At many other schools, students are expected to declare their majors as juniors, or sometimes even as sophomores. But at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, they refer to these as “area depths,” and students can choose as many as they want, as late as they want, even in their senior years, as long as they complete four courses beyond the core requirements.
The flexibility means not only do students get ample time to explore and find out what interests them the most, they also get to start working on their area depths as early as their sophomore year, and keep working on as many as they want till they graduate.
“Accounting students may make their choice early on since their choice of courses is CPA driven and leading to a Masters in Professional Accountancy, but for everyone else, they can make this life-changing choice as their interest matures,” Andrea Hershatter, Senior Associate Dean and Director of the BBA Program at the business school, said. “Typically, those interested in investment banking may choose finance early on because of the early recruitment happening, as with consulting students. But a distinguishing factor of our curriculum is that we trust students to do what makes the most sense for them.”
Emory University is a private research university located in Atlanta, Georgia, where Fortune 500 companies, including The Home Depot, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Southern Company, United Parcel Service, SunTrust Banks, and NCR Corporation, have offices. Naturaly, the school is intimately connected with The Coca-Cola company, which brings projects into Goizueta classrooms for students to work on, and major consulting firms in Atlanta’s huge financial district have hired their alumni.
Atlanta has also recently seen a growing number of innovation hubs, and Hershatter says their students have been partnering up with the Delta Air Lines global innovation center, “The Hangar”, as well as with the new Daimler innovation hub called “Lab1886” that just opened in July 2018. “We have close level relationships with several innovation hubs that have been opening up, and like sandboxes, they provide ideal collaborative spaces for our business school students to interact with the companies,”Hershatter said. And with this interaction comes organically created networking opportunities that translate into pretty amazing career outcomes.
The school shared that 96 percent of students in the Class of 2017 had at least one business-specific internship before graduation, and 95 percent of students in the Class of 2018 had the same. Every student in the graduating Class of 2017 participated in a consulting project with an external organization since all Goizueta students have to take a Business Communications class and a Senior Capstone class that include this requirement. Within a couple months of graduation, 95 percent of students from the Class of 2017 had already secured full-time positions, and with the Class of 2018, this figure rose to 96 percent.
The average salary drawn by Class of 2017 students with full-time positions was $66,472, with 55 percent of them receiving signing bonuses averaging $7,617. With the Class of 2018, the average salary was $66,297, with 55 percent of them receiving signing bonuses averaging $7,847. Among their list of top employers for the Classes of 2017 and 2018 were PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Accenture, KPMG, Newell Brands, American Express, Goldman Sachs, and BlackRock.
The undergraduate business program at Goizueta Business School is a two-year program where students can apply to join after they attain junior standing. This means some of them apply in their sophomore year, others in their junior year. In Fall 2018, the school receives 436 applications to join their undergraduate business program, and 406 were admitted. The university has an acceptance rate of about 18.5 percent, while the business school has an acceptance rate of 93 percent, where the average SAT score that 57 percent of students reported for consideration is 1470.
The school estimates that the four-year cost of attending, including tuition and fees, is $188,668, with additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies adding another $61,794. About 39 percent of students in the incoming Fall 2018 class received some form of scholarship support averaging $36,434, and 70 percent of alumni in the Class of 2016 told P&Q in a survey that they felt their business degree was worth its cost in tuition.
ONE OF THE FEW REMAINING TWO-YEAR PROGRAMS
Before applying to Goizueta Business School, students usually spend the first two years fulfilling their liberal arts requirements, before moving on to their business requirements. All Goizueta business students have to complete the business core, which include prerequisites in calculus, economics, decision analysis and statistics, and financial accounting.
One of the first things that happen when they enter the program is a two-day off-site orientation, where students are divided into teams of about 12 students each and take on a series of activities ranging from alpine tower climbing and high ropes course, to building boats out of cardboard that should be able to float. These team-based activities are paired with personal reflection and goal-setting activities, academic sessions, as well as an open session where students can ask their upperclassmen about anything without faculty members in the room, is what helps the students transition into the business school.
“The orientation is where students learn the importance of teamwork, relationship building, and taking on end-line accountability, while finding out about the structure of the business school,” Hershatter said.
Students in Goizueta can choose to focus on the following areas of study: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Information Systems & Operations Management, Strategy & Management Consulting, Analytic Consulting, Business & Society/ Social Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, International Business, and Real Estate.
Concentrations in Film & Media Management, Art Management, Environment Management, and Health Innovation, are available.
Hershatter also shared that one-fifth of Goizueta’s graduating class is able to earn a second major at Emory University, and an additional 10 percent participate in one of their join concentrations in the liberal arts. Over half the student population pursue more than one area of study in the undergraduate program, the most common pairing being finance and marketing, consulting and finance, and marketing and information systems.
