Learn how MBA student Anna Babinets used Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business' career services to secure a summer internship and land a full-time job at Delta Air Lines.
Name: Anna Babinets
School: MBA, Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Business
Hometown: Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan
Profession: MBA Finance Leadership Development Program, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, GA
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
Scheller’s MBA is ranked #1 in career advancement opportunities and return on investment; both were important to me as I decided to pursue an MBA shortly after moving to the United States. I also took into consideration that the relatively small size of the program fosters closer ties between students. I’m deeply honored to know each of my classmates personally, and very proud of their character and accomplishments. There will be more than a few life-long friendships to cherish after graduation! This is a major life and investment decision, so taking time to visit campus, talk to MBA career services team about your goals, and interact with students and alumni is well worth the effort.
What was your favorite classroom experience?
I greatly enjoyed taking classes with Professor Charles Mulford. Professor Mulford excels at making a usually dry subject – accounting - both hilarious and inspirational, and always keeps the material relevant by discussing recent business events. He received the “MBA Professor of the Year” award so many times that it was eventually named after him; students even started a Facebook fan page dedicated to his quotes. I've also had a chance to work with Professor Mulford as a Graduate Research Assistant in his Financial Analysis Lab, learning a lot from his insightful guidance and a meaningful assignment. In just one year we've published a research paper on selective earnings management in the U.S., which was highlighted in a dedicated article at CFO.com!
What is something that you learned that was unexpected?
I’ve been so impressed by how many opportunities we had to learn outside of classroom. Scheller offers a wide range of practicum courses, where you help companies solve real problems, weekly speaker events, company tours organized by student clubs, school sponsorship for conferences and case competitions, and networking panels, where you learn from top leaders like CEOs of Kimberly-Clarke, Coca-Cola, or former President Jimmy Carter.
In addition, all MBA electives I took always showed how the class concepts are applied in the real world. The Service Operations class taught by Manpreet Hora is an excellent example of this. We visited the Amazon fulfilment center and learned about designing successful and responsive operations from the center’s director, met the CEO of Waffle House, and participated in a behind-the-scenes tour of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, followed by a case discussion with one of the case actors! Professor Hora is a great instructor, very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. I also worked for him as a Graduate Research Assistant; he is an excellent mentor and friend, who truly wants students to succeed.
What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?
Our career services team has an impressive program to ensure only the best career outcomes for Scheller students. Even when I was just an applicant, the head of Career Services, Jim Kranzusch, shared his time to give career advice and extend his network to me. My career advisor also is my close mentor and friend. Our relationship started even before I officially started the program, when we met to discuss my career goals and update resume and LinkedIn profile over the summer. After orientation, together with all other students, I received extensive career services training: we met every Friday to get advice on how to craft the best elevator pitch, how to prepare for career fairs, and, most importantly, got a chance to practice and polish our interview skills, getting invaluable feedback and support.
The career services team enabled me to secure my summer internship two months into the program and land a full-time offer by September of my second year. This summer I interned with Flight Operations Finance team at Delta Airlines. One of my projects focused on evaluating financial impact for a major new technology introduction. My efforts supported an important investment decision for the company, contributed to the strategic goal of achieving non-fuel costs savings, and helped to increase annual benefits from the project by $4M. I was very impressed with the collaborative culture at Delta, and the level of responsibility and individual attention given to MBA interns. I look forward to returning as a full-time member of the team this June.
How much are you in touch with the alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies?
I cannot thank enough all the alumni I’ve spoken to during the last few years. While searching for internship and considering full time opportunities, I reached out to at least twenty people to learn from their perspective and get advice on the upcoming interviews. I was always humbled and overwhelmed with their positive response and genuine willingness to help. Scheller fosters such a collaborative close-knit environment, that it extends far beyond graduation and the walls of business school, making our alumni network one of the school’s best assets.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you? Did you pursue your MBA in order to switch careers?
I started exploring the MBA route shortly after moving to the United States from Kazakhstan. Being new to Atlanta, I enjoyed my work with a local Deal Advisory team at KPMG, but also knew that I needed MBA credentials and a broader network to fully explore my career options and potentially secure the next opportunity.
When I received the admissions letter, I was thrilled, but also knew that leaving a stable job in consulting would be a difficult decision for me. My family gave me the courage to go back to school. My husband is my best friend, who supports my wildest ambitions and empowers me to pursue my dreams. My mom is my role model as a successful professional and a loving parent, who is always there for everyone. She raised me and my sister through the hardship and uncertainty of the post-soviet union economic collapse, yet always exudes positive attitude and contagious optimism. I would not be here without their unyielding support.
Advice for Future Applicants
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started the MBA application process?
Meet the Scheller family! Our small program size creates a unique close-knit community that we cherish and love talking about, but a class visit or a weekend spent at the MBA Open House will tell you more than a thousand words. I knew that Scheller had a strong program and network that would enable me to achieve my career goals, but a warm welcome from friendly, bright, and highly motivated people on campus and at MBA socials really sealed the deal for me.
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?
I was optimistic and did not expect the transition to be too challenging. Before Scheller, I pursued several professional certifications while working full-time at KPMG and sometimes felt like I never even left school. Yet, the first MBA semester quickly proved me wrong: balancing the rigor of the core classes with internship search and two GRA assignments was not an easy task! Luckily, you’d never feel alone in anything you do at Scheller. I relied a lot on my classmates for understanding the new subjects – my core team and I studied for all tests together and were each others’ tutors and cheerleaders during those first few months. Their support helped me greatly with transition. I would advise all returning students to leverage these relationships to make the transition less overwhelming.