The Grad Post, Spring 2020, Double Eagle Spotlight, Maria Laurato
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but only lived the life of a beach baby for two years before my family moved to Tampa, Florida. We moved again when I was ten, and I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana until I headed to the ‘Boro for college.
Q: What brought you to Georgia Southern for your first degree?
A: I was recruited to play softball at Southern. I honestly hadn’t even heard of Georgia Southern when the coaches reached out to me, but after visiting campus on an official recruitment trip my mind was made up. The second I stepped foot on campus I knew this was the place for me – everything just felt right. The campus was beautiful, and everyone I spoke with – faculty, staff, administration, and students – were so welcoming and all seemed to share the same sentiment, that Georgia Southern was a special place. Joining a community that cared so deeply for its students and their success definitely made going off to college 10 hours away from my family a much easier decision.
Q: Why did you choose to stay at Georgia Southern?
A: I had the most unbelievable undergraduate experience at Georgia Southern, and when graduation rolled around, I couldn’t imagine leaving! Discussions I had with my professors solidified my desire to pursue an advanced degree in business and to continue to interact with these professors who really challenged me and stretched my thinking. I was also awarded a Graduate Assistantship with the softball team, which was the cherry on the cake for me.
Completing the M.B.A. program was not the end of my journey at Georgia Southern. After six years as a student, I transitioned into the role of professional on campus working in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. My time in admissions afforded me the opportunity to work alongside other alumni who shared my same passion for Georgia Southern and its student-centered focus.
Q: Which degrees have you earned?
A: I earned my B.B.A. in Marketing in 2007 and my M.B.A. in 2010. I recently went back to law school and graduated with my J.D. from Savannah Law School in May 2019.
Q: Where are you now, and how has your education at Georgia Southern helped you get there?
A: I am an attorney currently working as a judicial law clerk with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Connecticut. By laying the foundation for strategic decision making and building important skills through team presentations, networking opportunities, and data and case analysis, my M.B.A. from Georgia Southern has been extremely beneficial in leading to new opportunities and opening up doors, especially post-law school. An attorney with an M.B.A. is able to provide a broader strategic perspective and a unique insight on organizational behavior that can provide important value to both the firm they work for and the clients they work with. I know my M.B.A. from Georgia Southern has given me an extremely valuable competitive edge.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a Double Eagle?
A: Being a Double Eagle is a point of pride. Its membership includes some of my very best friends and an amazingly diverse and impressive group of individuals who share a passion for the institution that helped shape our future.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: That’s the million-dollar question right now! Once my judicial clerkship wraps up, I’ll be looking to combine my business and legal backgrounds and get into commercial litigation. One thing’s for sure – there will definitely be some trips back down south to see those Eagles in Paulson!
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