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 2021 commencement.
Meet Alexander Dunaway who is graduating with a concentration in operations and supply chain management and a minor from the Denning Technology & Management (T&M) Program in Engineering & Business.
Where are you from?
Where did you attend high school?
Lakota East High School.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?
The biggest lesson I’ve gained from studying business at Scheller is that your network is everything. Very few people succeed in business completely on their own. A key to my success has been developing relationships with people that want to see me succeed and asking them for help along the way. Often, it’s surprising how much people want to help, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask. A friendly conversation with a professor or an advisor can lead to a professional relationship, and one day that relationship could sprout an opportunity. But without making that initial effort, those opportunities will never have the chance to materialize.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?
Keep an open mind and focus on learning where your interests are. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up following the money, but I’ve found that the times I succeed most are when I find something I am passionate about and look for ways to apply my business skills in that field or industry. If you can find a way to combine your passions and your business degree, you will go far.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Even though I didn’t major in engineering or computer science, I was still exposed to several business applications of technology such as programming in R, complex Excel modeling, and SQL queries. Scheller also gave me the opportunity to minor in engineering and business or computer science and business through the Denning Technology & Management Program. In this program I not only took classes that focused on the intersection of technology and business, but I also worked closely with engineering and computer science majors, which I will likely do in my future career too.
What was your favorite business course?
Information Systems and Digital Transformation.
Who is your favorite professor?
Dr. Michael Smith is my favorite professor at Scheller because he did an incredible job of not just teaching the material but also relating everything to current business practices. I found the practical skills I learned in his class very valuable, and the case studies used helped me see how those skills could be applied to business scenarios.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business at Scheller?
I was most surprised by the range of business knowledge I acquired while at Scheller. At most of the business schools I looked at, students major in one business discipline like finance or marketing and don’t learn much outside of that area. When I came to Scheller, the emphasis on a well-rounded business degree appealed to me. Even still, I have been surprised by how much I’ve learned about topics outside my concentration. I feel like even though I concentrated in operations and supply chain, I could have a knowledgeable conversation with someone from marketing, strategy, or IT.
What are some of your extracurricular activities, community work and leadership roles during college?
I have been involved with the Yellow Jacket Flying club, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and GT1000 team leaders. I have risen to leadership positions in my fraternity, most recently house manager and vice president. Through my fraternity, I have also gotten involved with our partner philanthropy organizations, St. Jude’s and St. Baldrick’s, and participated in their 5K race and shaving events, respectively.
Where have you interned during your college career?
Summer intern and finance intern, Ricondo & Associates.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be working as a consultant for Ricondo & Associates here in Atlanta.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?
I wish I would have done at least one international program. I love to travel but chose to spend my summers working and interning instead of studying abroad. If I could go back, I would make more of an effort to explore different options and find an opportunity to study or work abroad.
Which academic, extra-curricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?
The achievement I am most proud of is graduating from Georgia Tech because it’s not just a personal achievement. So many people have helped me get to this point without asking for anything in return, and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me. When I get my diploma, I hope they feel like they’re walking across the stage too.
Which classmate do you most admire?
The classmate I most admire is Noah Newell. We met during a Dean’s Scholarship event prior to freshman year and have been good friends ever since. In getting to know Noah, I have seen how authentic he is in everything he does. He thinks things through and pursues his goals wholeheartedly no matter how difficult they are, which is something I often struggle to do. He looks out for others but will always give you his honest opinion about things even if he disagrees with you, which is one of the reasons I consider him such a good friend.
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
No one person is responsible for my success, but someone who might not realize how much she has helped me is my older sister, Katie. She’s been a role model for me growing up and she helped show me how to be successful in several aspects of life. I am also a very competitive person, so having her set the bar high academically motivated me to do even better in school. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be where I am without her.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
Retire with enough money to buy a ranch in Wyoming, and get to the point where I have flexible hours.
Fun fact about yourself:
I have been to six continents, and my goal is to touch all seven before I turn 25.