Love is in the air, and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for one of our favorite annual traditions. This Valentine’s Day, we’re catching up with some of Goizueta Business school’s alumni couples. This year’s lovebirds include both friends who met in class and those who love sparked from a spontaneous meeting years later. Celebrate love with Goizueta as we share these love stories from members of the Goizueta community.
Andrew Rodbell 04MBA, co-founder of Post Meridiem Spirit Company, and Jessica Myers Rodbell 04MBA, managing director of World 50 Group, met during welcome week in the spring of 2002 as they began their journey through Goizueta’s two-year MBA program. While there were some initial sparks, the two remained friends for some time before becoming a couple.
“I am not typically one to give advice about relationships,” says Andrew. “If pressed, I would say there are no secrets in business school. You may want to keep a relationship private in the beginning. You can try. Just know you aren’t fooling anyone.”
Jessica agrees: “Business school is an amazing experience, but an intense one. You are together with your groupmates and classmates all the time—it’s a bit of a fishbowl. It’s hard to keep a new relationship low profile. Everyone notices and wants to know what’s going on…even if you’re still figuring it out yourselves.”
The Rodbells took this “fishbowl experience” in stride, using the time with classmates to get to know one another more.
“We loved Thursdays, which typically started at courtyard KEGS and turned into fun evenings with many friends from our class. Additionally, we really enjoyed traveling abroad during the lead weeks (an experiential learning opportunity for MBA students at Goizueta now known as Global Experiential Modules). Most notably we both joined the lead week trip to China our first year, which gave us some familiarity with the country and a reason to say “yes” when Jess was offered a one-year work assignment in Beijing five years later.”
While the couple still enjoy traveling and exploring new cultures, these days they’re more home-bound. With three children under 12—who they describe as “the world’s worst travelers”—the pair plans to renew their passports when the kids are older.
The NYC Meet-Cute
Mike Rothbart 08BBA, principal senior research analyst at Goldentree Asset Management, and Allison Rothbart 11BBA barely gave each other a second glance while in Goizueta’s undergraduate BBA program. They both competed on Emory’s track team. Allison says she still recalls the time Mike dressed up in a speed suit at the end of cross country season his senior year. But it wasn’t until they ran into one another in New York City years later that the real attraction sparked. They both showed up to watch Emory compete in the University Athletic Association Indoor Championships—and started dating immediately.
“Go for it if it feels right and you think you’ve met the right person,” the Rothbarts share. “Many of our friends met their spouses in college and are still happily married today. But, don’t force it. Life is long, and you have plenty of time to learn, grow, and meet new people.”
“The Emory and Goizueta community is amazing. What worked for us was staying connected to our shared passions of running and exercise,” the couple advises. “The Emory alumni community is very diverse. Use it to connect with folks who have a shared passion, whatever that may be.”
Now the Rothbarts have two children, but they still make it a point to spend date nights together taking long walks around Central Park and having dinner. “We enjoy spending some quality time together, decompressing, and, of course, looking at pictures of our kids while we don’t have to take care of them,” they joke.
Evening MBA Sweethearts
Carey Smith-Marchi Moede 09C 16EvMBA and Jake Moede 16EvMBA, global head of demand planning excellence for Bayer AG, met in class during their first year in the Evening MBA program. However, they didn’t start to build a deeper friendship until their second year when they landed in the same small group in a marketing class.
“When I first met Jake, I appreciated how smart and kind he was. As I got to know him, I saw how he supported and interacted with his friends, family, community, and me. I fell in love with him more and more,” says Carey, a wealth digital strategy manager for Truist Wealth.
Their attraction grew stronger the more time they spend together, including traveling with classmates. The pair still enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, searching for their next favorite wine—and spending time with their two-year-old son, who will soon become an older sibling.
To students who are considering dating while in graduate school, the Moedes say go for it. “The risk is absolutely worth the reward. It will get hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Be transparent with your partner about your goals for school and career as your relationship evolves. Regardless of how it ends up, you can respect and support one another in your personal and professional pursuits.”
Keep the love going this Valentine’s Day and beyond. Support the stories of future Goizueta students with a gift to the 2O36 campaign.