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 Spring 2022 commencement.
Meet Abigail Dees, who is graduating with a concentration in finance and a certificate in accounting.
Where are you from?
Kennesaw, Georgia (born and raised Georgia Peach!)
Where did you attend high school?
Kennesaw Mountain High School, go Mustangs!
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?
Business is much more about relationships, leadership, and people than complicated financial models or equations. While those things are crucial to studying and understanding markets and the realm of business and finance, the study of business doesn’t end but begins once an answer to an equation is achieved.
For example, being able to calculate a metric such as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) means little if you cannot explain the implications behind that number. Business is all about being able to understand and most importantly communicate the story the financials are telling, and what the implications are for a single business unit to the global economy.
Business is the perfect marriage of teamwork, communication, analytics, and creativity. Leadership is bestowed upon those who prioritize the people they represent, put in the most work to achieve organizational goals, communicate and build relationships effectively, and place great value on diversity of opinion and background.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?
My advice would be to go for it! The business world is full of opportunities to pursue things you are passionate about. Scheller gives you the tools to be successful wherever your career takes you.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Scheller embodies the intersection of business and technology in many ways, but our curriculum and location make a business degree from Tech stand out from the rest.
On top of being required to take courses like computer science and information technology management, every business course is intentionally fused with technological applications as well as introductions to new and exciting ways to implement programs or technologies. Specifically, I have seen a push towards increased integration, with many of my courses now requiring students to work and learn in the Bloomberg Terminal, a software that is crucial for any career in finance or accounting.
Scheller’s Trading Floor further exposes students to real life scenarios as well as access to the most up- to-date financial information available. Being in Tech Square, students have exposure to venture capital organizations, such as Tech Square Ventures, that promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology as soon as they arrive their freshman year.
What was your favorite business course?
My favorite business course was “Advanced Financial Modeling.” I learned how to run and understand bespoke financial models that I ended up using for my summer internship in investment banking. This course really helped me perfect my excel skills, utilize macros in excel, and practice my financial writing skills, in addition to the modeling work. I believe the exposure to complicated financial vehicles and financial jargon the course provided allowed me to stand out among other interns and ultimately receive a full-time job offer one year before graduation.
Who is your favorite professor?
Dr. Jacqueline Garner is my favorite professor and one of my biggest inspirations. Because of Dr. Garner’s hard work and accomplishments and many women like her, so many doors have been opened for women like me to pursue competitive and previously male-dominated fields and professions.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business at Scheller?
I was most surprised by how supportive and hands-on the students, faculty, and alumni are in ensuring every student has the opportunity to achieve their professional goals. Every Scheller alum I have reached out to has not only responded to me but has gone above and beyond to assist me in any way possible, provide career advice, and even meet me in person.
My peers at Scheller have pushed me and motivated me to be the very best I can be and proved that Georgia Tech breeds success. I am forever grateful to the Tech community for being extraordinarily welcoming and for instilling traits such as confidence and perseverance that will follow me well after my career is over.
What were some of your extracurricular activities, community work and leadership roles during college?
Throughout my time at Georgia Tech, I was a student athlete and “Rookie of the Year” for the Georgia Tech Cheerleading program. I was involved in the business school through Scheller Business Ambassadors and Accel, an organization that aims to prepare students for careers in financial services and prioritizes maintaining and building meaningful connections with Tech alumni. I was also involved in Greek life and ran a philanthropy event to support women’s heart health.
Outside of my Georgia Tech involvement, I worked two different part-time jobs at Anthropologie and Delbar Inman Park. I also had the opportunity to study abroad with the Oxford Program and was selected to attend the 2020 Goldman Sachs Women’s Leadership Camp in Salt Lake City.
Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of?
The achievement I am most proud of is receiving my internship and full-time offer from Goldman Sachs Investment Banking.
Where have you interned during your college career?
During my college career I had the opportunity to intern as a seasonal client associate for Merrill Lynch GCIAS, a sophomore financial analyst intern for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, and an investment banking summer analyst for Goldman Sachs. Each one of these experiences was unique, unforgettable, and pivotal to my professional and personal successes, and I am incredibly grateful to all the professional mentors I gained along the way.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I am thrilled to be joining Goldman Sachs in New York City as an investment banking analyst/financial engineer in July.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?
If I could do one thing differently, I would get involved at Scheller sooner! As a student athlete during my freshman and sophomore years, it was hard for me to get involved right away as my schedule did not leave much room for free time. One of my biggest takeaways from my college experience is the importance of networking and the truly unique camaraderie that Scheller has provided. The students, staff, and professors at Scheller accept everyone with open arms, and I wish I could have met and formed these lifelong friendships and professional relationships sooner.
Which classmate do you most admire?
It is hard to choose just one, but my greatest mentor would have to be Jason Quill, a 2020 Scheller graduate. Jason is the definition of hardworking, and he is passionate about educating and empowering other students to pursue their professional and personal goals.
When I was going through the investment banking recruiting process, Jason was the person who pushed me to be my best, whether through encouragement, grilling me on technical interview questions, or celebrating the little successes along the way. Students like Jason make Scheller a truly unique, successful, and inspiring place.
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
I have been more than blessed throughout my four years in Scheller, and I would like to thank God for surrounding me with the people and resources to achieve my personal and professional dreams. I’d like to thank my dad for instilling in me the belief that with hard work and confidence, I can achieve anything, my mom for demonstrating what a powerful force a woman can be, and my brother for reminding me that perfect is not just impossible, but it’s pretty boring anyways. Thank you to my friends, my boyfriend, my fellow students and teammates, my professors and coaches, my coworkers and professional mentors, and most importantly the Scheller community for constantly inspiring and motivating me to be the best I can be.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
Stepping into the professional world can be a bit frightening, but I have learned to embrace the uncertainty, excitement, and adventure my career will take me on. While I don’t know where my career will lead me or have any concrete bucket list items, I do have two main goals to guide me.
My first goal is to encourage, inspire, and provide the means for women to pursue careers in financial services. My freshman year, I attended a seminar from an executive at a large bank who informed us that at that time, the financial services industry was 93% male. While I do not know what that statistic is today, I am inspired to expose more young women to opportunities in finance as well as education. I believe that the female perspective is crucial and valuable, especially in the realm of finance and banking, and I plan to work towards this throughout my career.
My second goal is to give back to the communities and organizations that built me, as well as the cities of Atlanta and Kennesaw. I would love to work with Kennesaw Mountain High School to integrate personal finance into their core curriculum as well as providing more courses to students interested in business at a young age. I also would like to increase exposure to other career paths that do not require a college education, and hopefully arm students with the resources to be financially stable throughout their lives.
I hope to one day give back to Georgia Tech and all the programs and organizations I was involved in these past four years. I would love to work with the school to further integrate Tech with the people in the Atlanta community through mentorship programs with elementary, middle, and high school students located inside the perimeter. I want to provide kids living steps away from campus who might not have the resources, guidance, or monetary means to go to college with the opportunity to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I was in the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2019, and I got to meet Adam Levine!