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 Andre Aponte, who is graduating with a concentration in finance.
Where are you from?
Where did you attend high school?
Brookwood High School
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?
You are a Swiss army knife. Every entity in the world needs finance personnel, which makes career opportunities limitless. There are so many different routes you can take, and it can lead you to work on something you are really interested in and care about.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?
I would discuss the wide array of career paths they can choose from. Additionally, I would emphasize the additional insights you gain studying business—like the importance of being a good person to be around. You learn that all things in business require a team of people to work together, so it is important that you are somebody that people want to be around.
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 because you are seeing how fast technology is changing the business landscape. Not only do you walk by innovative software firms like NCR on your way to class, but we have guest speakers we can talk to from these firms that have revolutionized the way tech is used in business. Scheller is one of the very few schools in the nation that has all these firms in their backyard. Additionally, Scheller has awesome features like the Trading Floor, which shows how Scheller integrates tech into our curriculum and provides us with an idea of what it is like inside these modern firms.
What was your favorite business course?
My favorite course was “Entrepreneurial Finance,” because it was taught by a current CEO of a venture capital firm, so we learned from somebody who has skin in the game. Additionally, the class is project-based and we conduct real-life activities for our own “startup,” meaning we have to go out and interview our customers on what their pain points are, develop models, and more.
Who is your favorite professor?
Blake Patton. He is the professor of the course mentioned above.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business at Scheller?
How much I was going to grow professionally. I thought I was just going to learn how to do a discounted cash flow (DCF), but really, I came out with so much more. Scheller provided me with great networking opportunities, great professors, and a class that taught me so much about how to develop my professional brand. The connections I’ve made, the things I’ve learned, and career development skills I’ve acquired are much more than I expected I was going to get coming in.
What were some of your extracurricular activities, community work and leadership roles during college?
Intramurals, senior analyst of the Investments Committee, INROADS Scholar, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, and fitness attendant at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC). Upon graduation, I will be a mentor in an entrepreneurship club and finance class at my old middle school.
Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of getting into Georgia Tech! I had a lifelong goal to come to Tech, and when I did not get in, I considered it my biggest failure. However, I attended one year at another institution, where I made sure to take the right classes and make high grades so I could be accepted here. With perseverance, I was accepted into Tech and was able to make a significant jump in my career path that got me to where I am today.
Where have you interned during your college career?
I interned with Arch Insurance where I worked as a credit analyst.
Where will you be working after graduation?
Right down the street at NCR!
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?
Talk to my professors about their real-life work experiences. I tend to forget that my professors held high positions in finance prior to their work at Tech, so I wish I had asked them about their experiences more to guide me and help me decide what I wanted to do with my finance degree.
Which classmate do you most admire?
Stephen Pipes, because every single day he is always smiling and happy, regardless of circumstances (bad grades, late group meetings, etc.)
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
I would most like to thank my dad because he pushed me all my life to work hard to succeed and to always follow the golden rule. I don’t think I would be where I am today without him. He set a great example for me growing up, and I saw firsthand how hard he worked to be successful.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
First, I want to speak at an event. Public speaking has always been an area of growth for me, so I want to get to the point in my career where I can master this skill and share my story to educate others. A close second on my bucket list would be to become a mentor. After becoming an expert in my field, I would love to give back to Tech and the Atlanta community and take somebody under my wing and help them network and develop their professional skills.