Alumni Profile: Georgia Tech, Alex Walsh

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Posted by TheMBATour on 06 April 2018 / 0 Comments

Learn how Alex Walsh, MBA grad of Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Businessleveraged Scheller's alumni network when applying for jobs and continues to benefit from alumni connections in his current career at The Home Depot.

Name: Alex Walsh

School: MBA, Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Business

Hometown: Palm Coast, Florida

Profession: Customer Insights Team, The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA

 

Student Life

Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?

I think the top flight career services at Scheller and the location of Atlanta are obvious strengths. More personally, the community at Scheller reminded me of my peers at the University of Chicago: intellectually curious people who were motivated by learning and discovery, rather than accomplishment alone. Students at Scheller have ambition in spades. But that ambition is paired with a deep caring about the implications of what we learn and discuss – not to mention a caring for the well-being of fellow students, as well as the community and world around us. I think the admissions group at Scheller does an outstanding job of admitting individuals with a high energy level, a willingness to work hard, and a natural inclination to care deeply and sincerely about the people around them. If you’re one of those, I don’t think you need any advice at all!

What was your favorite classroom experience?

I really enjoyed our Core Strategy course. The first half of the course is focused on textbook learnings, while the second half is all about application. Partnering with First Data to help them identify up and coming competitors was a great experience. I also enjoyed getting to learn about my classmates’ experiences over the course of two fully-packed presentation days. One thing that will always stick with me, is after the Cox Automotive team presented, the company executive closed thusly: “One last question, when can you start?” A super cool moment to end a great class!

What is something that you learned that was unexpected?

While I was at Scheller, I took what I feel is a really cutting-edge elective offering in marketing, called “Understanding Markets with Data Science.” The professor, Chris Gu, surprised me with the depth of the course material, which spent several classes understanding the math and computer science behind Google’s PageRank algorithm (it’s actually not that complicated!). This class is just one example of the surprising benefits you get from getting an MBA at a place that represents the intersection of business and technology.

  

Career 

When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you? Did you pursue your MBA in order to switch careers?

I benefitted from (*deep breath!*) goal setting, elevator pitch development, resume writing and review, networking opportunities, interview practice, alumni access, internship listings, and ultimately internship placement! My career advisor started working with me months before I arrived on campus, and walked with me every step of the way until I had my dream internship landed. I can’t recommend Scheller’s career services enough!

How much are you in touch with the alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies?

I leveraged Scheller College’s alumni network extensively during the internship search process. Furthermore, now that I’m at Home Depot – which is LOADED with Scheller alums – I’m benefitting from that alumni network every day. I’ve also reached out to alums at Amazon, Delta, Georgia-Pacific, and even USAA with questions about best practices and ideas for strategy formulation.

When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you? Did you pursue your MBA in order to switch careers?

From a very young age, my mom encouraged me to always apply critical thinking when possible. I think it’s what directed me to economics as an undergrad, which is definitely what led me to business as a graduate student.

While at Scheller College, I did an immersive track in Business Analytics in order to support my goal to jumpstart a career in marketing analytics. The classes I took for this track were incredibly helpful. I registered for Business Analytics practicum and we worked with a media client to build customer “personas” based on millions of rows of consumption data. We leveraged big data tools and methods to answer this question. This hands-on practicum course was an incredible opportunity to apply cutting-edge tools and technologies in a way that answered a challenging business question and helped prepare me for my career transition. Post graduation, I happy to report that I am manager of Customer Analytics in the Customer Insights Group at The Home Depot.

 

Advice for Future Applicants     

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started the MBA application process?

Have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish with an MBA. It’s okay if that vision changes over time (in fact it probably will!), but it inspires confidence in admissions officials to see that you can not only set those goals for yourself, but also explain them in a clear, detailed, professional way through an application and interview process.

What was it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?

My advice is don’t worry! The good thing is, every other student in your class is going through the same experience of getting back into the classroom. So communicate with classmates, listen to professors, and don’t worry too much about getting back into “academic” mode. The time to start worrying is in the third or fourth week, when everyone around you seems to know what’s going on, and you’re still not clear on what’s what – but that’s an okay feeling, too! Just be sure to communicate with peers, faculty, and staff – let the team help you get up to speed!

 

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