BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public high school in Portland, OR with a graduating class of about 900 students. There wasn’t a strong culture of going to college. A lot went to community college, some went to in-state colleges, and a few went to out of state colleges.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting and Finance
Extracurricular Activities: I [have a leadership position] in First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) and the Association for Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
FLIP helped me establish myself and ground myself in college academically. ALPFA has helped me make professional connections in the Atlanta area and across the country and get to know my other classmates that are interested in business.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
We have a lot of case studies. There are some classes where in class we go through a case or business issue. I also have a lot of technical work in Excel, looking at financial statements, and things like that. A big thing for me during my week is group work and meeting with those groups. Every single class I have has group projects that we have to complete basically every week. Usually, my grade is made up by exams, quizzes, group presentations, and then a few graded assignments.
Is there anything you feel the business school does especially well or poorly?
I think the business school helps build relationships between the students. They host a lot of weekly events where we get free food and can meet each other. I think that really helps the experience. I don’t think the business school is doing very well with diversity and inclusion whether it’s with race and ethnicity or first-generation and low-income students. Hispanics are already a minority in the university as a whole but especially in the business school there are not many students who look like me or come from the same background as me, so there are times when I feel like my voice isn’t as strong. [About 10% of undergraduates are Hispanic.]
How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
As a whole, it is pretty competitive. The business school grades on a curve, so if other students do better than you, you will do worse. In that sense, it is competitive. In small groups, we’re very collaborative and we always try to push each other and work together to get the best grade.
Can you describe a time where you felt that competitive atmosphere?
On a daily basis there are a lot of times, especially in classes where there is a participation grade, it seems like students are racing to be the one chosen for whatever small volunteer project the professor is asking for or if the professor asks a question everyone is really eager to answer it even if they’re not necessarily correct.
How accessible are your professors?
They’re pretty accessible. They all have office hours when you can go in and talk to them about anything, like the course, academics in general, or your life. Also, when I email them they’re pretty responsive. I think the faculty are pretty excellent.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choices?
I grew up in kind of an entrepreneurial family where we were always trying to find ways to make money. I think that drove me to study business in college. I’d say I’m happy with my choice and I do think that I chose the right major, I just sometimes feel like I don’t fit in because there are not a lot of people from my background in the school.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation student? Were there any systems in place that helped you adapt?
It was a little difficult, especially coming from out of state and having no idea about college. I had to figure out what to do myself. There were the general programs in place for the entire student body, but I felt like I had to search for peers and friends that were in similar situations and find older students who could help guide me through the process my first year. Through that, I found the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership and became involved with that. [See Emory Student Success Programs and Services here.]
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived during college?
Freshman: Longstreet in a suite with two shared rooms and a shared bathroom. I had one other roommate.
Sophomore: Woodruff Residential Center, which is like a 10-minute walk from the business school, with one roommate in a similar suite set up as Longstreet.
Junior & Senior: Apartment off-campus with two other roommates.
How was transitioning from Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA?
Emory’s on the outskirts of Atlanta, so we mostly just stayed on campus. It was pretty easy because everything my first year was guided and on campus. It got more difficult my second and third year because I had to learn the area around the school more, but I figured it out by asking around and doing research.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never felt unsafe on campus. I walk around in the middle of the night. We do have SafeRide so you can call the shuttle and they will pick you up. I have heard about cars getting broken in to, but that’s pretty much it.
What are the pros and cons of being located in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, GA?
1) It’s close enough to the city of Atlanta but far enough away to feel like you’re not in the middle of the city. It’s a 10-15-minute drive to downtown Atlanta.
2) It’s a really nice neighborhood. The Druid Hills area is pretty safe.
1) Off-campus housing can be pretty expensive so it can be difficult to find an affordable place nearby.
2) There are not a lot of general stores, like Target and Walmart, so those options are limited.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Emory?
There are a lot of great restaurants about 15-minutes away so we like to go there a lot. My friends and I also like to go to a place called Loca Luna that is a tapas place and also has dancing on Friday and Saturday night. Thursday nights there are a lot of house parties at the houses near campus. About half of the house parties are hosted by fraternities and the other times they’re just hosted by a group of friends. I tend to go to house parties hosted by other Latinx students because they’ll invite everybody in the Latinx community. Then Sunday is mostly staying in and catching up on work. The house parties are hosted
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
I like to go to improv comedy shows. Those are really cheap and nearby. There is also a bowling alley and arcade close by.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Emory? Is there anything you would change?
