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Learning and Leading: Meet Cornelius Cook, Poet&Quants 2020 Best & Brightest EMBA

Cornelius Cook’s eagerness to learn and share his own knowledge has landed him on Poets&Quants 2020 Best & Brightest EMBA list.
Cornelius Cook, a current Georgia Tech Scheller College Executive MBA student, has been named a Poets&Quants 2020 Best & Brightest EMBA.

Cornelius Cook, a current Georgia Tech Scheller College Executive MBA student, has been named a Poets&Quants 2020 Best & Brightest EMBA.

The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) program is made up of a collaborative community of experienced professionals who learn from and with each other. For Cornelius Cook, Scheller’s EMBA program is a perfect fit. Cook’s industry experience, hardworking attitude, and ability to be a great teammate have all aided him in being named one of Poets&Quants 2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs.

Cook is the chief credit officer and senior vice president of American Commerce Bank, N.A., and his insight into financial markets has simulated great class discussions, especially around the impact of Covid-19. One of the aspects Cook enjoys most about the program is the open discussion during class.

“One of the most valuable components of the Executive MBA program is that you are surrounded by individuals who are, by and large, mid-to-senior-level management professionals with a significant amount of experience in their respective industries. During class discussion, you are afforded the opportunity to hear various perspectives on a wide array of topics, and each opinion is a chance to learn something new,” said Cook.

Having worked in commercial banking for his entire professional career, Cook had one clear goal, which was to become the chief credit officer of a financial institution. That goal became a reality in 2019 when he was promoted to the role of chief credit officer at American Commerce Bank.

“I take great pride in my role, as it comes with a significant amount of responsibility in that its primary function is to ensure the healthy growth of the bank’s assets. To properly perform in this role, one must possess technical quantitative skills and qualitative skills required to deal with external parties, effectively combining the two,” said Cook.

Cook has been able to rely on one of the biggest lessons he’s learned so far during the EMBA program: how to effectively manage a team. Following his promotion, Cook became the manager for three different departments: Special assets, loan operations, and credit administration. He originally approached the role as manager with a very specific style and the expectation that his staff should adjust to that style. After taking a cross-cultural communications class his first semester, his outlook changed.

“After taking Cross-Cultural Communications, which focused on the different communication styles most effective for different situations, I learned that it is more effective to communicate with your staff in a style that individually motivates,” said Cook. “Learning that has not only made me a better manager, but also increased engagement in my staff, and consequently, productivity.”

Cook’s long-term professional goal is to work in a business strategy capacity for a Fortune 500 company before becoming a chief operations officer at a firm and then opening his own company with a business partner.

“When I was younger, I recognized how hard-working and influential business executives were in my town and in most communities. Ever since then, I have wanted to go to business school to count myself among them one day.”

Learn more about Georgia Tech Scheller’s Executive MBA Program.

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