GBL Interview with Julie Barefoot: 30 Years with GBS (Part 2)

Julie Barefoot is Associate Dean of Engagement and Partnerships at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and has led the 100th Anniversary Celebrations at the school. During her 31+ years at Emory, Julie has held many positions including Associate Director of Admissions (both BBA and MBA), Director of MBA Admissions and management of Student and Career Services, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions, and Associate Dean of MBA Admissions before accepting her current role as Associate Dean of Engagement and Partnerships.

This interview is captured in a two-part series. Read part one here – GBL Interview with Julie Barefoot: The Goizueta Business School’s Corporate Memory (Part 1).

You were the recipient of the Donald R. Keough Award of Excellence. Could you tell us more about that?

Yes, I was so very proud to be the first recipient of this award – and then to receive it for the 2nd time about 10 years later. Then in 2009, along with Andrea Hershatter, I received the Staff Impact Award at the business school’s 90th anniversary celebration. Andrea and I started working at the school just a few months apart, so this was especially meaningful – a wonderful reminder of how life comes around full circle.

Can you tell us more about how you conduct interviews in your admissions role?

In order to be an effective interviewer, you do need to know what is going on in the business world and with companies. Students are working for large businesses, they need to have a good grasp on challenges companies facing. If a student told us they wanted to be a consultant, I would ask them what they would you tell the CEO they need to be thinking about for the coming 2-3 years. How a student answered this question could be useful for the admissions interview evaluation process, helping us to discern who might have capability to be a good problem.

You have done a lot of traveling for GBS over the years. Could you tell us a little about these trips – both U.S. and international?

Much of the traveling that the Admissions team does is to U.S. cities, attending MBA Fairs. We are there representing GBS, but we are also getting the pulse of what’s going on in other schools, talking to our colleagues. Over the years, we have developed deep friendships with admissions folks at other schools as a result of these visits. And, over the years, the number of fairs has really grown exponentially to the point that it is not even possible to attend all the MBA fairs out there. We have to be as many places as possible, but be smart about the selections and to go to cities/markets where GBS has good traction. 

For the past 20 years, I was the main recruiter for admissions for Japan and Korea, where I would travel to recruit sponsored MBA students from leading companies. Dean James has asked me to continue to play this role as I have formed deep relationships going back 20 years with some of the top companies, including LG and Samsung. I travel there for about 2 weeks every October. 

Any travel survival tips you would like to share?

It is a long and arduous trip to Asia and I’ve tried every tip for managing the jet lag. Honestly, I’ve just learned to power through it. I force myself to get on the schedule right away. On the plane, I drink lots of water and I try to be exhausted when I board so I will sleep.

My main tips? Get on schedule/time right away. Just power through.

I stay very busy on the trip. There are corporate visits all day interspersed with interviews, and at night I am hosting alumni events or completing interview evaluations. All these activities keep me busy and help keep me awake.

What have been some of your favorite culinary experiences during your travel?

I grew up as an army brat in small towns in America so my food exposure was very limited. Travel has greatly expanded my food interests and I’ve become a real foodie. I love shabu-shabu in japan. It’s a very expensive meal, a real treat; I make sure to indulge at least once each trip to Tokyo. I also love sushi and some of my favorite memories in Tokyo revolve around visiting fish markets at 4 am when they first open – it’s like going back 350 years in time. I also love Korean food, especially how they prepare barbecue at your table. I also love pumpkin porridge. Our alums know I love it and always try to take me somewhere that it is served. 

What is your favorite business book and why?

I’m really more of a fiction reader; To Kill a Mockingbird, Sophie’s Choice, and The Secret Life of Bees are some of my favorites. They are so beautifully written, you can literally visualize everything and the characters are so well-developed.

But on regular basis, I read murder mysteries and I also love to watch tv shows with detectives. JK Rowling’s new mystery books, The Cormoran Strike, written under the pseudonym John Galbraith, are lots of fun with well-developed characters.

On business side, I like Blink. I am an obsessive reader of the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Forbes. I love to stay in tuned with what going on in business world. There was a running joke in the Admissions Office that Julie is constantly on the hunt for the WSJ so she can read it over lunch.

What 3 words would you use to describe the business librarians

Community, caring, and relevant. GBS Alums mention community, GBS’ caring nature, people going the extra mile – I’ve heard so many stories about the lengths we go to help our students, which really stays with people. It’s what they remember after they graduate.

Relevant – curriculum is relevant to what our graduates need to know. This is evidenced by how much our grads are sought after by companies. Our students are learning what is relevant, learning to be nimble thinkers with good communication skills, to be good problem solvers. The business librarians contribute to all of this.

Any final thoughts?

Reflecting on all of this has been great fun for me. I do feel incredibly fortunate that I had this marvelous opportunity 30 years ago to get this job and to start here at GBS. My relationships with my staff, colleagues, and faculty are some of the most meaningful of my life and I do consider many of them dear friends. All of it has been very heartwarming. In my new role, they are very excited for me, that I get to do this. It’s humbling.