Office of Communications & Marketing
Robinson College of Business
ATLANTA – Alumni, students, faculty, and administrators of the Executive MBA program (EMBA) of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business celebrated its 40th anniversary at a gala dinner held February 25.
Odie Donald II (EMBA ’12) delivered the evening keynote. Donald, who is chief of staff for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, recalled starting his Georgia State journey as a young child who came to campus when his mother, Claire Donald (Criminal Justice ’90), attended classes. A double-degree Panther (he earned his B.B.A. in 2003), Donald attributes much of his success to his experiences and connections at Georgia State.
“The call to support Georgia State is one that I take very seriously,” Donald said, explaining that the impact of the EMBA program was far-reaching and multi-faceted, providing him the opportunity to hone skills ranging from conflict resolution to tying a bowtie. “The lessons I learned [in the EMBA program] are the cornerstone of how I work with cities across the country to become more fiscally responsible.” After having served in nine different municipalities, Donald is proud to be back in Atlanta. “There is no greater honor than serving in my hometown,” he said.
In presenting this year’s EMBA Faculty Recognition award, Pam Woods (EMBA ’22) thanked recipient Professor Vince Giovinazzo for creating a class environment where accounting was made accessible to all students.
Giovinazzo, who began teaching at Georgia State in 1976 said, “One of the most fulfilling parts of my 47-year career has been working with EMBA students, who are not just wanting to survive a course requirement but are interested in learning the practical applications of accounting. EMBA students have increased my own knowledge of accounting by asking questions that I didn’t have the answers to.”
In addition to classroom teaching, Giovinazzo accompanied more than 10 EMBA cohorts on their overseas residencies. He thanked students for sharing the classroom with him, “It was just plain fun,” he said.
Dean Richard Phillips delivered closing remarks, focusing on the distinguishing attributes of the Robinson Executive MBA. “Innovation has long been the ‘secret sauce’ of our EMBA success.” He applauded EMBA alumni for “having the courage to lead authentically and grow in vulnerability.” Phillips also congratulated current students for the impact they are having on the program, adding, “This event is an opportunity to remind ourselves why this program exists and what we all stand for.”
The 17-month Robinson College Executive MBA creates executive leaders who can respond to the complex issues facing businesses, develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to recognize and pursue business opportunities, build effective teams and integrate functions, and cultivate and apply global competencies during an international residency. Students work with a personal leadership coach to identify their current leadership attributes, determine skills needed to reach their goals, and develop a plan to realize their potential. Learn more about the Executive MBA program at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business at https://robinson.gsu.edu/emba.
Photo: Pamela Woods (EMBA ’22), Odie Donald II (EMBA ’12), Sevgin (Sevo) Eroglu, (associate professor of international business, retired), and an unidentified gala attendee