FINDING THE VALUES IN BUSINESS
"Values define an organization and its people — and that’s something I learned at Emory."
For Casey Rhode 17BBA, growing up watching his father’s success as a nonprofit entrepreneur, he said in his mind, there was a strong distinction between the impact on society of for-profit organizations and the work of more people-centric nonprofits.
“Most of the impressions I had of business, in general, is that there was a difference between people pursuing business goals and those trying to do work that was values-based and focused on the improvement of the world,” Rhode mused. “One of the things I learned at Emory University, however, is that a for-profit business can be just as big a driver for good as a nonprofit.”
It was during the early years of his education that Rhode began to get a sense of how to blend the passion for doing good his upbringing had fostered with his desire to pursue a career in business. “When I was a sophomore, I had a transformative conversation with Andrea Hershatter, senior associate dean of undergraduate education,” Rhode recalled. “She was not looking to see if I was checking boxes in areas such as academics, athletics or extracurriculars. Andrea challenged me to dedicate myself to something that would leave an impact on Emory after I left.”
"Without fanfare or expectation of recognition, Casey amassed an astonishing array of accomplishments."
That new perspective drove Rhode to become involved with the Emory Impact Investing Group — an organization founded by three of his peers in 2014, and of which he served as CEO in 2016, raising nearly $50,000 in funds.
“EIIG partners with entrepreneurs in communities who don’t have access to the necessary financial resources or any traditional funding and provides low-interest loans in order to help these individuals start a small business,” Rhode explained. “It was eye-opening for me, experiencing how EIIG essentially bridges the gap between the concepts of operating a successful business that I was learning in business school and offering a valuable service which impacts people in our community in a meaningful way — just as I’d seen my dad’s nonprofit do. It showed me that I could use my ‘nonprofit values’ to make a difference in the business world.”
Rhode’s achievements both academically and personally during his undergraduate years didn’t go unnoticed. “Without fanfare or expectation of recognition, Casey amassed an astonishing array of accomplishments," Hershatter said. "Casey represents Goizueta, not only as a principled leader dedicated to service and a student who took full advantage of every educational opportunity but also as our most accomplished academic scholar, maintaining a perfect 4.0 over his academic career.”
“More important than the discipline that the sport instills in you, the invaluable lessons gained from the team dynamics and relationships has informed every aspect of both my work life and my personal life.”
A four-year member of Emory’s Cross Country team, Rhode noted how that experience has benefited him beyond college. “In running, your entire schedule, your entire life, revolves around the team. More important than the discipline that the sport instills in you, the invaluable lessons gained from the team dynamics and relationships has informed every aspect of both my work life and my personal life.”
Today, Rhode works as an investment banking analyst at Perella Weinberg Partners in New York and applies the same values-based passion for making a difference to his career as he did during his studies.
“Unlike the impressions I had about the business world that I had when I was growing up, I’ve realized you can find an organization’s values in every aspect of the business,” Rhode explained. “They’re in the way you feel about the work you’re doing, they’re in the people you’re working for, in the relationships you have with your co-workers, and they make up the work you produce. Values define an organization and its people — and that’s something I learned at Emory. I feel fortunate to work with people who I know share the same values that I do. We may work long hours, but I know we all support and care for not just each other as people, but also for the work we’re doing — and that makes a huge difference, whether the business is for-profit or nonprofit.”