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 Maggie Joyce, who is graduating from the Full-time MBA program.
Where are you from?
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
Servant leader, Outlook Queen, staunch proponent of the power of diversity and power naps.
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling at Scheller?
Prior to my MBA, I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as an associate in their Strategic Innovation Group. My team focused on cybersecurity, specifically cloud and automation. I served as a project manager/scrum master for a development team that was automating workflows for analysts in a Cybersecurity Operations Center (CSOC) for a federal client. While I enjoyed developing my project management skills, being a scrum master made me realize I really wanted to be a product manager, which ultimately drove my application to business school.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I’m most proud of creating a working environment within my team at Booz Allen that fostered collaboration, candor, and diversity of thought. The older I get, the more I realize how critical it is to get culture right – both at the macro and micro level. As a scrum master, my role was to empower the team to be maximally effective. I think that requires empowering people to feel comfortable sharing what they actually think (in a respectful way) and autonomously take initiative where they see value.
Through our sprint retrospectives and backlog grooming sessions, I created spaces where everyone’s opinions were not only heard but actively solicited, encouraging honesty and constructive feedback – even disagreement! We produced higher quality work as a team thanks to our ability to evaluate and refine ideas objectively with the safe spaces and trust I helped build within the team.
Why did you choose Scheller?
I was attracted to Scheller because of its focus on the intersection of business and technology because in my mind, for the most part, in today’s world you really can’t separate the two. I think to be a competent future business leader requires, at a minimum, a conceptual understanding of a variety of technologies, how they may or may not be useful to your business and how to capitalize on them, and the ability to analyze and predict how they will change the ever-evolving business landscape. I wanted to attend a business school that gave me the tools to do so, and Scheller met that bill!
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge when applying at Scheller?
Generally speaking, I think the best thing you can do is be yourself and make sure your personality and values come through. At 80 students per class, Scheller is a small program, so it’s important to be a culture fit for the school. I sought to be quite open and comfortable in my own skin in both my essays and my interviews. I had a close family member read and give feedback on my essays to make sure they reflected who I am and what I’m about!
I also think having a clear idea of what I wanted to get out of business school was valuable, and while that definitely changed during my time at Scheller (and we encourage folks to adapt as they experience and realize new things) it’s helpful to have a professional direction going into the MBA given how overwhelming recruiting can be.
What community work and leadership roles did you take on at Scheller?
- Scheller College Dean's Prize for Full-time MBA Student Excellence – I was selected by my peers for this award which is given to one Full-time MBA student who has demonstrated exceptional integrity, academic merit, leadership and service involvement with Scheller College and/or the Atlanta community.
- Forte Fellow – The Forte Fellows Program recognizes emerging female leaders in MBA programs around the world. I’m one of several Forte fellows at Scheller and together we encourage more women to apply to MBA programs and support them in their application journey to ultimately bolster female representation in business.
- Peer Leadership Committee Lead – In conjunction with my wonderfully thoughtful partners, Randee Comstock and Courtney Felinski, I lead our Peer Leadership Committee (PLC), whose mission is to foster connections within our class. I also served as our first-year representative last year because I truly love our mission and because PLC’s activities are among my favorite at Scheller. We pair first-year MBAs with second-year mentors, host “Schell-X,” our version of TED-talks about students’ experiences and passions, and facilitate hobby nights, where classmates get to share their hobbies and get to know each other better in small group settings.
- Tech Club President – Tech Club’s mission is to explore the intersection between business and technology, help members develop their knowledge of the tech industry, and connect with the tech community. This year our leadership team (shout out to my VPs – Stacy Feeling, Leo Haigh, and Sydney Ballish) has focused on increasing support for club members as they prepare for interviews, expanding engagement with our alumni, and partnering with other clubs and committees to collaborate on events. In addition to holding multiple resume review sessions, we’ve begun formalizing product management casing, partnered with our Career Services team to begin an Atlanta Tech Trek, and expanded our mentorship program, which pairs members with alumni, two-fold.
- Peer Mentor – I mentored three first-year MBAs to welcome them into our program and offered support as they adjust to MBA coursework, prepare for recruiting, and navigate personal challenges.
- Second-Year Consulting Case Coach – I administer cases and provide feedback to first-year MBAs interested in recruiting consulting to prepare them for their case interviews.
- Ray C. Anderson Center Sustainability Fellow – My sustainability fellowship project focused on identifying opportunities for the Lifecycle Building Center, a nonprofit that captures building materials from the waste stream and directs them back into the community through reuse, to process materials more efficiently.