I’d say I’m about a seven out of ten. When there’s nothing else going on sometimes parks, like Piedmont Park, will have events like farmer’s markets. Emory will also sometimes have shuttles that are going to certain events or points of interest. I’m pretty happy but it’s not perfect.
How did you meet your closest friends?
One of my closest friends was actually my mentor. At the beginning of freshman year, we got matched up with students with similar backgrounds as us in a program [called MORE]. I got really close to him. Another friend I met through First-Generation Low-Income Partnership and we started having a lot of classes together. In the business school, the classes are pretty small so if you’re in a certain concentration, like accounting, you tend to have the same classes with the same people and you start to get close to them, especially when you get matched up in a group.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Emory?
There are a lot of small groups of friends. There’s not a lot of school spirit, so that’s something that Emory is missing. We don’t have a football team, so on the weekends there isn’t something where everyone gets together over a common thing. People tend to do their own thing with their friend groups I think because there is no central thing like that.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think it’s pretty mixed. I don’t see that as an issue on campus. There are a lot of clubs and organizations that try to get their members together, have events, talks with people of other backgrounds. I haven’t seen a lot of segregation.
How would you describe the Latinx community on campus? How strong is it?
I think it’s pretty strong. There is a small divide between the Emory College Latinx students and the Goizueta Business School Latinx students. We’re not as connected because the college has Centro Latinx where a lot of Latinx students hang out and get together and the business school students are involved in more pre-professional groups like the Association for Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
How would you describe the student body?
People are very academically focused and not as much focused on sports and going out. When it comes to politics, there are a lot of healthy debates with a diversity of thoughts.
How do you like the size of Emory in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience? [There are about 8,100 undergraduates.]
I like that it’s relatively small but not too small because we get to know each other pretty well. Sometimes when I go to events downtown I’ll recognize other Emory students there, so it’s nice that we get to know different people on campus.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I know that the business school has a strong connection with the alumni. They’ll come to campus to have events and coffee chats. But, I personally have not been able to take much advantage from that yet.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
When we first start in the business school we have mandatory resume checks and mock interviews. They’re also helpful when you need advice. Earlier this year I had an internship offer and went to them to hear their thoughts on it. They’re pretty helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
We have an Information Systems and Operations Management concentration and I’ve taken a few courses in that department. There are a lot of courses that are very Excel focused and very data driven. I learned Jump, R, Excel, Tableau, Sequel, and a lot of those, especially Sequel, have been very helpful with my internships.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy are they to work with?
Yes, I have financial aid. One of the reasons I chose to attend Emory was because of their financial aid package. I have to reapply every year and it’s a pretty long process so sometimes it gets delayed because I am pretty busy when it comes out but they give me until May to do it. I’ve gone to the office a few times for some issues and they’re pretty responsive but they’re not the most helpful. It almost feels like they don’t want to help you.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Emory before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew about certain resources that we have. We have a Lending Library where you can borrow textbooks so you don’t have to buy them and there is the Clothing Closet where you can borrow professional attire for interviews and events that you have to attend.
What is something a prospective first-generation student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
If you choose to live off-campus, your financial aid that is for housing can be used to pay your rent.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Claremont Campus, which is where upperclassmen live, is a pretty nice facility that I don’t think prospective students see. It’ll give you an idea of what your third and fourth year will look like if you live there.
Reasons to attend Emory:
1) Great financial aid. [The average Emory College financial aid package is $45,696. Emory is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need of accepted domestic students.]
2) The campus is beautiful. We have marble buildings and every year I’ve been here they’ve been building new buildings.
3) The weather is nice and the winters are mild.
4) The faculty is great. They’re always open to talking to you about anything and helping you develop. I’ve never had a bad experience with a professor.
Reasons to not attend Emory:
1) The summers are pretty humid if you stay for them.
2) We don’t have a lot of school spirit. If you’re looking for school spirit and parties every weekend, you’re not going to get that here.