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 Lyle Hoge who is graduating with a concentration in strategy & innovation with a double minor in leadership studies and global development.
Where are you from?
Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
Where did you attend high school?
Norcross High School.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to work with a team to solve real business problems and communicate solutions. In my strategy classes specifically, we were challenged to analyze problems companies in Atlanta were facing. Several were mock consulting cases for two local nonprofits. As a student passionate about social impact, I was excited to work with my peers to find solutions that would improve our community. Dr. Anne Fuller once described strategy as the pie crust holding the other units of business (marketing, operations, finance, etc.) together, and I was able to understand this principle through working on these projects. My Scheller education also showed me how every person’s unique skillset can bring value to a project, and how collaboration and discussion will always lead to greater success.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?
You can never overemphasize the importance of building a strong network. Boldly reach out to people, meet with them, and maintain the relationships you create. Keep a note of who you meet, what they do, and your personal connection to them. Along with this, stay curious. When you meet people, ask them meaningful questions, and actively listen to their responses. Hearing about what someone else does will help you better understand your own professional desires and may even open doors for you. Also, always be genuine. People want to know the real you!
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
The Scheller College of Business provides students with a mix of soft skills, business knowledge, and exposure to the technical savvy of an engineering school. Scheller offers several technology and business programs and incorporates technical classes such as computer science and quantitative analysis into the core business curriculum. In my Technology Strategy class, I was able to learn about the intersection of business and technology more directly. We read cases on tech companies such as Qualcomm, Tesla, Amazon, and Arm and analyzed technical innovation from a business lens. While this class counted towards my strategy & innovation concentration, students from engineering disciplines enrolled in the class as well. By working on group projects together, we were able to see how technical expertise and business knowledge put together can lead to a better understanding of problems and more meaningful, realistic solutions.
What was your favorite business course?
My favorite business course was also my first business course, Legal Aspects of Business, with Professor Karie Davis-Nozemack.
Who is your favorite professor?
Professor Dori Pap. Dori was my professor during the Leadership for Social Good Study Abroad Program in Eastern Europe, which was a highlight of my college years. Dori cares deeply about her students and about improving our world. I was constantly engaged in Dori’s small classroom in Budapest. She challenged me to think critically about problems and develop empathy for others. From discussing the political climate of Eastern Europe to helping me get two different internships with nonprofits to sitting on the phone only a few weeks ago discussing my post-graduation plans, Dori has been an incredible educator, role model, and mentor to me for the past few years.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business at Scheller?
I was surprised to find the intersection of my personal passions with my business education. Coming to Scheller, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do, so I chose business because it seemed like a practical degree. I am passionate about serving others and building strong communities, and at first, I didn’t see how that could relate to a business education. During my time in Scheller, I have found countless ways my passion for service and opportunities in business overlap.
Through Scheller’s Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI), I was given the opportunity to serve as a social impact fellow at the local nonprofit organization Hands On Atlanta. During my time with Hands On Atlanta, I saw how my business skills, specifically financial acumen, can be used to support volunteerism in Atlanta. This past summer, I worked as a corporate social responsibility intern at Keysight Technologies, where I saw my personal passion for improving communities and my business skills intersect in the technology sector. Majoring in business at Scheller has taught me that service does not only have to be a hobby, but it can also be a career. The best corporations are in the business of serving others.
What are some of your extracurricular activities, community work and leadership roles during college:
Teaching assistant, vice president, events chair, and peer coach, the Excel Program; emcee at weekly meetings, Campus Outreach; room leader, Summer Leadership Program; Scheller business ambassador; Problem Discovery Track, 1st place team, Ideas 2 Serve Competition; assistant philanthropy chair, Phi Mu; recruitment counselor, Collegiate Panhellenic Counsel; family relations committee member, For The Kids; Freshman Student Government Association.
Where have you interned during your college career?