TAKING THE STUDENTS OUT OF ATLANTA AND TO THE SLOPES
Of the Class of 2016, over 72 percent of alums told P&Q that they would recommend the business program at Goizueta to a friend or colleague without hesitation. Over 60 percent said they felt the program had prepared them exceptionally well for the world of work, and 50 percent of alums said their business school experience was life-changing. An impressive 94 percent said that their first job after graduating was in their desired job function, and almost 90 percent went on to share that their first job was at their desired company. If there’s anything Goizueta is good at doing, it’s helping their students go exactly where they want to be, and perhaps, one of the ways it does that is by giving the students plenty of opportunities to build friendships that let them spur each other on.
Every year, the school takes about 150 students on a three-day ski trip. The excursion began as a way for the school to help senior year business students fulfill the required PE credit needed for graduation by the university. But when students shared that they wished they had a chance to bond with classmates before then, the school decided to expand the program.
Today, the annual event is a great opportunity for ever-composed students to try their hand at skiing or snowboarding for the first time, learn to fall down and stand up again, and experience what it feels like to start from the beginning at something once more. Without cellphones and diversions, Hershatter said she’d seen the students start to see one another in a different light, and for some, it’s a life-changing experience.
“Falling down and laughing with friends can be transformative,” Hershatter said. “The tone we would like to set is that we are interdependent, team-oriented, and there to support each other, which can sometimes get lost in the competitiveness of job search recruiting, or even just doing their best in classes.”
The school also has a robust exchange program, where students can choose to spend the semester in any of the 45+ international partner schools in 25 countries across the globe, from South Korea and Australia, to Brazil and Mexico. About a third of each undergraduate class chooses to do so, and alums from the Class of 2016 shared having taken business and economics courses at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, gone on a 10-day trip to Nicaragua to learn about social enterprise, and studied abroad in Spain and Italy.
MANY STUDENT-RUN CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Outside of classes, there are also plenty of opportunities for students to add to their portfolio and build a stronger resume. There are 18 business-specific student clubs and organizations in different functional areas that one can join to gain hand-on experience.
In the Emory Impact Investing Group, students raise funds from the community and distribute micro-loans between $5,000 and $10,000 to community entrepreneurs who have been through a training program, who may or may not have capital to launch. These entrepreneurs are also usually also contributing to the economic development of their communities. Currently, the group is partnering with Start:ME business accelerator to select entrepreneurs in the Clarston and East Lake areas of Atlanta.
With the Goizueta Consulting Club, work on projects mostly alongside non-profit organizations to help serve their business consulting needs, so that as the students work, they gain experiential learning. The club also maintains close ties with consulting firms, helping promising students find jobs in the industry.
For those interested in investment banking, the Goizueta Investment Management Group is a student-managed investment fund that manages $100,000 of Emory’s endowment in a long-only, U.S. equity portfolio, and another $100,000 in a fixed income fund. The group also partners with high schools in the area to help teach financial literacy to underserved youth.
If Case Competitions are your thing, Goizueta has plenty of opportunities to shine as well. Examples of competitions where their business students have recently participated include the Wake Forest Marketing Summit, University of Michigan Stock Pitch, Indiana University National Diversity Case Competition, and BYU Business Language Case Competition. And if you’re new to the game, and need some help, the BBA Program Office will provide not only direction, but also coaching, support, and sometimes, travel expenses.
“Our students start their college careers by thinking analytically and learning to express themselves effectively through their liberal arts education, and then the business school builds on it by creating multi-dimensional thinkers who are adept in problem-solving in our increasingly complex world,” Hershatter said. “We’re preparing them for success in functional areas while making sure they have the skills and courage to move broadly and internationally, while making meaning contributions to the organizations that become part of their career. This means inspiring them to make an impact, step up and take on more responsibility, and take initiative in the community and societies they touch.”
What Alumni Say:
“As a member of the Goizueta Investment Management Group, I had the opportunity to work with fellow classmates to manage a $100,000 investment portfolio. The collaborative experience enabled me to learn from others’ investment strategies, and provided access to take investment risks in a personally low risk environment.” – Class of 2016 alum
“In a Data Analytics and Visualization class we had to build a real life tool using Excel Macros and Visual Basic. It was one of the first times I truly saw the knowledge and skill-set I was learning be applied to not only an potential business idea but also a real life tool that could used daily by myself and others. – Class of 2016 alum
“The Goizueta program requires that all students experience a Capstone class which tests you when you first join, and showcases the progress you make throughout the two years by putting you through the same tests towards the end of your years. They also take you out on a class-wide retreat where you can bond with new classmates, explore the limits of your comfort level in trivia/challenges, and get to connect with the faculty on a personal level.” – Class of 2016
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
PwC – 25
EY – 19
Deloitte – 12
Newell Brands – 11
American Express – 8
SunTrust – 7
Accenture – 6
Goldman Sachs – 6
Grant Thornton – 6
BlackRock – 5
Deutsche Bank – 5
J.P. Morgan – 5