Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business students come to learn, explore, and build community. As they move forward in their careers, they take everything they've learned and use it to power innovation in industries and businesses across the globe. In celebration of Spring 2023 Commencement, we sat down with a few students to learn about their experiences and the wisdom they've gained in the process.
Meet Kelly Pierce, who is graduating from the Evening MBA program.
Where are you from?
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
Lifelong learner, world traveler, arts lover, and people person.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? (A parent? A teacher? A role model?)
My mom has always been a guiding light in my life and someone who I admire. I remember her earning her Executive MBA while I was young. I would do homework (for me this was coloring in my picture book) along with her. She gave me my first business lesson too: “The first rule of economics is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” I always knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA like her, and I’m excited that she will in turn attend my graduation in May!
What was your favorite business course and why?
This is a tough one since I took so many fantastic courses, but I have to say that the Nordics Practicum has been particularly special. I have always loved traveling and hoped to use the MBA to one day find a role with international opportunities. It has been so rewarding getting hands-on experience working on a project for a Swedish company while learning about the unique business climate of the Nordics. The spring break trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen was also an amazing bonding experience with my fellow Evening and Full-time MBAs and the perfect capstone to my three years in the program!
What activities were you involved with on or off campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
I was able to immediately apply what I was learning in the classroom to my work, which was so rewarding. I was even able to organize some events between Georgia Tech Arts (where I was working at the time) and Scheller College of Business.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at Scheller?
Some of my favorite MBA events were the annual Marketing Innovation Conference @ Scheller and the Women’s Day Brunch hosted by a Scheller alumna.
What was your career journey in the Evening MBA program?
I was able to use the MBA to make a vertical move across departments while I was in the program.
What was a moment when you had to practice persistence and/or resilience while in the MBA program?
I think anyone working full-time while pursuing the Scheller Evening MBA must be persistent and show resilience in balancing professional demands with those of the program. There were definitely moments where I did not know how I was going to accomplish everything on my plate, especially with some of the more time-intensive, project-based classes like TI:GER, but focusing on one thing at a time got me through. Hitting these milestones helped me see that we can accomplish more than we ever thought when we are determined and just keep moving forward.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from your Scheller MBA?
The biggest lesson I gained from the Scheller MBA is that what we study in the classroom is important, but it is also just as important to make connections with and learn from our classmates. Also, learning is a lifetime journey. The program really opened my eyes to different areas of business and career paths that I hadn’t considered before. Even though I’m graduating, I’m already thinking about what I want to study next!
What advice would you give to an incoming Evening MBA student?
My advice is to go outside your comfort zone and take courses that maybe you wouldn’t have considered. I heard this advice at the Forté MBA conference right before I started the program, and following it has led me to some of the most rewarding courses, like the TI:GER program.
What will you be doing to celebrate your graduation?
I will be celebrating with my mom and my best friend who will be flying in from Detroit to attend my graduation.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact is that I was an extra in a couple of movies filmed in Atlanta awhile back. I was just interested to see a film being made up close and the whole behind-the-scenes set up. I even made it on screen – though if you blink, you might miss me!
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
My absolute top professional bucket list item is to work internationally, and the other is to serve on the board for an arts organization.