Sisters Liz Fettes and Christine Bartle can proudly add “Yellow Jackets” to the list of things they have in common. Both are now graduates of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) program, with Christine graduating with the recent 2021 cohort.
While it may be easy associate siblings with rivalry and competition, for Liz and Christine, their familial bonds and upbringing have kept propelling them forward, together. Christine mentions that they were empowered by their parents throughout their time growing up in southern Florida. “They always told us, ‘Go all the way, do as much as you want, and don’t let anything stop you.’” It’s no wonder, then, that the self-described “best friends” both eventually decided to pursue an EMBA. What’s more exciting is that each found her way to Tech, at her own pace.
For Liz, Georgia Tech pride already ran deep. As a former Tech All-ACC softball player, Liz already had a connection to the university and was eager to continue her learning journey after graduating with her bachelor’s degree. “Coming out of undergrad, I knew that Georgia Tech sets you up for success and that next level in your career. The amount of respect you get from being a Georgia Tech alumnus in the Atlanta area is so large, and there are a lot of opportunities. There is just that next level of acceleration and drive that I think Georgia Tech places in you because of how high the standards are. It made perfect sense to pursue my EMBA there next,” said Liz. Her experience didn’t disappoint, with its strong community, wonderful alumni network, and unmatchable faculty, staff, and administration. Liz found that the program was “set up to encourage students to challenge the norm and innovate,” inspiring her to stay bold at the beginning of her career.
A pivotal point of her time in the EMBA program included a global immersion experience. Part of the reason it was so special was because she was lucky enough to bring Christine along with her. Not only was this a great chance for family bonding, it also gave Christine a memorable introduction to Scheller and the EMBA program. Christine recalled, “I was fortunate enough that I actually went on the trip to Argentina with Liz. I was amazed at the coordinated effort of educational and cultural resources that were planned for that trip. You could really tell that it was meant to be a curriculum that allows students to learn but then still experience the culture of where they are traveling. I was very inspired to be a part of that.”
Liz graduated in 2008. Using what she learned in her EMBA to propel her career forward, she presently works as the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for Premier Worldwide Marketing. Meanwhile, her sister Christine saw first-hand how impactful the program had been for her sister’s growth, especially as the years went on. The 2020 pandemic left Christine thinking that perhaps the timing was right for her to go have her own Georgia Tech experience. Liz noted, “This is the funny part. Christine quarantined with my parents, and they would always get my Georgia Tech alumni magazines. Over the course of time, Christine would read them. It caused her to see all this information about Georgia Tech. Every single magazine featured alumni doing great things, like starting companies that are going to change the world.” Inspired by the stories she read, as well as first-hand testimonials from Liz, Christine applied for the EMBA program and began classes in the fall of 2020.
“With the Scheller EMBA program, it’s not just about learning the curriculum. It’s about utilizing the resources that are available to make that move or make that leap into what you want in your professional life.” Christine was able to use what she was learning in the classroom and apply those skills to her work as Director of Enterprise Healthcare Solutions at CVS Health. Additionally, her class formed unbreakable bonds and inspired her to keep learning. “The program gives you the ability to keep growing and be in a community where you can get to know more people. It is a very diverse and inclusive space which makes it easier to transition into a really accelerated learning environment.”
So, what’s it like to have two EMBAs in the family now? “To me, it’s such a family thing. I look up to my sister, so it gives me a sense of family pride,” mentioned Christine. Liz noted that “the fact that we both studied at Georgia Tech continues to push us. It’s a great commonality to have and creates an unbreakable bond.”
Given their shared passion for “wanting to break the mold and lift each other up,” perhaps it’s no surprise that the next step for these ambitious sisters is a shared initiative: a sustainable beauty business they are co-founding in early 2022. “It’s really exciting to take our personal relationship and develop a professional one as well. We think differently. We work differently. We focus on different areas of the business. I think since day one my sister has tried to boss me around, but now it’s justified! What is attractive to us is how you build a better world for tomorrow by engaging people with what they are doing today, in a different way. That is something that Georgia Tech taught us to think about.”