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 Thomas Landzert, who is graduating from the Full-time MBA program.
Where are you from?
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
Adventurous, ambitious, goal-oriented leader, enthusiastic, competitive, and eager to make a difference.
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling at Scheller?
I was a financial solutions advisor at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
As a business development specialist working at TD Ameritrade, I saw the need to speak to my colleagues about opportunities and issues in my daily job. I formed a national network of business development specialists and we met regularly via teleconference to discuss issues and successes we were experiencing.
As a result of spearheading this initiative, I was invited to TD Ameritrade’s annual gala, where I received the “Better Begins with Me” award. This award recognizes individual contributions to the overall success and goals of the firm. It was a unique experience to network with executive leadership; I was lucky enough to get a selfie with the CEO.
Why did you choose Scheller?
The collaborative learning environment drew me to Georgia Tech’s MBA program. The emphasis placed on interactive discussions, as well as hands-on learning was most appealing to me. I wanted to take advantage of the program’s immersive and experiential learning opportunities that extended beyond the classroom. I felt it was essential to apply the methods learned in the classroom to a real-world experience since my coursework focused on gaining new skills to allow me to pivot careers. I believe Georgia Tech’s comprehensive curriculum is preparing me to make an immediate impact at almost any company, regardless of the size, industry, or product.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge when applying to Scheller?
It’s hard to say because I applied to Georgia Tech during the pandemic. I had to get creative in my virtual recruiting interviews to stand out. I focused on the strengths of Scheller's program and how it tied into my career aspirations. I stressed my desire to take advantage of the program’s immersive and experiential learning opportunities that extended beyond the classroom. As the pandemic accelerated technological advances in the workplace, I became even more convinced the type of MBA experience offered at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business would be invaluable to my professional and personal success. I think these beliefs stood out in my application and interviews.
What community work and leadership roles did you take on at Scheller?
- VP of Student Engagement, Graduate Business Council - I manage six student-led committees that facilitate innovative programming focused on community, leadership, engagement, and professional development. As a director of these committees, I communicate budgets, schedules, events, ideas, and offer support.
- Graduate Research Assistant, Real Estate – I work closely with faculty members of the Real Estate department, assisting with two classes. My duties include facilitating classroom instruction and coordinating the student team representing Georgia Tech in a multi-school commercial real estate-focused case competition.
- Peer Leadership Committee – As a first-year student, I was selected for a leadership position on the committee that focuses on student collaboration and relationship -building to ensure students participate and grow in the program. I helped plan events such as Schell-X, our version of Ted talks.
- MBA Ambassador and Interviewer – I volunteered to be an MBA ambassador, because I enjoy sharing my passion for the program with prospective candidates. As ambassador, I guide prospective candidates through the admissions process by answering questions and giving campus tours so they can make the best decision possible.
- Peer Mentor – This year, I mentored four first-year students offering them support and guidance on academic, professional, and personal matters they may be encountering.
- Leadership Fellow - I was one of a handful of students selected as a Leadership Fellow which allows me to engage with executive leaders, receive mentorship from alums and practice leadership through small collaborative group discussions and activities.
- Memberships: Tech Club, Finance Club, Business Analytics Club, the Entrepreneurship Club - As a member of these clubs, I attend networking events, professional development programming and philanthropic causes.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of from your time at Scheller?
I’m most proud of my team's project work in my Business Analytics Practicum course. The class partnered with The Coca-Cola Company to analyze proprietary European distributor data. Our team analyzed the information and identified that Coke had different pricing strategies for the same product at different store types in specific beverage categories. As a result of uncovering these pricing differentiations, we concluded Coke now had an opportunity to increase market share and gain millions in revenue for these products.
At the end of the semester, Coke was very impressed with our findings and presentation. One of the reasons I came to business school at Scheller was the opportunity to work with large multinational brands. I’m excited that Scheller has given me the experience to translate data into strategic and valuable client insights.
Who was your favorite MBA professor?
Dr. Katie Badura. When I stepped into Dr. Badura’s Leading People and Organizations class, she captured my attention with enthusiasm and engaging content. She does an excellent job blending pop culture, business news, and leadership philosophies into her teaching modality. She structures her class in a way that allows students to explore their leadership style through various lenses and equips them with tools and frameworks to be influential leaders in their post-MBA careers. She’s very approachable and one of the brightest up-and-coming stars of the Scheller faculty.
