Kirk Smith Photo
MBA (Two-Year), 2016

Kirk Smith

New Product Marketing Manager, 3M
Consumer Products


Working for a government contractor, Kirk had top-level security clearance a year out of college. But his age made bosses reluctant to place him in charge of staff several years older. He chose Goizueta because he knew our unparalleled leadership training would give him the confidence to step up and lead, and give his bosses the assurance to let him do so.

Kirk's leadership skills grew significantly at Goizueta. As executive vice president of the Graduate Business Association, Kurt helped manage 30 clubs, honing his skills in the art of delegation. In the Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy's weeklong capstone leadership experience in the British Virgin Islands, he and his teammates learned how to rise to the challenges they faced on the open water. As a Leadership Coaching Fellow, he learned not just why teams fail, but how they can succeed.

"Goizueta is a kind of laboratory for leadership," Kirk says, "where students can try on different techniques, coaching skills, and delegation tactics for size - until they find the perfect fit."

Many schools can claim that they provide an intimate learning environment, but Emory truly delivers on it. The school differentiates itself by emphasizing the human connections and relationships. After finding my ideal internship, I sat down with a second year student who detailed the company, the people, and the culture; all critical aspects for interviews. I then received contact info for two Goizueta alums at the company who coached me through potential interview questions. Because of the support from the community, I felt completely prepared and was invited back for a second round.

"The ability to reach out, establish a connection with an employee, and grab coffee with them is critical to building your recruiting network at school. If I were in a different location, I would have to wait for on-campus recruiting or personal travel to achieve the same goals. But if you do have to travel for networking or interviewing at your dream company, the busiest airport in the world is a quick taxi or train ride away. When considering where you go to school, ask students about the companies that come on campus and research which companies have major offices in that city. I'm willing to bet that you won't find a city with as many companies at the same cost of living as Atlanta!"

The most important lessons Kirk learned were about building a framework of trust and integrity. Wrapping up one of his final efforts, the Fort Benning Leader Reaction course, Kirk found himself ahead of his team and over the finish line when a classmate pointed out that he'd stepped on a red line earlier and disqualified his finish. He'd have to start over. Before Goizueta, Kirk says, he never would have considered it. That day he started over, because that's what a true leader does.