2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Matthew De Geeter, Emory University (Goizueta)

Matthew De Geeter, ASID, LEED AP

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Age: 38

“An interior designer who pursued a non-profit management opportunity to positively impact a profession.”

Hometown: Morton, IL (currently Washington, D.C.)

Family Members:  Two parents, youngest of three children (sister is the oldest followed by my brother), sister is married to her husband and they have four children.

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve performed in an amateur drag pageant to an audience of nearly 3,000 attendees. Also, I was a drum major in high school and won a national march off.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Ball State University, Bachelor of Science with Honors in Interior Design (Dec. 2007)

Where are you currently working? Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Co-Chair of Social, Executive MBA Cohort Class of 2023 Officers (Feb. 2022 – May 2023)
  • Ball State University, R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture & Planning, Executive Advisory Board (Dec. 2019 to present) and Chair, Board Development and Awards Committee (Dec. 2022 to present)
  • Ball State University, R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture & Planning, Outstanding Alumni Award, May 2021
  • The Global Food Fund, Brand Manager (Mar. 2012 – Feb. 2015)
  • ASID National, Board of Directors, Director-at-Large (Oct. 2012 – Aug. 2013), Emerging Professionals Advisory Council, Chair (Oct. 2010 – Sept. 2012)
  • ASID Washington Metro Chapter, Milo Hoots Jr. ASID Leadership Award for Exemplary Dedication to the Society & Chapter, Sept. 2010
  • Vicki Wenger, FASID, Media Award for Exceptional Support of the Interior Design Profession & Presidential Citation, Sept. 2010
  • Ball State University, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences Alumni Society, Outstanding Senior for Excellence in Scholarship, Leadership, & Service, Apr. 2008
  • Ball State University, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, Evalena Snipes Award, Apr. 2008
  • ASID Indiana Chapter, Chapter Service Award, Sept. 2007
  • ASID Indiana Chapter, Student Representative to the Board (Oct. 2006 – Sept. 2007)
  • Ball State University ASID Student Chapter, President, (Academic Year 2006 – 2007)
  • ASID Indiana Chapter, Design Interaction Day Student, Chair (Academic Year 2006 – 2007)
  • Ball State University ASID Student Chapter, Vice President (Academic Year 2005 – 2006)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Completing a directed study with the guidance of Professor Robert Kazanjian. With my background in the professional practice of interior design, I researched and evaluated the profession’s evolving position in the built environment value chain. The education provided and resources available at Goizueta helped me analyze a series of connected industries, investigate the tensions and motivators between services, and discover opportunities for a profession’s future. The study took two semesters to complete conducting a literature review, interviewing a series of companies, and developing a recommendation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The moment when people begin to align around an idea, make it their own, and push it further. Changing a person’s perspective and where they focus their attention is an ongoing effort to then build momentum in a team and create a movement.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I have to select two professors, both from my first semester. From the first class, Usha Rackliffe taught our cohort more than accounting and financial reporting, she instructed us to be interesting and emphasized that people should remember you as an executive. Also, Robert Kazanjian taught the cohort the foundations of strategy which became the baseline framework that I used in every class. Without strategy, business does not exist.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose Goizueta because the admissions director was the first person who was brutally honest with me about my graduate school plans. At the time, I was focused on full-time MBA programs, and after a quick conversation, the director advised me to only consider executive MBA programs based on my experience, network, and career goals. Goizueta did not have an option that fit those needs. I took a pause and focused on my career after receiving a promotion. When I was ready to turn my attention back to MBA programs five years later, Goizueta had a hybrid executive MBA program which became my primary choice.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Learning the actual definition of strategy – where to compete and how to compete. The lesson was taught within the initial weeks of my first semester, and it impacted how I approached every other class. Strategy became the foundation for the rest of my education at Goizueta.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Many people from family, friends, colleagues, and my network asked this question. You will constantly be juggling all the aspects of your life before, during, and after business school. The cohort experience at Goizueta kept me motivated. With a peer network and team structure, we moved forward together, held each other accountable, and supported where needed. You begin the adventure of business school not realizing how much the cohort will help you to just keep going resulting in a network of peers who will collectively celebrate the wins of the cohort.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?

Take the time to reflect on why you need an executive MBA, why this is the right moment in your career, and what you intend to accomplish after you graduate. Keep in mind that once you begin a program, you will need to be flexible for all of those ideas to change – that means you are learning.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Going back to school will take up all your time – and it will. What you discover is that you find the time to complete the work. You also discover your priorities for your time and energy. The things that matter most to you will stay in your life, and other things may fall to the side.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Being too afraid of being wrong in the classroom. Classrooms are safe spaces to learn and make mistakes.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The Goizueta admissions team expertly puts together a group of individuals who have the potential to become a supportive cohort and the program experience makes it a reality. I admire so many of my classmates for a variety of reasons. I greatly admire Raynard Josephs, who is genuine, kind, and brave. Raynard is just a positive person to be around that has a way to empower others. Also, Raynard climbed Mount Kilimanjaro during the second semester of the program.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I chose an Executive MBA program because I wanted the hybrid cohort experience to hold me accountable, keep me motivated, and build genuine relationships. Also, my classmates in the Executive MBA program all brought their previous education and experiences into the classroom taking learning well beyond what was presented by professors.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term goal formed during my undergraduate experience at Ball State University studying interior design. I saw the power that design has in impacting behavior and shaping our experiences in the places we live, work, play, heal, and learn. Unfortunately, interior design is generally misunderstood as it is positioned between architecture and interior decoration. I have always wanted to positively impact the perceived value of the interior design profession. The profession is an underdog which keeps me motivated.

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

“Matt De Geeter is a selfless Executive MBA student who takes pride in sharing with his classmates and encouraging everyone to seek out diversity.  He is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), as well as an EMBA 2023 Class Officer – Social Chair for Hybrid Students.  As an EMBA leader, Mr. De Geeter was able to grow in his professional efforts while performing in the classroom.  He never hesitated to take on additional assignments, including an independent study project.  He became a trusted classmate within his cohort and devout contributor.”

Jaclyn Conner
Associate Dean of the Executive MBA Program
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School


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