The Classes that Change Your Life

They say that MBA’s change you: that you will see things differently, that you will question things you didn’t before, that you will grow in ways you didn’t think were possible. To be honest, it’s true!

In particular, one of those classes at Goizueta that has changed me was Alternative Investments with Professor Klaas Baks. This elective has been one I’ve been looking forward to the most because it’s such a “hot topic” that I felt I knew very little about. However, what I gained was not just knowledge about private equity, venture capital, and deal structuring, but it gave me perspective on life. I know it sounds dramatic, but what Baks teaches you goes beyond the four walls of his class. It’s about life lessons that can really change your path. Case in point, every year a couple of students go back into the world to start their own business and it’s not necessarily the hard math or skills you learned in his class that inspire this behavior, but rather the eye-opening truth about what most of us deem as our “path.”

Let me explain more.

Most of us believe what we are supposed to do is go to college, do well, get a corporate job and retire. However, what we often don’t consider is there are options! This isn’t the ONLY way to make money, live a fulfilled life and succeed.  Three things I gathered from Baks that I would like to share for perspective are:

  1. Jobs aren’t safe unless you are your own boss
  2. It’s hard to get rich working for someone else
  3. Raises and promotions are not proportional to the additional responsibilities and time invested

Now don’t get me wrong, I am extremely thankful for my corporate job. It allows me to be surrounded by incredibly smart individuals who motivate, challenge and encourage me. I’ve received excellent mentorship and guidance throughout my career through established channels as well as the network I’ve developed. But after taking the class, plus seeing classmates start their own businesses, I am inspired to think about something of my own. It might not be right now, or tomorrow, or even the next couple of years, but I’ve gained the basic knowledge to recognize a good or bad deal, or at least to know when to get a lawyer!  

So to all that think that corporate is forever, I urge you to think of things that spark joy (in the words of Marie Kondo) and then design a path that will get you there.


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Barbara Klein Gooding

Barbara Klein Gooding is a branch and premier bank strategist at SunTrust Bank focused on strategic development and implementation of consumer banking strategies. Previously, Barbara worked as a consultant for Deloitte and helped open a new controller office in Mexico City. In addition, Barbara has a strong project management background implementing large scale technology and regulatory changes. Barbara has a finance degree from Georgia State University. Outside of work, Barbara spends her time with her friends and family testing recipes in the kitchen.

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