Student Life & Community @ Goizueta: Hitting the MBA Jackpot
It’s a Thursday night, and I’m in my hotel room on a business trip. I’m trying to finish a take-home test for my Global Macroeconomics class, but I can’t focus because my phone keeps sending me notifications from the Goizueta Class of 2019 Facebook group. Every few minutes it buzzes with updates from my classmate Omar Castillo. He’s back at it with his latest lotto pool news: he’s close to raising $1,000 in the EvMBA lotto pool in hopes of winning a $970 million jackpot. Although I hardly ever play the lotto, I don’t want to be the only Goizueta student to miss out if they actually win. I Venmo Omar $10 to join the pool.
Omar organized his first EvMBA lotto pool in the fall of his second year in the program. What started as a random event has now turned into a full-fledged tradition. Now, anytime the jackpot rises above $500 million, classmates start bugging Omar to get the pool going. The pool has expanded beyond the class of 2019 — students from all years in the program participate. Sure, we all paid attention in Professor Stuk’s class — we know that our odds are terrible and that our money would be better spent investing in the stock market. But even MBA candidates still enjoy setting aside strategy and logic every once in a while.
The EvMBA lotto pool is just one of the many examples of organic community-building within the Goizueta student body. Even in between full-time jobs and full-time school and full-time family commitments, evening MBA students still find opportunities to gather together for fun. We gather for birthdays and baby showers. We attend fundraisers to support causes that are meaningful to each other. We travel halfway across the world to attend classmates’ weddings. (Shout out Jonna Martin!) We cheer on the Braves, Hawks and Atlanta United together. We de-stress together at yoga and spin classes, or during happy hours. We celebrate new jobs and new houses and new pets. Some students even join forces and start business ventures together.
At the same time, the Goizueta community is also a place where we can come together to support each other during life’s more challenging times. Not only do Goizueta students help each other out when someone is struggling to understand credits and debits — we also help each other out when classmates are going through times of grief or transition. I’ve watched many fellow students support each other through breakups, job changes and illnesses. I’ve personally experienced many instances of that care and compassion from my fellow classmates. One of the most powerful examples of this occurred two years ago during my first semester in the program — when I unfortunately experienced an apartment fire. Even though I had only been in the program a few short months and barely knew anyone, I was surrounded with compassionate care from the entire Goizueta community. Through financial and in-kind donations as well as caring notes and calls, my classmates, program staff and professors supported me during one of the most unnerving times in my life. For that I will forever cherish this community.
While some MBA programs may be cutthroat or competitive, Goizueta has an ingrained culture of collaboration and caring. Whether we are helping each other land job interviews, providing a shoulder to cry on or joining forces to win Mega Millions, Goizueta students show up for each other.