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Building relationships key to future success for Goizueta student

By Gretchen Wright | Emory Report | May 4, 2020

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Lauded as both a serious scholar and the leader of the largest extracurricular club at Goizueta Business School, BBA graduate Michael Battat seeks to prove “the nice guy does not always finish last.”

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“At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they remember how you made them feel.” Michael Battat continues to hear his mother repeat those famous words from Maya Angelou — advice he has not only carried throughout his time at Emory, but that he plans to follow as he looks past his graduation.  

“I hope to be remembered as someone who interacted respectfully and with integrity, was available to help others and made them feel supported,” Battat says as he finishes his undergraduate degree from Goizueta Business School. “Perhaps more importantly, I hope that I inspired at least one other person to do the same. Succinctly, I hope to leave behind the precedent that the nice guy does not always finish last.”

Well-rounded experience

Studying at Goizueta exposed the Connecticut native to a diverse student body with a variety of opinions, backgrounds and majors.

“I am fortunate to graduate with a BBA while maintaining a firm foundation in the liberal arts due to Emory’s requirement of two years of undergraduate liberal arts study,” Battat says. “Not only do Goizueta students participate in a rigorous business curriculum, but they get to survey multiple disciplines that give them inspiration for ways in which they can apply it.”

His desire for a well-rounded education also stretched over to his extracurricular activities. He was active in several organizations across campus, including serving as president of the Goizueta Finance Group and Goizueta Investment Management Group. He also was involved in the Sophomore Finance Academy, the BBA Career Management Center, the Emory Student Ambassadors and was a teaching assistant and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

“Michael Battat is the living embodiment of the qualities we hope to find in a BBA student,” says Andrea Hershatter, Goizueta’s senior associate dean of undergraduate education and BBA program director. “He is a serious scholar who stands in the top 5 percent of the class, a dedicated leader who serves as president of the largest club in the school and a consummate professional who has made the most of every opportunity while simultaneously adding enormous value to the organizations he serves.”

Fostering strong connections

Among many skills and values Battat acquired while attending Emory was the importance of building and maintaining relationships.

“I have learned from studying business the link between the ways in which we interact, motivate and respect each other and an organization’s success,” he says. “I think it is vital to recognize that hard skills can only get you so far. It is equally as important to maintain strong relationships and to treat others with respect as it is to be proficient in Excel.” 

While many relationships are built with fellow students and connected alumni, one of Battat’s most valued relationships was with his favorite professor, Jeffrey Rosensweig.

“I have taught at Emory, and briefly at MIT and Yale, for 32 years,” says Rosensweig, associate professor of international business and finance. “Michael Battat is the first BBA I have chosen as my teaching assistant. Why? He has truly exceptional IQ and EQ, exhibiting technical brilliance, teamwork, integrity, maturity, communication skills and a can-do spirit.”

While Battat will take the hard skills he learned to his full-time job as an analyst at Perella Weinberg Partners in New York after graduation, he also will carry the priorities of treating others with respect and fostering strong connections.

“Looking back, I realize now that successes have the wonderful tendency to build upon themselves and can snowball into fantastic achievements,” Battat says. “This bleeds into adjacent advice, which is to surround yourself with people who share similar goals. I am so fortunate to have met people who shared a similar drive to be studious and to seek opportunities within campus organizations. They shaped my entire trajectory throughout college.”