“I love solving challenging problems, building strong relationships, anything chocolate, and good hugs.”
Fun fact about yourself: I have a big scar on my arm that I like to tell people is the result of a shark attack because the actual story is much less interesting. Falling off your bike should not give you such a cool scar!
Hometown: Northborough, Massachusetts
High School: Algonquin Regional High School
Major: Business Administration, concentrating in Information Technology Management (ITM)
- Computing & Business (through the Denning Technology & Management Program)
- Computing & People (Computer Science)
Favorite Business Course: MGT 2200: Information Technology. Unlike most of my peers, one of the main reasons I chose Georgia Tech was for the Information Technology Management (ITM) program, so I declared my concentration during my first semester. I had never taken a course in it, but it sounded like exactly what I wanted to do. I took this intro ITM course during my second semester and I remember sitting on the second day of class thinking, “Yup, I chose the right major.” It was such a good feeling, and this class made me love Scheller even more.
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Extracurriculars: Scheller Business Ambassadors (Project Manager of Recruitment), Georgia Tech Swim Club (National Meet Planning Committee Member), Denning Technology & Management Program, Molecular Gastronomists
- Awards and honors: Bergmark Family Dean’s Scholarship, Dean’s List
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Boston Scientific (Marlborough, MA), HR Operations Intern
- Georgia-Pacific (Atlanta, GA), Business Analyst Intern
- Boeing (Seattle, WA), IT Business Partner Intern
- Microsoft (Redmond, WA), Program Manager Intern
Where will you be working after graduation?I will be returning to Seattle and Microsoft as a Program Manager on the same team I interned for last summer (Windows Ecosystem Enablement), and I could not be more excited about it. I am so fortunate that I get to work with incredible people, do really interesting work, learn a lot, and be a part of an amazing company.
What did you enjoy most about your business school? The community! The Scheller College of Business is a small and close-knit community within Georgia Tech, and I have loved experiencing the feeling of being at both a large and small school. The students, faculty, and staff here are so friendly and kind and it makes for a wonderful atmosphere as soon as you walk into the building. I have been able to develop personal relationships with all of the academic and career advisors in addition to many of my professors and peers. Scheller became my home in Atlanta as soon as I stepped on campus and I could not be more grateful for that.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have gained from studying business is the importance and relevance of strong communication (including presentation) skills. I have always known that these skills were important, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how painful communication and presentations can be if the communicators haven’t had enough training or practice. Many of my friends in other majors struggle every time they have to give a presentation or write some form of professional communication. That really makes me realize how helpful my soft skill training has been through studying business.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do it! The skills you will learn studying business will be valuable for the rest of your life and you can use them in any job in any organization. Companies will always need businesspeople. Even just the soft skills that you learn will carry you far in life. Don’t let the opinions of your friends (particularly those in STEM majors) deter you from studying business if that’s what you want to do. Everyone has different skills and interests, and I assure you that what you learn in your classes will make you a very hirable candidate, both for internships and full-time jobs after graduation.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am so proud of the job that I will be going to after graduation. I have been dreaming of working at a big tech company for almost as long as I can remember, and I can’t believe I managed to make this dream happen. I have been having career-focused conversations with my dad since I was a little kid, and being a product manager at a big tech company was always the goal we discussed working toward. After applying for the internship last year, I was ecstatic just to get an interview, and I cried when I learned that I got the job. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to work at Microsoft last summer; I am beyond excited to return in a few months. This is a goal many people strive for, and I am so proud that I have been able to achieve it, especially right out of college. More than that, I am so proud that I, a business major, will be working as a Program Manager in the Engineering department. I am proof that you don’t need to be a computer scientist to be a successful PM and that business majors can perform well in many different job types.
Which classmate do you most admire? Rachel Luckcuck. Rachel was one of the first students I met when I started at Scheller four years ago, and I was immediately impressed with her kindness, professionalism, and confidence. She is a natural leader and completely comfortable being herself, always sticking to her values. She always seems to have intelligent comments to add to discussions and is great at presenting. Rachel, I wish I had your confidence. I know you will do great things!
Who would you most want to thank for your success?
I’d like to thank my dad for contributing to my professional success. Since I was about seven years old, he taught me business and computer science fundamentals, including the importance of soft skills such as networking. He helped me create business cards and websites, connected me with great people and companies to find mentors and jobs, and has always been eager to discuss his and my career with me. He helped me discover the field that I will be entering upon graduation, and he is almost more excited than I am that my job is something I have dreamed about for so long. Thank you, Pa, for always being there for me when I need anything related to my career (and so much more).
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? One thing I definitely want to do is become a people manager. I love mentoring and being mentored. I would love to do it in a more formal way while also being responsible for making big decisions and directing a group of people to accomplish tasks.
I also hope to take more risks in my professional life. Whether that means saying “yes” to a big project that’s outside of my comfort zone or doing something that ends in a big failure, I want to take risks and learn from them, no matter how things turn out.
What are your hobbies?
Anything watersports! I love swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and wakesurfing. I also love cooking and baking, especially procrasti-baking!
What made Darby such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?
“Darby Foster has achieved so much during her time at Georgia Tech, and as her professor, I couldn’t dream of a better student. Beyond being an exceptional student academically (she is a Dean’s Scholar), Darby thoroughly enjoys challenges. She will graduate from Georgia Tech with a Business Administration major concentrating on Information Technology Management, a Computing & Business minor through the Steven A. Denning Technology & Management (T&M) Program, and a second minor in Computing & People through College of Computing. Both minors are demanding and time-consuming, and Darby tackled them with ease.
As the Faculty Director of the Denning T&M Program, I am impressed with her real-world problem-solving capability. She is analytic, reliable, steadfast, and detail-oriented, which allowed her to stay grounded despite the ever-present corporate challenges during her T&M capstone project. Darby’s top-notch research and results stand for themselves, and she has the confidence to climb to the top of any corporate ladder.
Moreover, she is an atypical business student due to her expertise in computer science. Her background positions her as an excellent liaison between businesspeople and computer scientists. Her minor in Computing & People will be very valuable when she joins Microsoft full time as a Program Manager.
Darby is the stellar student that will serve as an example to the next wave of undergraduates at Scheller. Over four years, she had a wide variety of internships (Boston Scientific, Georgia-Pacific, Boeing, and Microsoft) and international experiences to view things with a global perspective (she visited Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China as a Denning T&M Program scholar). All the while, she built her foundation of being an excellent writer, brilliant communicator, and an exceptional presenter. Without a doubt, Darby will represent Georgia Tech well, and we couldn’t be prouder to have her as a Denning T&M Program and Scheller alumna.”
Professor, Information Technology Management and Steven A. Denning Professor of Technology & Management
Faculty Director, Denning Technology & Management Program
Scheller College of Business
Georgia Institute of Technology