly career opportunities email. That leadership weekend is what led P&G to invite me to apply to their IT internship, which then led to my second internship, which then led to my full-time job offer with my dream company, working in my dream role. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Stan, Craig, and everyone else in the Undergraduate Office for encouraging and helping me along the way. Also, thank you to Anne, Bob, and John in the T&M office for supporting me as well; it takes a village to secure that dream job, and I definitely had the support of the Scheller village!
Did you participate in any hands-on/experiential learning opportunities? If yes, which projects/companies did you work with and how did you help them?
Yes, and these projects taught me so, so much. For anyone reading who is younger (or not!) I highly recommend seeking out recruiting events, case competitions, “leadership camps”, etc. that companies put on. Not only are these great experiences as interview and case practices, but they are internship and full-time job pipelines. In my second year as a student, myself and two other Scheller College students plus a friend who was an industrial engineering major formed a team and competed in Deloitte’s Undergraduate National Case Competition. We won first place at the Georgia Tech level, which meant we got to move on to the national level. Deloitte flew us out to their corporate resort, “Deloitte University”, in Dallas, Texas. There, we were assigned coaches who helped us compete against other teams from schools across the country. My team had so much fun that year that we applied for and moved on to the national competition again the following year; that time, my team did so well that we all earned interviews and got internship offers!
The final course and culmination of the Denning Technology and Management (T&M) program is a capstone project with one of the companies that sponsors T&M. My team worked with Siemens, who came to us unsure about what their return on investment was for the many trade shows they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on every year. They wanted to know if they should continue paying to participate in trade shows, and if so, which ones to invest in. I used linear optimization models that I learned from Dr. Rudchenko’s quantitative analysis classes to weigh several variables and create a model that predicts an optimal calendar of particular industry trade shows annually. At our final presentation, the Siemens audience said that they would be using the model, which was incredibly rewarding for my team.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?
A phrase that I think about often is, “nothing worth having is easy to get.” This was certainly true for me when it came to getting into Georgia Tech, but wow was all the hard work, studying, and application essay-writing so, so worth it. If you’re truly passionate about coming to Georgia Tech (I know I was), I recommend reading up on our traditions, values, and news about what students and professors are doing. The more informed you are about Georgia Tech and Scheller College, the better you’ll be able to write about how you’ll be a great fit for our community.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
The biggest myth about Scheller College is that studying business at an engineering school doesn’t make sense, but I’ll let the employment and salary statistics speak to that…
Fun fact about yourself:
My biggest strength is that I am great at folding laundry. It is my best skill. I can fold sharp, crisp lines on every t-shirt, towel, pair of pants, and even fitted sheets. The key is to take your time and really commit.
Going on walks with friends, listening to podcasts (my business favorites are NPR’s How I Built This and Planet Money), surfing (poorly) when I’m at home, and buying cups of coffee that I don’t really need from the Starbucks in Scheller.
If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be a....
Teacher (maybe later in my career Scheller will hire me?!)
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
I want to live abroad for a few years (hi P&G, I know you have offices in Geneva) and I want to take my sister to London to see Buckingham Palace (she loves the royal family and all things royalty)!
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
If I helped even just a few people realize that inclusion is cool, that would be the absolute best college legacy possible.