After multiple years in the workforce, MBA graduate, Maggie Lovatt, returned back to school to discover new career opportunities. At Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business, Maggie viewed her MBA experience as her new "full-time job." She shares how she leveraged on campus opportunities, learned to love networking, and successfully converted a summer internship at Goldman Sachs into a post-grad career.
Name: Maggie Lovatt
School: MBA, Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Business
How would you describe the school's social scene? What do people do for fun outside of class?
How to describe Scheller’s social scene… robust, inclusive, rambunctious, and insatiable! There was always something to do. We had a weekly social where we did bar crawls, ice skating, bowling, potlucks, and wine tastings. On top of that, everyone had different interests and would organize their own events. We had people organize ski trips, a classmate who was a flight instructor took people up in plane rides, we got a team together to do a “Tough Mudder” 10-mile race, we had poker nights and game nights and movie nights and trivia nights. We had a kickball team, hurled dodgeballs, dominated in Frisbee, played soccer, flag football, volleyball, and racquetball. Like I said, there was always something to do!
What has been your favorite classroom experience?
My favorite classroom experience was our IT practicum course. Scheller has a ton of experiential learning classes and I tried to take as many as possible. One of these hands-on classes is the IT practicum. Our school has some great connections with CIOs (Chief Information Officers) in a lot of large corporations. My team had the chance to work with Nike’s CIO on a project investigating the “Workplace of the Future.” We toured Nike’s campus in Oregon to understand the systems they were currently using and where we could add value (and got to see where Michael Jordan played hoops!). This was a fantastic class that I would heartily recommend.
When it came time to look for jobs, did you find yourself interested in a new career that you hadn’t considered before doing your MBA?
I came back to get my MBA in large part to find out what types of jobs were out there. I had a very narrow experience in finance as an equity research analyst. I knew there were investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and traders. But that’s about it. My first semester I went to every information session I possibly could. I learned about IT jobs, marketing positions, consulting, supply chain, the list goes on. I also, for the first time, learned about investment management. I thought I was going to transition totally out of finance, but in an hour I found a job that perfectly complemented my interest in psychology and investments.
Did you do an internship during your MBA? How did that experience influence your education and career?
I had an internship with Goldman Sachs during my MBA. We have a great career services team that helps students get ready for their internships. We talked about everything from what to wear to how to document your progress so you’re ready for your summer-end review. The career service team put together a great panel of former students, current managers, and company recruiters to talk about dos and don’ts. I have a very distinct memory of the recruiter saying how she talks with everyone in the office about candidates and how important it is to network. I think one of the reasons I had a successful internship is that I took everyone in the office out for coffee – from the assistants to the managers – literally everyone. I think it ended up being 104 coffee chats. But starting the job a year later, I have great connections within the office and am very thankful for the tip!
Advice for Future Applicants
If you had the chance to do your MBA program again, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
If I had the chance to do my MBA over again, I’d take it in a heartbeat! But I’m not sure I’d do all that much differently. I jumped in with both feet and feel like I got out of the program tenfold what I put in. At the start, I did balk at the idea of “networking.” The word made me roll my eyes. It sounded forced and inauthentic. I was definitely a laggard when it came to understanding the value of coffee chats and it probably cost me an internship opportunity. Not until my second semester did I realize networking just meant having a conversation and being interested in the other person. After that epiphany, getting together with recent graduates and alumni became a lot easier!
What is it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
Transitioning back to school felt weird. It was a real conundrum, you’re an adult… but backpacks make carrying things around so much easier! And do I really need to break out my high school TI-84 calculator? One of our professors had a no-excuses policy for latecomers – they’d get locked out or let in and shamed. His point was that being an MBA is now your new job. Treat it like you would in a corporate setting. If you have a meeting (class) scheduled, show up on time and prepared. I liked that advice. It made returning to school feel more like starting a new job.