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 Omar Sharif, who is graduating from the Full-time MBA program.
Where are you from?
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
Humorous and humble individual that is a devoted father, compassionate partner, and reliable friend.
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling at Scheller?
I was a Signal Company Commander in the United States Army working at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In this capacity, I managed a satellite communications facility and led 100+ personnel to enable communications support for the Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN) for contingency support and training operations.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
Becoming an Army officer was a huge milestone for me. I never really knew where the path would take me, but I have been immensely grateful for the opportunities it has provided me. I have served alongside the greatest people during this journey in places that I never would have been able to go otherwise.
Why did you choose Scheller?
I was initially interested in Scheller due to the course offerings and opportunities in the program, and it became my number one choice after I was able to get a feel for the program through interactions with recruiting, admissions, and then current students in the program.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge when applying at Scheller?
Reaching out to affinity groups and clubs that I was interested in before applying was helpful. If you are interested in a certain club or student-led organization, this is by and large the best resource for prospective MBA candidates. The MBA Veterans Club at Scheller was very helpful in the admission process on everything from resume prep to being an extra set of eyes for essays.
What community work and leadership roles did you take on at Scheller?
- President, Scheller MBA Veterans Club – I have had the privilege of leading the MBA Veterans Club at Scheller during my second year in the program. This has been a great opportunity for me as I had the opportunity to coordinate events between the Full-time, Evening, and Executive programs for our Veteran community across every branch of service. In this capacity, I have also collaborated on recruiting and social events with companies in Atlanta such as North Highland and EYP as well as with other MBA programs in the area such as the University of Georgia and Emory. Arguably the most exciting event led by the club is our annual sporting clay shooting event that familiarizes all who are interested with shooting fundamentals and is led by the Veterans in the MBA program.
- First-Year Rep for the Scheller MBA Veterans Club – I provided recruitment and administrative support to the MBA Veterans club during my first year. I led the coordination for Veteran recruiting workshops aimed at assisting the Scheller Veteran community in successfully recruiting and preparing for the MBA Veterans Conference and National Black MBA Conference.
- MBA Admissions Ambassador – I connect with students interested in Scheller’s MBA program, sit on informational panels, conduct admissions interviews, and coach students through the process of choosing the MBA program that best suits their interests and goals. I have also been an advocate for Veterans who are transitioning from service and are looking at MBA programs to ensure they are set up for success during the entirety of the process.
- Athletics Committee – During my second year, I served on the athletics committee where I planned and coordinated events such as tailgates for the Georgia Tech football games, Thursday Pi-Mile runs, and intramural sports to increase cohesion and teamwork across the MBA program.
- Peer Mentor – I mentored four first-year students by providing counsel on personal and academic issues, and helped guide and encourage them through academic, job search, and personal roadblocks they encountered.
- Member of Net Impact Club, Managing Tech Club, Strategy & Innovation Club – As a member of each club, I participate in networking events, leadership and professional development programming, and philanthropic efforts.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of from your time at Scheller?
The practicum coursework at Scheller is bar none. In my first year, I was fortunate to work with an energy analytics start-up based in Dubai as part of the International Practicum. I gained a wealth of knowledge in the course and had the opportunity to learn about doing business in the UAE by better understanding the cultural and political climate with our clients abroad. We were able to help formulate their business plan and sharpen their pitch deck for raising capital by conducting an in-depth analysis of competition in the industry both in their product offerings and how they monetized their product and service for launch.
What was your favorite course as an MBA?
Service Operations. Professor Hora is a phenomenal teacher. He is captivating in his lecture style and provides his students an eye-opening way to understand how firms are differentiating services from a product and how to design, deliver, and delight your customer base as more businesses are moving their products to an as-a-service model.
What was your favorite Scheller event or tradition?
My favorite event was the East Lake Scheller Classic. We were able to play a legendary golf course and also meet alumni from Scheller across a wide array of industries in different stages of their professions to learn more about life after the MBA and how it has helped shape their careers.
What is the biggest myth about Georgia Tech Scheller?
The biggest myth is that everyone has a technical or engineering background, and the pivot from the MBA at Scheller will be to work in a supply chain or tech role. I have witnessed the last two years' placement of internships and full-time roles that have spanned across almost every industry working with the newest start-ups to the largest companies and financial firms in the world.
What did you love most about Scheller’s location in the heart of mid-town Atlanta?
Atlanta truly has something for everyone. if you love history, music, sports, the outdoors, or a combination of all of these, then Atlanta almost certainly has it. It helps that Atlanta is one of the most affordable large metro areas to live in and is home to a phenomenal airport, a plethora of dining options, and some of the greatest companies in the world are based here.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be returning to service in the Army as an Acquisition Officer. I will be working in the Washington, D.C. area for Project Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) where I will be serving as an Assistant Product Manager for Space programs in the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I would try to stress less and enjoy the moment. The two years go by way too quickly.
What surprised you the most about business school?
I was most surprised at how well the MBA recruiting, admissions, and student services can take a diverse group of individuals and place them in core groups that work flawlessly together to tackle challenging problems. This is no small feat to consistently get this right.
Which Scheller classmate do you most admire?
There are so many great people in the program, but if I have to choose one it will be Jonathan “JB” Brown. JB has been a phenomenal mentor and friend over the last two years. JB flawlessly achieves his duties as a husband, father to two children, and Army officer all while being a phenomenal teammate and leader in the MBA program.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
My first time skiing was in the Pyrenees mountains in Andorra, a tiny principality between France and Spain.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
I was fortunate to be selected as an Army Acquisitions Officer, and I am excited about my first position where I will work alongside the Intelligence Community on Space programs to develop and deliver capabilities to the tactical force.
In the long term, I hope to make Lieutenant Colonel and be selected as a Product Manager in the IT, Space, or Cyber realm to provide an impact to service members by leveraging the best equipment and capabilities available.