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An Empathetic Leader Pivoting into New Spaces: Meet Kyra Hankin, Full-time MBA ‘23

To celebrate Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business students, we interviewed a few outstanding Full-time MBA students to learn more about their journey at Scheller. Meet Kyra Hankin.
Kyra Hankin, Full-time MBA ‘23

Kyra Hankin, Full-time MBA ‘23

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 Kyra Hankin, who is graduating from the Full-time MBA program.  

Where are you from? 

Medway, MA 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

Intuitive, empathetic leader, loyal friend, world traveler, and relentless searcher of the perfect crab rangoon. 

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling at Scheller? 

Prior to attending business school, I worked for EF Education First in their International Language Schools division as a senior accountant. I worked alongside school directors to increase operational efficiencies and ensure an enjoyable experience for international exchange students who attended our programs. 

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?  

While working in accounting at EF Education First, I quickly realized that I enjoyed process improvement and understanding why the organization operated the way it did. I took the initiative to reach out to the director of operations for North America for a coffee chat. Our conversation led to a project where I began investigating some of the expense lines within my division. This investigation and learning more about how the organization operated led to the identification of multiple inefficiencies. I began conducting staff trainings and developing new frameworks for operations, resulting in almost $400,000 of savings annually for EF. 

Why did you choose Scheller?  

I chose to go to Scheller because I felt that I had reached a point in my career where I could either continue down the accounting path or pivot. I have always been interested in strategic initiatives and process improvement activities and was ready to pursue that functional area. Business school was the perfect opportunity for me to develop the soft skills needed to grow as a leader as well as gain the knowledge necessary to pivot my career into a new space. 

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge when applying to Scheller?

One thing I did during the application process was connect with current students, alumni, and faculty early on to express my interest. Before submitting my application, I connected with Dave Deiters, associate dean, MBA programs and Jones MBA Career Center, as well as Amy Hayes, the former director of Full-time MBA recruiting.  They both gave me real, tangible advice about what they look for in candidates which allowed me to think about what type of candidate I was, emphasize my strengths, and develop a robust application. 

What community work and leadership roles did you take on at Scheller? 

  • Graduate Research Assistant, MBA Student Services Office: I provide support to the MBA Program Office staff and help them maintain and improve the student experience in the Full-time MBA program at Scheller. I manage the Charge Leadership Development program and have planned activities such as a rope course, escape rooms, and a “Get to Know You” trivia bee to facilitate community and team building. 
  • Social Committee Lead: Being on the MBA social committee has been one of my absolute favorite experiences at Scheller. I joined the committee as a first-year representative and have now become the committee lead. Social committee plans and executes a variety of events throughout the year aimed at fostering connection amongst Full-time MBA students. Some events I have worked on are a karaoke social, holiday party, geography trivia night, and MBA prom. Some of my favorite Scheller memories have come from the connections I have made with my classmates at these socials. 
  • Consulting Club, Vice President of Internal Engagement: As the vice president of internal engagement for the Consulting Club, I am responsible for the case interview preparation curriculum and career readiness activities for club members. 
  • MBA Admissions Ambassador and Prospective Student Interviewer: As an MBA admissions ambassador, I sit on panels and facilitate webinars for prospective students. I share my experience in the MBA program as well as why I chose Scheller. I was also selected to be a student interviewer to provide interview feedback to faculty and field questions from prospective students. 
  • Leadership Fellow: I am one of 15 students selected to be a leadership fellow in the Charge Leadership Program at Scheller. Leadership fellows receive executive mentors, access to C-level speakers, and help facilitate leadership development programming in the MBA program. 
  • Board Fellow: I have been a board fellow for the Historic Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest public park and the final resting place of many of the city’s most noted citizens for the past year. As a board fellow I have worked on projects regarding their funding and how it can be allocated to compete in the event venue space in Atlanta. 
  • Forté Fellow: The Forté Fellows Program recognizes individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership and a commitment to advancing women in business. 
  • Peer Mentor: I am a mentor to three first-year students in the program. I meet with them monthly to provide counseling on any personal or academic issues they may be experiencing as they move through the MBA program. 
  • Hobby Night Host: Peer leadership committee organizes small group outings called hobby nights that are aimed at sharing your hobbies with other students. I have been a host a few times taking classmates rock climbing. I have quite literally shown them the ropes! 
  • Net Impact, Strategy & Innovation Club, Women in Business Club, and Pride Club Member: As an active member of these clubs, I participate in networking events, panels, and professional development programming. 
  • UCLA Case Competition Finalist 

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of from your time at Scheller?  