What was your favorite course as an MBA?
My favorite course was the International Practicum – Several classmates and I had a fantastic opportunity to travel to Dubai over spring break as part of a semester-long elective to study how the UAE uses smart city technology to drive sustainable growth. During the trip, we immersed ourselves in the culture, visited sustainable cities, green energy production facilities, and the Expo 2020 World’s Fair, and met with clients as part of our consulting project. It was enlightening to experience such a different culture and collaborate on international business problems. I was grateful to have had this opportunity because it's not a place I would have traveled to on my own.
What was your favorite Scheller event or tradition?
My favorite event was the “Get to know you Bee,” a game show-style event where students guess fun facts about their classmates and identify them from old pictures. Another classmate and I created the idea and turned it into a wildly entertaining and successful student engagement event that has become part of the Scheller MBA experience. It’s a playful, competitive way to get to know your fellow classmates and their diverse backgrounds.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller?
Georgia Tech is an institution steeped in a tradition of innovation, and this reputation bleeds over into the MBA program. Scheller stays true to these roots by being at the forefront of technology and business education. However, you do not have to have a background in engineering or a technical field to learn and succeed in the MBA program. In fact, the program has a wide range of people with various work backgrounds. This combined with a smaller class size and comprehensive curriculum makes it an innovative learning environment for anyone.
What did you love most about Scheller’s location in the heart of mid-town Atlanta?
Scheller is the focal point of midtown Atlanta, and students have access to popular restaurants, museums, parks, and walking trails. There’s so much to see and experience in this cultural and economic epicenter. Atlanta is a vibrant city with many fortune 500 companies and is quickly becoming a robust technology hub. Whether working with a large corporation on an agile transformation or collaborating with a start-up on a go-to-market strategy, there’s a wealth of opportunities for MBA students to apply what they learned in the classroom to real-world business settings. I appreciate the opportunities Atlanta provides MBA students to learn, grow, and have fun.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2022?
I interned at PwC in their Atlanta office.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be rejoining PwC as a senior associate in the M&A Advisory Group.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I wish I had done a better job journaling my time at Scheller. Time goes by quickly and school is fast-paced, so it’s easy to lose sight of your journey while working toward your goals. There are many experiences, ideas exchanged, new concepts learned, and memories created that I should have been recording. Business school has helped me grow in so many aspects that if I had been more diligent with my writing, I would have a record of these formative years to reflect on.
What surprised you the most about business school?
I came to business school to enhance my technical skill and broaden my understanding of business acumen. Since my career had been focused on markets and investment management, my concern was that my background was not on the same level as my classmates. As it turns out, I was able to contribute a great deal to projects, assignments, and class discussions. I even surprised myself by declaring my concentration in Business Analytics. Scheller’s innovative tech-focused business curriculum has given me the practical knowledge and business tools to make a professional career change.
Which Scheller classmate do you most admire?
I have been consistently impressed with my classmate Georgia Pearce as both a classmate and friend. Georgia's dedication, passion for her studies, and commitment to enriching Scheller’s community is commendable. She is a hands-on leader, volunteers to help prepare students for case interviews, and always strives to make a positive impact. Georgia is a class role model and mentor. I have no doubt that Georgia will continue to be an active alumnus after she graduates. One day I hope to see her on Jeopardy because she’s phenomenal at trivia.
Fun fact about yourself:
As an undergraduate, I interned on Capitol Hill for two members of Congress and a North Carolina Governor.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
After my business career, I wish to become an adjunct faculty member (maybe at Scheller) one day. I enjoy leading, motivating, and inspiring others. The idea of keeping current with younger generations, creating a challenging learning environment, and watching students reach their goals would be very fulfilling.
It would be an honor to hold political office and be a servant for the people in the true capacity of civic duty. As an undergrad, I majored in political science, worked on Capitol Hill, and have always felt compelled to serve the country and try to make a difference.
Whatever the future holds, I hope to be the kind of graduate who will credit Georgia Tech throughout my career.