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 the Fall 2023 Commencement, we sat down with a few students to learn about their experiences and the wisdom they've gained in the process.
Meet Nikhila Alavala, who is graduating with a concentration in Information Technology Management.
Where are you from?
Where did you attend high school?
Lambert High School
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
My dad influenced me most to pursue business in college. He knew I would succeed in any industry and found an education in business most applicable to any role.
Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?
I chose the Scheller College of Business because Scheller provides more than just a degree in business and shapes students into well-rounded individuals. Our curriculum allows students to be exposed to many different fields within business and prioritizes student's time and money by allowing them to start their business education as a freshman. I appreciated Scheller's emphasis on experiential education as well. I knew the Georgia Tech name would impress recruiters and that Scheller would provide the experience to back up the name. Scheller graduates have a competitive advantage in the job market because of the unique emphasis on technology that Scheller offers.
What concentration did you pursue and why?
I decided to pursue a concentration in Information Technology Management. I was constantly drawn to data-related projects during my first rotation at Delta Air Lines. After taking MGT 2210, I wanted to take on more data-related projects, especially since I acquired the skills. In my second rotation at Delta Air Lines, I was able to take on such projects and realized I could provide a lot of value to the organization with the work I was doing.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?
Do your research, be authentic, and want it. I believe anyone can achieve their goals if they put their mind to it. Getting into Scheller is a considerable feat, but it is possible if you show your passion and genuine self in your application. Make sure you know why you want to be here as well.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
The biggest myth about Scheller is that our classes are easy. Our courses are intellectually stimulating and designed to guarantee students' success and learning. The way our classes are created, I can focus more on learning and applying course materials.
As a business student in the heart of Tech Square, how do you think Scheller College embodies the intersection of business and technology?
Scheller embodies the intersection of business and technology by providing a technical lens to all our fields of study. Even when learning traditional subjects like accounting and finance, we learn with modern applications such as applying make-or-buy analyses for computer software. Especially in Midtown, we have so many tech companies at our doorstep that expose our students to opportunities. Classes like Project Management and Business Analytics provide our students with a clear understanding of future job requirements and prepare them for a similar internship.
What was your favorite course, and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
My favorite class was Advanced Python Programming, which I took during my exchange program at Bocconi University in Milan. In this class, I had three different professors. I learned very applicable topics like creating interfaces in Python, running SQL queries from Python, writing to and modifying a database, and building predictive models. I loved learning these concepts from people of different backgrounds. My leading professor was Italian and could speak deeply about the differences between Italian and American professions. The most significant insight I gained from that class was that there is so much capability with computing, and I can unlock that power by being persistent and creative in my approach.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
My favorite professor at Georgia Tech was Tim Martin, who taught MGT 3501, Introduction to Supply Chain. I learned how many facets of the business supply chain touch everything, from project ideation and evaluation to inventory management. Professor Martin also went above and beyond to give his students tips on being better learners. These helpful tips transformed how I pushed myself to study and learn, which I still practice today.
What activities were you involved with on or off campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
I was a Scheller Business Ambassador, a computer science teaching assistant for the Introduction to Python class, and a Georgia Tech Solar Racing Club team member. The Solar Racing Club works on building and racing solar-powered cars from scratch. I'm on the strategy sub-team, which helps devise a strategy to win the race. My business background had a significant impact on all my extracurricular involvements. I was the only business major out of the 28 computer science teaching assistants and the only business major out of 35 members in the Student Competition Center (SCC), which hosts seven student engineering competition teams. I displayed effective communication, project management, and presentation skills acquired at Scheller in these situations.
Where did you intern/co-op during school?
I co-opted at Delta Air Lines for three semesters and interned at Walmart.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I will be getting my Master's in Analytics at Georgia Tech and will graduate from the program in December 2024.
Did you end up working or interning for one of your top choice companies?
I worked at Delta Air Lines. I saw the job in one of the weekly emails from the career advisors in the Undergraduate Program.
Who would you like to thank most for your success?
I want to thank my parents most for my success. They supported me every step of the way, never made me feel like I wasn't enough, and pushed me to be my best self. I'm so grateful to have them in my life. My greatest goal is to make them proud.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
My last name is a palindrome (the same thing spelled backward)!
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to bake (vegan baking is extra fun!), hike with my family, and travel. I try to pick up tidbits of the local language when I travel, and I love learning about different cultures.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
Two things on my bucket list are scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and seeing Japan in cherry blossom season. Both are very expensive endeavors!