Garrett Cathcart 18EMBA

As our nation and Emory University celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, this month is a time to remember the military personnel—active duty and veterans—who have stepped forward to serve. We talked to one of those service members, a Goizueta alumni, to have them share insights and how their Goizueta experience and military journey still impacts life and work today.

Garrett Cathcart 18EMBA
Garrett Cathcart 18EMBA

Garrett Cathcart 18EMBA
Executive Director
Mission Roll Call

Garrett Cathcart 18EMBA is an Army veteran who served as a Cavalry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2015, he left a corporate role in Los Angeles to help lead a nonprofit in Atlanta. Since then, he’s become deeply connected to the Atlanta community and co-found Mission Roll Call and 550 Capital Partners after earning his Executive MBA at Goizueta.

What is Your rank in the military?  What element of the military journey do you still use today in life or work?
I’m currently a Major in the Army Reserves, and I serve as an associate professor at Georgia Tech for ROTC—which includes students from Emory.

A shura is a meeting of the tribes. Here, Garrett Cathcart is in a remote area to discuss Taliban surrender terms.
A shura is a meeting of the tribes. Here, Garrett Cathcart is in a remote area to discuss Taliban surrender terms.

I’ve always taken the leadership component with me from my military experience. If you can bring people together to achieve a common goal, you will be successful in any field. Leaders are built, and their makeup consist of the culmination of experience, mentorship, and a self-awareness around who you are and what values you hold.

Who inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by all kinds of people every day. They don’t necessarily have to be the person in a high-profile role, but anyone who masters their craft, helps others to grow and develop, or lifts others up. I think we can learn something from everyone we meet.

How did Goizueta prepare you for the field you are in today?

Goizueta gave me the foundation, framework, tools, and network to take advantage of some pretty incredible opportunities. The wide range of coursework helped me to begin to understand so many things I had never been exposed to before. Gaining this knowledge increased my ability and my confidence. Shortly after graduation, I was asked to create a whole new way to develop policy at a nonprofit as well as to co-found a venture capital firm focused on veteran-owned companies.

What was your favorite course at Goizueta? 

That’s a great question. I’d probably have to say Organizational Leadership or the Strategy classes. Big decisions and senior leadership have always fascinated me. It wasn’t a course, but I had a great time working in leadership at the Emory Veterans Association as well.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received, in business or life?

Always be clear on what you want and need from people. To be unclear is to be unkind. It works for business and life!

Is there a lasting lesson, memory, or skill gained from business school that you particularly remember or credit your success to?

The global business and social impact courses stand out to me. It was so amazing to travel the world with my classmates, meet international business leaders, and create some amazing memories. We built some pretty strong bonds, and it solidified what we were already doing—cooperate and graduate. We had such an incredible diversity of backgrounds; it was incredible to be in small study groups and learn from everyone. Someone would always have experience in whatever we were working on, and that person would step up and lead. Then on another occasion, when it came to a totally different problem set, someone else would step up to lead. I really loved that.

What advice do you have for today’s business students?

Take the time to invest in your classmates. Build relationships, help each other with course work, and enjoy this experience. I think you’ll find the most enduring part of Goizueta are the relationships you’ve built while you are here.

Please describe some professional and personal goals.

I’m always redefining my goals. For now, I’d love to scale my veteran nonprofit work at Mission Roll Call and help some really great companies with 550 Capital. I’d like to get more involved in the city of Atlanta as well—I really love this city.