- Student Interviewer and MBA Ambassador – I was invited by the MBA Admissions Committee to serve as a student interviewer and help select the Class of 2024. I was also selected for the MBA Ambassadors program to help prospective students navigate the admissions journey. (Please feel free to reach out if you have questions!)
- Member of Net Impact, Women in Business Club, Blacks in Business Club, Scheller Pride Club, Consulting Club, Strategy & Innovation Club, Marketing Club, and Business Analytics Club – As an active member of these clubs, I support and learn from my classmates as they put on incredible and meaningful events throughout the year.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of from your time at Scheller?
I’m most proud of my massive recruiting pivot from product management to consulting full-time roles this past fall. I’m someone that needs time for reflection, and it wasn’t until the end of the first week of school that I decided to pursue full-time consulting roles. Given the timeline for consulting recruiting, I essentially had three weeks to case prep before interviews began having never done a case before. It was a rather hectic start to the year, especially amidst kicking off club and committee events, but I’m really proud of my grit, perseverance, and growth mindset. I had, as they say, a rough start. If anything, the experience helped me prove to myself I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
That said, I would never have accomplished such a feat without our consulting club and second year case coaches. I have felt the strength and support of the Scheller community on many occasions, but none as much as those three weeks when a dozen of my classmates rallied around me and dedicated their time and energy to getting me ready. I am forever grateful for their thoughtful, constructive feedback and unending emotional support – thank you Yuval Safra, Omar Mikawi, Kyra Hankin, Molly O’Neil, Sud Ambadipudi, and Bill Landefeld!
Who was your favorite MBA professor?
This is very difficult because I’ve had a number of wonderful professors, but Steve Salbu, who teaches our Legal and Ethics course as part of our core, stands out. In addition to being extremely engaging, Professor Salbu was a deft facilitator of discussion, creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable participating. Professor Salbu truly challenged our class to think about both sides of complex issues and see the shades of grey. When we live in a time of unprecedented political polarization, this is no small feat, and I think our collective class came away appreciating both the importance of seeing these shades of grey and
Professor Salbu’s skillset in fostering constructive, respectful, and inclusive dialogue. Professor Salbu’s presence extends beyond our classroom as well, as he supports DE&I initiatives (our Scheller Pride Club, among others), and much of our sustainability programming through the Ray C. Anderson Center of Sustainable Business. I value diversity of thought, and there is no better architect than Professor Salbu.
What was your favorite course as an MBA?
We’re only a few weeks into the semester, but I’m particularly enjoying our Responsible Corporate Governance course, which addresses how boards work, what actually happens in board rooms, what makes great companies effective, and perhaps most importantly, how as a new generation of business leaders we can be socially responsible and (in addition to being profitable) make a difference in the world around us. I’ve been rather ignorant about how boards function and have found it extremely enlightening to learn the fundamentals about some of the most influential groups in our society.
The course’s stellar readings are nuanced, multifaceted and thought-provoking, challenging the conventional definition of shareholders and the purpose of corporations. I’ve really enjoyed learning how the role of boards and their setup varies depending on the type of company (public company, private equity acquisition, family company, startup, etc). As a cherry on top, our professor is a former CEO, non-profit founder, and current board member, and hearing about his life experiences has brought an incredible amount of additional value to the course.
What was your favorite Scheller event or tradition?
Pi Mile! Pi Mile is a 3.14-mile-long route around Georgia Tech’s campus that we run or walk every Thursday morning. We have a consistent group of classmates that show up every week and then we often get bigger groups attending when the weather is nice or when our fearless leader, JB, is particularly persuasive. It’s a nice nod to our engineering roots and helps us keep our bodies active as well as our minds. To me, Pi Mile represents our commitment to each other and how Scheller students show up, no matter what the inclement conditions or how little we feel like it at 6:45 a.m.
I love how inclusive it is. We have a full spectrum of folks, from marathon runners to dog walkers trying to give man’s best friend their best life. Any time we have a newbie, a tenured pi miler is sure to stick with them so they don’t get lost on the route. (Because you will get lost… this was designed by Georgia Tech Engineers…) Pi Mile has been one of the primary ways I’ve gotten to know MBAs from outside my class in a low-key setting, and I’ve really enjoyed the relationships I’ve built. For me it’s the small moments that matter, and Pi Mile has been a lot of wonderful small moments.
What is the biggest myth about Georgia Tech Scheller?
