2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Jesse Breidinger, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Jesse Breidinger

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

Age: 33

“Highly motivated yet humble individual who seeks to create value for the greater good.”

Hometown: West Easton, PA

Family Members: Jeffrey, Lisa, Jeffrey Jr., and Jamie Breidinger

Fun fact about yourself: First-generation college graduate!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Lehigh University, Bachelor of Science, Business & Economics

Where are you currently working? The Coca-Cola Company, Senior Manager, Community & Stakeholder Relations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles:

Women’s Foodservice Forum Change Maker Award
The recipient is a female seen as a game-changer, with a proven track record of delivering business results, while modeling inclusive leadership behaviors that support gender equity.

One Young World Ambassador, Planning Lead, and Ambassador of the Month
Selected to represent emerging talent at an international conference on behalf of Coca-Cola in Colombia and The Netherlands, focusing on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Big Brothers & Big Sisters
Role model and resource to young females in Atlanta communities.

Networking for Teaching Entrepreneurship Volunteer & Board Member
Volunteer teaching entrepreneurial principles and providing coaching to youth in under-resourced schools.

Speakers at Net Impact Conference
Inspires and equips emerging leaders to build a more just and sustainable world.

Disaster Relief Volunteer
Partner with American Red Cross to deliver essential needs to those impacted including post-hurricane work in Puerto Rico.

Women’s Linc, Vice President of Ambassadorship and Community Impact
Leadership role within Coca-Cola’s global business resource network group to drive gender equity internally and externally.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of my invitation to speak at the 2019 Net Impact Conference in Detroit regarding women’s empowerment initiatives and my efforts to support the development of more successful female entrepreneurs. Georgia Tech was well-represented at the conference through the sustainability department. This was very meaningful to me because I was in a convening of thousands of MBA students, and one of the only speakers who was an MBA student as well. I was proud to intersect my current professional work with my academic pursuit for the very first time.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? From a professional standpoint, I am most proud of a time when I pushed back on my leadership during a project proposal. I was pitching a solution that would live within my marketing function and address the need to quickly bring important sales information to associates across the country, allowing them to bring additional value to their customers. During the pitch, a senior leader questioned, “Wouldn’t this project live within the IT team?” I’ve been inclined to integrate new technology into all areas of business vs. it living solely in a traditional IT department. I believe technology and digital platforms are essential areas to growth despite concentration or contribution to the business, and I believe this transcends all industries. I was grateful that my leaders trusted me to move forward and develop an artificial intelligence-based chatbot platform to better serve the needs of our department. I partnered with my IT colleagues to accomplish this and I was able to gain new skills to lead my first successful agile project as a marketer. I believe future generations will all be “IT experts” in every possible job function.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Keith McGreggor, MOT start-up professor. He brings a unique perspective and immense experience through his career as it relates to entrepreneurship. I am completely enthralled in his lectures and appreciate the time he takes with us outside of the classroom to guide our thinking towards building a new business model with our capstone project.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose Georgia Tech’s executive program due to several reasons.

  1. I absolutely love Atlanta after moving here from the northeast about four years ago. From my perspective, GT is so integrated into this city and supports Atlanta reaching its true potential as one of the greatest cities in the world.
  2. I was inclined to lean into the technology space so I could differentiate myself in the business world with a “general management” mindset that could also be innovative to keep up with the demands of a fast-changing market. Georgia Tech is so well-positioned to be a true leader where technology innovation intersects with the business world.
  3. I wanted to be part of a program that was recognized globally and had a deep alumni network. Without even being an alumnus yet, I’ve experienced a tremendous amount of value within my own classmates who represent a vast variety of different cultures, industries, and experiences.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? My new family! From the staff to my classmates, I feel as if I’ve gained lifelong friends and connections that will be lasting and mutually valuable.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I used to believe I was a pretty confident person prior to this program. But my biggest lesson is that I am much more capable than I thought I was! This program provided me with so many problem-solving skills that could be used on nearly anything thrown at me, even if I have no experience in a specific industry. I learned how to ask the right questions in order to determine solutions as a business leader. Lastly, I learned how to turn these skills into effective leadership. I believe that is the true differentiator with the Executive MBA program.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? When the COVID19 situation hit, everything changed across work, school, and home life. In my current role at The Coca-Cola Company, my job responsibilities picked up due to supporting communities in need. I had to juggle ramping up my hours required at work to quickly get new initiatives in place while meeting deadlines for team projects and exams due. On top of that, I had to figure out how to work effectively from home. This was a true learning experience, and I learned that I could adapt under pressure. Most importantly, I learned that certain areas of life had to be “good enough” so I could give more time to the efforts that truly made the biggest impact while not sacrificing my educational experience. The program allowed that flexibility, and I’m truly grateful for it being designed that way.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Hari Chidambaram. Hari is already in an executive leadership role at his company, and he definitely brought that value to me as my teammate during my second semester. Hari took the extra time to question my decisions and pushed me to further explain my findings. He really challenged me! I realized that I need more people like Hari in my life to reach my maximum potential.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was comfortable and felt like I was exceeding expectations in my current company and job function.”     

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? In all honesty, I would ultimately like to start my own business focused on social impact that complements maintaining a corporate leadership role.     

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I think they would remember me as a classmate with the big heart.     

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Work in an international role requiring me to live abroad in another country.
  2. Start a non-profit that truly drives impact in my community and beyond.

What made Jesse such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?

“Jesse Bredinger is an enthusiastic and positive member of her Executive MBA class at Georgia Tech. She is a learner with a growth mindset who takes on extra classes and assignments and talks about her appreciation of her classmates as “such amazing people.” Jesse came to the program as a Senior Manager with Coca Cola already possessing strong leadership skills, poise, and presence. With a background primarily in marketing, she has further developed her executive presence and has also developed broader business skills. She describes an “ah ha” moment when she realized because of her economics, accounting, finance, and statistics classes she was listening to an earnings call at work and was able to completely follow the complexity. As a result, she said she was able to have a completely different level of conversation with her leaders.

With the challenges of COVID-19, we have appreciated Jesse’s positive and optimistic attitude and the impact that has on her class. She focuses on the benefits and has said the program and the current situation has given her time for deeper self-reflection and exploration. Because of her attitude, desire to learn and improve, professionalism, and focus on finding ways to use technology for good, we recommend Jesse for Poets & Quants Class of 2020: The Best Executive MBAs.”

Cynthia Lynch
EMBA Director of Student Engagement

Marisa Swartz
EMBA Director of Recruiting and Admissions

DON’T MISS: THE FULL LIST OF THE TOP 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2020

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