2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: James Gregory Gibbs, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

James Gregory “Greg” Gibbs

Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business 

Age: 50

“Responsible, accountable, honest, empathetic, hard-working, organized, forward-thinking, open-minded, problem solver, servant leader.”

Hometown: Marietta, GA

Family Members: Wife Stacy, son Chris (20), daughter Anna (18)

Fun fact about yourself: Most people are surprised to learn that I’m a drummer. I started playing drums many years ago when I was in the fifth grade. I’ve played drums weekly at my church for over 10 years now. I also play in an acoustic trio performing at wineries across north Georgia.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Southern Polytechnic State University, Bachelor of Science in Management of Technology

Where are you currently working? Senior Program Manager, Industry Solutions Engineering in Financial Services at Microsoft

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Executive MBA Student Council
  • Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Executive MBA Student Ambassador
  • Founder of CANES Job Search and Networking Group

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? After experiencing a layoff just before the COVID-19 pandemic, I created a LinkedIn group called CANES focused on helping people with their job search activities and providing networking opportunities. We met weekly via Zoom calls.

Through word of mouth, the group quickly grew to over 100 members with minimal recruiting efforts. Recruiters and other presenters asked to join our calls. While I’ve reduced my contribution to CANES over the last two years, members continue to thank me for helping them during their time of need. It was an extremely rewarding experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My entire career has been spent in the software industry (approximately 28 years), working at startups, enterprise giants, and everything in between. I consider Microsoft the pinnacle of software companies, and I’m proud to work for such a great company. In my current role, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of Microsoft’s strategic customers such as General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and UBS on innovative and collaborative development projects.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I studied Management of Technology at Southern Polytechnic State University, but I’ve considered myself to be a Yellow Jacket by marriage for many years. My wife, Stacy, is an alumna of the Georgia Tech College of Business (MSM ’98). Additionally, both of our children are enrolled at Georgia Tech this year. My son, Chris, is in his second year studying Industrial Engineering (ISyE) and my daughter, Anna, is a first-year Biology major. When I decided to pursue my MBA, the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business was the only logical choice.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? With limited time and many competing priorities, organizational skills are a must. Out of necessity, I’ve never been so organized in my life! It is also critical to break down larger assignments into smaller tasks that can be completed over time. It has been helpful to apply these skills to my work life as well.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? Juggling the demands of a full-time job, a family, and an Executive MBA (EMBA) can be challenging. Prior to starting the EMBA program, I reduced my volunteer commitments and planned to spend less time on hobbies. It is critical to be organized in order to keep up with assignments and exams. Each semester, I created a plan using Microsoft Planner so I would know when each assignment was due.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? You’ll need to be intentional about prioritizing your personal, work, and school commitments. Think about how you will organize your schoolwork and keep track of your deadlines. (I recommend Microsoft Planner.) Be sure you know how to use online collaboration tools like OneDrive. Finally, take advantage of office hours and read the syllabus!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Between work, school, and family commitments, I fully expected to have no time for social activities. However, I’ve realized that social activities with my classmates are amazing opportunities for networking and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I’ve completed 50% of my MBA, and I have no regrets so far. My only regret is that I didn’t pursue my MBA sooner.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I could literally pick anyone in my cohort and write about why I admire them, but Njeri Gachaugo stands out as someone I truly admire. She provides insightful contributions in class regardless of the subject. She has a great personality and is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The networking aspect of an MBA program is extremely valuable, so I didn’t seriously consider online options. As a seasoned management professional entering the later stages of my career, I wanted to complete my MBA as quickly as possible to maximize the ROI. The Scheller Executive MBA was attractive to me since it only takes 17 months to complete the program.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’m very fortunate to work at one of the best companies on the planet, Microsoft. I came into the EMBA program with an open mind to learn more about myself—not only what I’m good at, but what I enjoy doing. Whatever I end up doing, I want to contribute to impactful work and make a difference. What and where that will be is unclear, but I’m enjoying the ride!

What made Greg such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Greg Gibbs is a superstar student and an incredible addition the Scheller Executive MBA program. Every class, he brings his wealth of experience as a senior program manager at Microsoft into class discussion. He is widely regarded among his peers in the program as a servant leader, a problem solver, and a great communicator. In my core finance class, he was able to relate class content to current events in a way that benefitted everyone in the class. I can’t wait to see what Greg accomplishes next in his career!”

Jonathan Clarke, PhD
Senior Associate Dean of Programs
Scheller College of Business
Georgia Tech


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