Corporate social responsibility intern, Keysight Technologies; development intern, Hands On Atlanta; strategy intern, Atlanta UPS International; funding & strategic planning intern, Platform for Neurodiversity.
Where will you be working after graduation?
Energy, sustainability, and infrastructure consultant at Guidehouse.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?
Looking back, I wish I would have built personal relationships with more of my professors. As time has passed, I have realized how smart, experienced, and resourceful Scheller’s faculty members are. I wish I could have taken more classes with many professors from my early years in Scheller. If I could, I would ask them more questions in class and would have visited them during office hours more regularly. I used to think I only needed to communicate with professors if I needed help with something, but our professors are some of the wisest people I will ever meet. I wish I would have spent more time learning about their professional and personal experiences and absorbing the wisdom they had to offer beyond what was being taught in their classroom.
Which academic, extra-curricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?
Of all the personal, extracurricular, and academic milestones I’ve reached, I have found the most fulfillment through the time I’ve spent working with the Excel Program. Excel is a post-secondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are many moments when I felt immensely proud of students and the role I played in their growth, but the time I felt proudest was during my time as a peer coach. Coaches work one-on-one with Excel students to help them advance their personal and social development goals. One moment that comes to mind is when I was tasked with helping a student learn to ask a girl on a date.
Having never asked someone on a date myself, this felt like a near impossible task. We practiced the steps to asking someone on a date many times: start a conversation, find a common interest, pop the question, etc. Eventually, the student found the confidence and courage to ask a girl on a date, and she said yes! While this may seem like a silly accomplishment to be proud of, it was a pivotal moment in my life. I realized how fulfilling it is to help someone accomplish something they can be proud of too. Since then, I’ve seen Excel students continue to break barriers and make the impossible possible. The Excel students I have had the pleasure of knowing over the past few years are some of the funniest, strongest, kindest people I’ve met at Georgia Tech, and I am so proud to be their friend.
Which classmate do you most admire?
I really admire Sarah Beth Parker. Sarah Beth is attentive and intentional. I became close with Sarah Beth during the Leadership for Social Good Study Abroad program. I learned so much about what it means to be a servant leader by spending time with her and observing how she treats others. In the classroom, she clearly values what she is learning and consistently engages in class discussions and learning activities. Outside of the classroom, she cares deeply about the people around her.
One memory of Sarah Beth that sticks out to me happened last fall. I was going through a difficult time and without saying anything to Sarah Beth, she noticed something was off and asked how she could support me. She is the type of person who makes you feel safe. After listening to and considering my situation, she pulled out a reading from professor Bob Thomas’ Servant Leadership class called “Everyday Courage” and gave me a quick synopsis of the article. She then told me something along the lines of, “I’m so proud of you, Lyle. You made a hard choice, but you did it. You showed courage today.” In this moment, Sarah Beth made me feel valued, supported, and encouraged, and I know she has done this for countless other people too. This is also the only time I’ve seen someone apply classroom material to a personal situation, and Sarah Beth did it seamlessly.
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
Tori Granelli. My friendship with Tori blossomed in room 404 of Matheson Hall. Tori was the best freshman roommate and is now my best friend. From keeping me from failing Calculus my freshman year with her free late-night tutoring, reading me prayers when I was stressed, writing me a letter to open almost every day of my study abroad program, giving me the most comforting hugs every time she sees me, and introducing me to the most incredible community of people, I could not thank Tori enough for her support. Tori – you are the greatest person I know. Thank you for loving me well.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
I would like to serve on the board of a nonprofit or church with a mission and vision I believe in, and I want to have a personal impact on people I am leading one day. I want them to know I care about them as individuals, and I want to inspire them to not just be the best for themselves, but to use their talents, skills, and platform to uplift and support others.
What are your hobbies?
Exploring the outdoors, being a fun aunt to my two nieces, reading books and listening to podcasts on Christian theology, and finding good deals on Facebook marketplace.