Like most people, I’ve always associated Georgia Tech with engineering excellence. I think that reputation sometimes extends beyond our incredible engineering talent and into our business school. And while we do have some brilliant engineers making career pivots in our program, we truly have folks from all backgrounds! I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself amidst other liberal arts majors, learned so much from classmates with environmental science backgrounds, have been repeatedly been in awe of my dual MBA / MD classmates… the list goes on! We are an extremely diverse program and bring engineering excellence and then some to the table.
What did you love most about Scheller’s location in the heart of mid-town Atlanta?
What I love most about Atlanta is its diversity and southern hospitality. The world is an exceptionally diverse place. To be an emotionally intelligent leader in an increasingly global environment, I think it’s important to put yourself in contexts where not everyone thinks, behaves, or looks like you. Until I lived elsewhere, I didn’t realize how much I appreciated being able to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone in any situation. Particularly coming out of being hunkered down during the pandemic with limited social interaction, Atlanta’s southern hospitality is a welcome reprieve and makes me feel like a part of the community.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2022?
I spent the summer in Austin, Texas, as a product management intern within IBM’s Extreme Blue Program. My project supported IBM’s Electronic Design Automation (EDA) team, who, among other things, ensures IBM’s microchips meet millions of timing requirements. I led a team of three impressive undergraduate computer science interns, and together we enhanced an internal IBM application that helps chip design engineers identify and diagnose issues with their designs. Our heat maps gave engineers the ability to not only visualize errors in their design, but also drill into potential causes, enabling them to resolve issues more quickly with the ultimate goal of increasing the pace of chip design and development.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I’ll be working as an associate within McKinsey’s Digital and Analytics Practice here in Atlanta!
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I wish I had done more coffee chats with professors. I intended to last year, but the school year and my calendar just got away from me. They are extremely interesting people in their own right and universally try to be as accessible as possible to students. I always learn from and enjoy hearing about their professional and academic experiences, but there’s only so much they can impart on us in the classroom! It’s on my to-do list this semester.
What surprised you the most about business school?
People told me business school would be social and I nodded because I thought I understood. It’s even more social than I anticipated, but in the best way. I’m an introvert, and particularly as an introvert coming off of the pandemic years, I have to admit it was something of an adjustment, but it’s been so much fun! Most weeks I’m catching up with old and new friends over a beer, trivia, or dinner, checking in with my mentor or mentees over coffee, learning from still other classmates through club and committee events, meeting new people at our weekly socials, attending a friend’s birthday party… the list goes on. Time with friends is a privilege, and business school has been time with 160 friends. I am incredibly fortunate to get to know so many intelligent, thoughtful, funny, interesting, and endearing humans in such a short period of time. It’s really hard to imagine my life without them now.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire?
Paroma Chakravarty, our class president. She has the hardest job on campus and it never ceases to amaze me how she manages it so gracefully; particularly given all the other commitments she has on her plate. She does an incredible job understanding the needs of her peers. She has put significant time and energy in getting to know the wide variety of people in both classes, listens to their pain points with an open mind, and collaborates with her peers in our Graduate Business Council, and with the program office, to thoughtfully address those concerns. She does this patiently, without ego, and brings a constructive, can-do attitude to every interaction. Even with all the constraints on her time, Paroma is the first to volunteer and lend a helping hand (or solicit helping hands, if that's more effective) and shows up to support and cheer on her classmates in their multitude of endeavors. She is a ray of sunshine in our program, and her positive spirit helps buoy and lift us all!
Fun fact about yourself:
I collect patches! I love traveling and hiking, so anytime I go to a National Park or somewhere new I get a patch as a souvenir. Additions from 2022 include Costa Rice, Grindelwald, Switzerland, the Everglades, Pisgah National Forest, White Sands, Mesa Verde, and Austin, Texas.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Work abroad again, even if only for a short period of time! After college I lived in Germany as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and my experience has had a lasting impact on how I view the world and my values. I think there’s a lot to be learned from experiencing other cultures, particularly in professional settings, as we live in an increasingly global world. As future business leaders, we seek to build a better world than the one we inherited.
- Stay flexible. I’ve always struggled with professional long-term goal setting because I find so many things interesting! When I left my first major job my manager at the time looked at me and said, “You’re going to be one of those people that just feels out their next step as you go.” I think he was right. Careers are winding, and some journeys are more winding than others. My notion of a meaningful career is one in which I continue to be adaptable and pursue my curiosity.