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Strength in Community: Meet Thad Flowers, Executive MBA ‘23

Thad Flowers, a soon-to-be graduate of the Scheller Executive MBA program, talks about his experience as a student, including the community of support within his cohort.
Photo of Thad Flowers

Thad Flowers, Jr. Executive MBA '23

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 Gerald “Thad” Flowers, who is graduating from the Executive MBA program with a Global Business specialization.

Where are you from?

 Atlanta, Georgia

Why did you become interested in a Scheller Executive MBA?

I sought to advance to the next phase of my career, aiming to enhance my executive knowledge and leadership skills. Pursuing an MBA appeared as an ideal way to unify my diverse professional experiences. As an Atlanta native, I've had a long-standing connection with Georgia Tech, marked by attending sporting events, having family members as employees, and participating in youth activities and scholastic summer camps.

In my field of transportation and construction, and previously politics and government, many industry leaders are Georgia Tech alumni. Scheller College, leveraging Georgia Tech's esteemed reputation, is renowned as a top 20 business school. This alignment made Scheller the preferred choice for my career development.

What makes the Executive MBA program so special, particularly as it relates to its community?

Scheller's Executive MBA program stands out for its unique integration of Georgia Tech's exceptional community, rich in intellectual talent and expertise. The curriculum goes beyond traditional business subjects, leveraging the university's strengths in engineering and technology to equip us for high-level strategic challenges in our careers.

Our Executive MBA cohort consisted of accomplished professionals, including managers, directors, and industry leaders, who enriched our learning with real-world insights and successful strategies. Beyond professional acumen, our cohort brought a wealth of life experience, sharing best practices for balancing ambitious career objectives with personal commitments, like family and hobbies. This holistic approach to development is designed to comprehensively enhance our capabilities as executives.

What are some examples of collaboration and community within your cohort?

From the outset, I felt a warm welcome from my cohort. The Executive MBA staff diligently assembles teams that foster learning, contribution, and growth. Our diverse backgrounds and strengths made team assignments enjoyable and fulfilling, as everyone's input was valued. More significantly, these teams facilitated the formation of deep personal connections.

Our interactions evolved from academic discussions in Scheller breakout rooms to social gatherings in homes with homemade enchiladas. Casual invitations for lunch transformed into adventurous flights to other states for unique dining experiences.

A particularly memorable moment was when my father experienced a health emergency just before a study session. In my absence, a teammate sent dinner to my family at the hospital, a gesture that profoundly touched me and highlighted the supportive nature of our cohort.

What were some things you learned from the program’s international residency experience?

Our international residency in South Africa provided a valuable perspective on global business practices. We engaged with executives to understand the unique challenges faced in a developing economy, particularly how factors like politics and infrastructure influence various industries. This experience also allowed me to draw parallels with my work in the U.S. Exploring both Johannesburg and Cape Town, I was struck by the immense potential of post-Apartheid South Africa to influence the global business landscape.

What would you say to people interested in pursuing their Executive MBA?

"DO IT!" Earning a Scheller Executive MBA is indeed a transformative journey that offers immense value. It's a chance to elevate your leadership skills, broaden your business knowledge, and network with a diverse group of professionals. The program challenges and inspires you on both academic and personal levels, facilitated by Georgia Tech's experienced faculty and an exceptional cohort of peers sharing similar aspirations. It's an experience that shaped not just my professional trajectory, but also my personal growth and perspective.

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