Executive MBA Graduate Sharpens Impact as Civic Leader
Carmen Chubb is Chief of Staff for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 14, 2020) — Earning her Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from Kennesaw State University has Carmen Chubb believing in herself more than ever, especially considering the circumstances under which she completed it.
Chubb, the chief of staff for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, wrapped up a rigorous final semester at KSU that involved three complex team projects, including one assignment with counterparts from Romania to enhance global business skills. She did that while maintaining her regular job duties in the midst of helping navigate one of the nation’s largest cities through the coronavirus response.
“My mantra for this semester was, if I can finish my MBA under these circumstances, I can do anything,” Chubb said. “The final semester is the most challenging and, at the same time, my work requires my full attention from sunup to sundown. Thankfully, I wake up before the sun comes up and could get my schoolwork done before the day starts or before the night ends.”
Chubb was in her second semester of the Coles College of Business’ Executive MBA program when Bottoms appointed her as chief of staff in February 2019. Chubb serves as one of the highest-ranking advisors to the mayor, overseeing key city functions, top personnel, policy and legislative matters.
“Making that change when I was so early in the EMBA program was a leap of faith, but I recognized that an opportunity like this comes only once in a lifetime,” Chubb said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would get the opportunity to work at this level to support a person for whom I have such respect and admiration. My husband, family, friends and my KSU teammates gave me their full support and encouragement.”
Prior to being named Bottoms’ chief of staff, Chubb was with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for 25 years, most recently as deputy commissioner for housing. Chubb oversaw all statewide programs and resources for affordable housing, and under her leadership, Georgia maintained a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s on its housing bonds. She received a lifetime achievement award for leadership in affordable housing from Smith’s Research and Gradings.
Though she already was enjoying an accomplished career, Chubb said she wanted to earn a Master of Business Administration to “open doors to community leadership and professional growth.” Chubb chose Kennesaw State’s Executive MBA in part because the program is recognized as a national leader, including being ranked as the top EMBA in Georgia and No. 3 in the United States by CEO Magazine.
“I can see the benefits to my career already from my experience at KSU,” Chubb said. “As a result of our cohort being diverse and representing professionals of different ages, backgrounds and industries, I was able to learn about things that matter to people across different places and stages of life. Not to mention the financial acumen that I have developed, which has sharpened my understanding and impact in my previous and current roles.”
Chubb also was drawn to the program’s commitment to developing teamwork and leadership. As evidenced by Chubb’s three group projects this semester, the Coles College EMBA is team-based to promote collaboration, decision-making, resourcefulness, ingenuity and entrepreneurship.
Chubb welcomed the academic rigor both in her individual work and on complex team assignments, which she credits with helping her adapt to the learning and working styles of her team and becoming a better colleague and leader. Chubb was up to the challenge, earning her Executive MBA with a 4.0 grade point average and an invitation to join the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society.
“I keep telling myself I will be so happy about graduating, and that is true, but I also will miss the challenge that I have experienced in this program,” Chubb said. “I already have asked myself how I will make sure I continue to learn new things that are not in my environment.”
– Paul Floeckher