Emily Batista (MSBA ‘18) and Sean Clune (MSBA ‘18) are the recipients of our 2023 alumni awards. Carrie Ross, associate director, School of Business Alumni Engagement, connects with Emily and Sean after their recognition.
Carrie: Emily, you won the Judson D. DeRamus Distinguished Alumni Award and Sean, you won the Center for Analytics Impact Award. Why do you think you were selected?
Emily: I enjoy fostering an environment of community, particularly with the things I choose to spend my time devoted to. I’ve always migrated to be a part of process improvements, specifically improving community engagement, even as far back as high school. When I receive emails from Wake Forest to help, I dive in and say yes! At the end of the day, the little things add up to a big impact and draw people closer together.
Sean: There’s a certain value proposition that the MSBA program has that I exemplify well. As alumni, we are really good at analytics and also really good at business. Then, we use both of those things together to drive results for whatever organization we work with. My story is exactly that. I perform the program fundamentals well, and I’ve seen huge results for my company as a result.
Carrie: Emily, you made plans to attend the awards reception to support Sean, then found out you were also being recognized for earning an award. For both of you, what was your reaction?
Emily: I was surprised and very honored to learn I was chosen as the DeRamus award winner. To hear the story of the DeRamus family and see the passion they have for honoring Judson’s legacy and embracing that spirit of community engagement gave me such a Pro Humanitate feeling. I’m excited I had the chance to learn more about the family during this process and am hopeful to see how this award continues in the future. I’m thrilled to be a part of this!
Sean: Having Emily there by my side winning her own award just made the night so much better! The experience was made greater by having friends from my MSBA cohort there at the alumni awards reception. It was certainly the high point of the weekend for me.
Carrie: Tell us about your experience at Alumni Weekend.
Emily: Wake Forest makes it so easy to learn. The continued education piece was a highlight for me. I value the opportunity to see familiar faces of faculty and staff who are continually vested in the Wake Forest business community; they remember your name six years later and show up on the weekend to engage with alumni! It’s a very special “Wake Forest thing” that you don’t find everywhere.
Sean: The campus is just so beautiful; I get such a sense of peace by physically being there. Friday night was great to reconnect with my classmates and meet new people. On Saturday, I really enjoyed the sessions I attended and the fact that they were forward-looking. Learning about hot topics of today from experts at the School of Business was a highlight.
Carrie: Why do you think alumni are important to the School of Business? Any advice for alumni to stay involved and connected to Wake Forest?
Sean: Make sure you are signed up for the School of Business alumni newsletter! That’s how you can stay connected and in the loop on what’s going on. And, simply make an effort. Stay connected to your classmates. Reach out every so often and find out what they are working on.
Emily: If you are lucky enough to be in NC or one of the bigger cities, there are many events and Wake Communities to stay plugged into. I would encourage alumni to have a vested interest in the wider Wake Forest network, not just the business school. As an example, I’ve enjoyed watching the Wake Forest baseball team on their winning streak this year. Don’t shy away from connecting; I’ve never met an alumnus who isn’t excited to meet a fellow Deac. To this day, I still carry my MSBA backpack in Charlotte – it’s an easy way to meet fellow Wake Foresters. A new opportunity I found recently was an alumni coffee chat where alumni are paired together, regardless of degree; I’ve really enjoyed meeting alumni and have made great connections.
Carrie: What are your next steps in the field of analytics? Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Sean: Personally, I’m a new dad of a seven-month old. The most exciting thing in my life is just watching him grow! And, of course, successfully juggling a career with also being a good father. I do have many ambitions in my career. I know I’m good at analytics, so my next challenge is working to become a better manager, hone my soft skills, build connections within my company and expand my scope. I hope to take on more business units and grow within my company, while maintaining a good work/life balance.
Emily: As of this week, I became a pod leader, with two analysts on my team. I’m learning different data because of the expanding scope and interactions with new business partners outside of analytics. Given the high turnover post-pandemic, we have a lot of junior analysts on our team. They either have solid experience on the business side but not the technical tools, or vice versa. I’m helping to teach junior colleagues, while also growing myself. Embracing the mentorship skill set and being a good teacher is the focus for the next five years of my career. I am on a solid path towards a managerial position at Wells Fargo.
Carrie: Any last thoughts?
Emily: I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the DeRamus family. I shed tears the night I accepted my award, but they were tears of immense gratitude!
Sean: I really enjoyed Alumni Weekend and am grateful for all the hard work that was done to put it all together. Thank you to the staff for the planning and execution!