I am most proud of my current role as the vice president of internal engagement for the Consulting Club and the case interview preparation curriculum I was able to create. The main responsibility of the position I hold is to guide the first-year class through the case interview preparation journey and ensure they are well prepared when it is time to meet with employers.  

This year, we held workshops and small group sessions to ensure the journey was digestible and stress-free for first-year students. I also organized and helped facilitate a mock super day event where students complete two case interviews and a behavioral interview in one sitting to simulate what a real final round interview would be like at companies. This event was a capstone for the case interview curriculum, and I am very proud of how far all of the club members have come. 

Who was your favorite MBA professor? 

Professor Steve Salbu has been my absolute favorite professor in the MBA program so far. He taught our Legal and Ethics core class last year in such a way that made the material incredibly engaging and easy to digest. Professor Salbu used real-life scenarios to foster discussion and created a safe space for the students in the class to share their opinions and debate each topic. 

What was your favorite course as an MBA?

My favorite course in the MBA program so far has been Strategic Management taught by Professor Anne Fuller. The first half of the semester is lecture style while the second half is more hands-on project-based learning. Professor Fuller has an incredibly engaging teaching style and helped make the information very digestible. 

When we transitioned to the project-based portion of the class, Professor Fuller remained very involved and was a great resource and guiding light while we problem solved for our client. My team consulted for Zillow and worked toward answering the question of “What should Zillow do next?”. This project statement gave us the opportunity to get creative and dive into industry trends that would be lucrative 
ventures for Zillow in the future. 

What was your favorite Scheller event or tradition?  

My favorite MBA events at Scheller are the tailgates. Our athletics committee hosts tailgates for all the Georgia Tech football home games in the fall. These tailgates are a great way to de-stress after a long week and get to know our classmates within the Full-time program as well as in the Evening and Executive MBA programs at Scheller, further exemplifying Scheller’s focus on community building and bridging the gap between cohorts. 

What is the biggest myth about Scheller?  

The biggest myth about Scheller is that it is solely focused on technology and engineering. While this is true to an extent, Georgia Tech’s business school also has a great reputation. Scheller is able to take advantage of the heavy focus on technology and leverage that in the classroom to examine the intersection of business and technology. 

What did you love most about Scheller’s location in the heart of mid-town Atlanta? 

Coming from Massachusetts, the first thing I think is: the weather. But what I truly love most about Atlanta is that it is a choose-your-own adventure city. Atlanta has a booming arts scene and restaurants with every type of cuisine you could ever want. You can spend one day hiking along the Chattahoochee River and the next tasting wine at Wolf Mountain Vineyards. Atlanta has everything and then some. 

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? 

I interned at Accenture Strategy as a senior strategy consultant. My role was remote, but I was aligned with the Chicago office which allowed me to connect with colleagues and work on teams based in the Midwest. As there is a main Accenture Strategy Hub in Atlanta, I was also able to go to the office and attend in-person networking events throughout the internship. 

Where will you be working after graduation? 

After having such a positive experience this summer, I will be returning to Accenture as a senior strategy consultant in Atlanta after graduation. 

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? 

Looking back at my experience, if I could do one thing differently, it would be to explore the greater Atlanta area more and build a larger network outside of the program. As the program is truly full-time it is often hard to find time to disconnect and try new things, which is one thing I am excited to venture out and do after graduation! 

What surprised you the most about business school? 

What surprised me most about business school was how I became close friends with so many of my classmates. A huge part of that has to do with Scheller’s class size but also the quality of people they admit to the program. Sure, when I moved down south, I was expecting to make friends, but my classmates now are more than friends to me, they are family. I am so grateful for the community Scheller has built and the genuine connections I have been able to make within the building’s four walls. 

Which Scheller classmate do you most admire? 

I most admire my classmate, Thomas Landzert. He is the epitome of Scheller spirit and is the “be there” guy. No matter what the event is, you can count on Thomas to attend, bring a positive attitude, and provide valuable insights. Thomas is the vice president of student engagement on the Graduate Business Council, so I have been able to work with him very closely through the social committee. Any time we have faced an obstacle on the committee, Thomas is there to help us talk through the options and help make it past the hiccup. Thomas is reliable, a great teammate, a joy to work with, and actively supports the Scheller community every day. 

What is a fun fact about yourself? 

Mamma Mia 1 and 2 are my favorite movies. And, yes, I can sing all the words to every song. 

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 

In the short term, I would love to work on one of Accenture’s clients in the travel space. My entire professional career so far has been in the hospitality industry and it holds a near and dear place to my heart. I would especially love to work on an international client account and mesh my work with my love of travel and exploration! 

Long term, I want to make managing director. During my internship this past summer, my managing director was a huge mentor to me and I would like to be in that position to pay it forward to others in the future. 

Learn more about the Full-time MBA program

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