“The Type A friend who loves new foods and bringing hype on a tennis court.”
Fun fact about yourself: During high school, I competed in a Formula 1 in Schools competition which was sponsored by and emulated F1 racing. Our team had the opportunity to compete against global teams in Singapore, where we met famous F1 commentator David Croft (“Crofty”) and Chase Carey, the chairman of the Formula One Group.
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
High School: Wheeler High School
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Strategy and Innovation
Favorite Business Course: Corporate Strategy with Professor Jonathan Giuliano
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Raena W. & Joseph W. Evans Dean’s Scholarship recipient
- Zell Miller Scholarship recipient
- Faculty Honors each semester
- Undergraduate Consulting Club (2019 – 2020): Pro Bono Project Lead
- GT Investments Committee (2019 – 2021): Senior Analyst
- Georgia Tech Club Tennis (2019 – present): Men’s Captain (Fall 2020 – Spring 2022)
- Scheller Business Ambassadors (2020 – present): Student Ambassador
- Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors (2022 – present): Student Ambassador
- GT 1000 (2020 – 2022): Team Leader
- Georgia Tech Interfraternity Council (2022): Vice President of Finance
- Scheller Advisory Board (2021 – 2022): Undergraduate Student Representative
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Partners Marketing Group (Atlanta, GA): Digital Marketing Intern
- One Page Thinking (Atlanta, GA): Business Director
- Porsche Cars North America (Atlanta, GA): Corporate Strategy Intern
- PGIM Real Estate (Remote): Real Estate Intern
- McKinsey & Company (Atlanta, GA): Business Analyst Intern
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be joining McKinsey & Company as a business analyst.
Who is your favorite business professor? My favorite business professor is Dr. Jacqueline Garner. From taking Financial Modeling with Dr. Garner, I can confirm that she is the perfect combination of engaging, entertaining, and challenging. She fully expects maximum effort from students, but is extremely methodical and considerate in the way she teaches material. I feel as if I learn new concepts and remain engaged in every class with her. Furthermore, by serving on the Undergraduate Committee, I have been able to see how dedicated she is to bettering Scheller’s Finance curriculum.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? To be a successful executive, you must understand several fields and concentrations. If you are solely versed in finance or marketing, you will fail as a business leader because you struggle to see the value in comprehensive strategies or have the ability to work with diverse teams. Studying business, particularly strategy and innovation, at Scheller gave me significant exposure to case studies and working on cross-functional teams which are both necessary to be an effective problem-solver.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Invest in people and professors. An effective business school is determined by the students and professors within it, specifically their passion and commitment to future generations of business students. If the community within it is experienced and dedicated to continued improvement, it is a great place to be and invest in. Often times, business can become about titles, brand names, and accolades, whether it is in a corporate or university setting. Yet, as a student, you will derive value in a place that is willing to invest in you and where you can truly grow. Whether it is deciding on a school, a particular course, or an internship, my advice would be to go where you feel you will learn and build meaningful relationships, not where the name sounds the best.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Unlike many technical degrees, business contains many soft skills and a comprehensive understanding of several business concentrations that can only be achieved through experience. Simply learning content and taking a series of exams does little for retention because in business, there is rarely a formula for how to apply something.
I had assumed that college would include learning about various concentrations before applying them at my full-time job. Yet, I realized that applying business acumen is about knowing how to respond to different situations and implement concepts, a skill I developed through challenging internships and my upper-level business courses.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I have loved my experience in college, have learned more than I could have imagined, and have had the chance to mentor many students. However, I wish I had used my business knowledge to contribute more to Atlanta organizations. There are many young charity organizations or community non-profits that struggle to grow because they lack the knowledge or connections to expand. There is a club on campus called Consult Your Community, which offers pro-bono work to local businesses. I think I would have enjoyed being active in this club and furthering my involvement, particularly with charity organizations and non-profits. I’ve realized that while it is essential to personally grow in school, it is just as important to find ways to give back to the community around us to better it for future generations.
What business leader do you admire most? Yvon Chouinard is the founder of the Patagonia company and a well-known environmentalist. His values are embedded in all of his work and are an example of true corporate commitment to biodiversity and sustainable development. I am thoroughly invested in corporate sustainability and the impact it can have on our future. His model has been willing to give up short-term financial gains to be a pioneer in pushing climate action and healthy consumer behavior.
Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? In the fall of my senior year, I was given an opportunity to give a speech to all of Scheller’s Dean’s Scholars, a few esteemed alumni, along with Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Scheller. This was extremely unique and daunting for me for multiple reasons. In the past, I had become accustomed to formal and informal presentations, but rarely did I give formal speeches that had to convey significant meaning in only a few minutes. Furthermore, receiving this opportunity felt like a recognition of my hard work, passion, and effort. It was an honor to be in this position and speak about defining one’s own version of success in a way that could benefit my peers as well.
Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire the most is George Goodfellow. My good friend George just graduated from the Scheller College of Business in December 2022, but he remains a close peer and friend of mine. Although I only met George about six months ago, he has taught me an immense amount regarding industries I am unfamiliar with, has inspired me to push myself in my final semesters, and is someone I know will support me down the road. He is not only highly intelligent, but he is curious about learning from anyone, seeks out new relationships and connections, and is eager to pass those learnings/connections on to his peers. I value many of George’s characteristics and aspire to have the same openness as him.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank Craig Womack. Since before I even began at Georgia Tech, Mr. Womack has been essential to my growth and the opportunities I have had. He played a large role in my decision to come to Scheller and has been willing to give me development opportunities that have given me the confidence to be who I am today. However, Mr. Womack is unique because despite his many responsibilities, his utmost priority has always been individually helping students with professional and personal growth. I am immensely grateful for all he has done for me and the future alumni of the Scheller College of Business.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Become an influential venture capitalist in sustainability and the future of mobility.
- Give back to education, including to Scheller and to developing future generations of students in less privileged communities by creating a foundation that funds and provides relevant, hands-on opportunities.
What are your hobbies? My hobbies include tennis, outdoor activities, cooking and mixology, and Formula 1 Racing.
What made Arul such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?
“Inside and outside of class, Arul exemplified the best qualities of Georgia Tech students: diligent, intelligent, creative, curious, collaborative, and kind. He was always well-prepared for class. He was well-liked by other students and respected by faculty and administrators. In class, he was a quick learner, an effective communicator, and an insightful contributor. His presentations were consistently excellent. Outside of class, Arul represented and served the Georgia Tech community as a student ambassador, captain of the tennis club, and senior analyst on the investment committee of the Georgia Tech Student Foundation. He has made a meaningful impact during his years as a student here.”
Professor of the Practice, Strategy and Innovation
Academic Lead, CDL-Atlanta
Executive Director and Academic Director, TI:GER®
Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business
Reprinted from Poets&Quants 2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Arul Gupta, Georgia Tech (Scheller)