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 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 Maria Guzman, who is graduating from the Executive MBA program.
Where are you from?
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
A driven person, with goals and aspirations to change the trajectory of generations after me.
Which MBA program are you graduating from?
Global Business, Executive MBA
Tell me about the person who most influenced your decision to pursue an MBA?
Steve Lee, a previous colleague and mentor (CAO) influenced my decision. Steve is a well-rounded finance executive with a world view in the business sector. I was his HR business partner at my previous employer, where he took the time to mentor me through the global financial scope of the organization. He encouraged me to pursue my MBA as it would allow me to be a well-rounded HR professional with business acumen.
What was your favorite business course and why?
Accounting was my favorite course. For a person with no financial background, professor Deborah Turner made accounting easy to follow. She made it easy to learn and stay engaged.
What advice would you give to an incoming Executive MBA student?
Don’t procrastinate and stay true to commitments and schedules you’ve made for your own schoolwork. Stay engaged with your team members.
What activities were you involved with on or off campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?
I am involved in non-profit work, impacting Latinos successfully thriving in Georgia. I was able to use a combination of new strategy and finance skills learned during my MBA to influence and improve funding for the organization.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at Scheller, and why?
The international trip to South Africa. The experiences we had there were once in a lifetime. My favorite part of the trip was the visit to Soweto and Maboneng communities where we were able to speak to locals and learn about their day to day lives. In Soweto, we visited an organization called KYP (Kliptown Youth Program) and provided holistic support to local youth.
What was your career journey in the Executive MBA program? Did you pivot, get a promotion, or change jobs?
I joined the EMBA program while employed at a company where I had been for over 20 years; I was able to transition to a bigger company with a meaningful offer (including relocating to Atlanta). I am certain my LinkedIn update when I started the Georgia Tech Executive MBA program was a factor in helping my profile to stand out.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Start an executive coaching firm.
- Create a non-profit that focuses on mentoring and coaching underserved young women with desires to enter and move up in the corporate world.
What was a moment when you had to practice persistence and/or resilience while in the MBA program?
I changed jobs and cities while in the program and a few weeks before the international trip. I had to prioritize my new job while not allowing homework and team work to be affected.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from your Scheller MBA?
I learned better time management and engaged more fully in networking.
What will you be doing to celebrate your graduation?
I am taking a trip to the Dominican Republic. I need it!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
My favorite movies are from the “Epoca de Oro del Cine Mexicano” (Golden Age of Mexican Cinema) produced from 1936-1956.