Student Spotlight – Myisha Gatson

Quickfire Questions

Name: Myisha Gatson
Year: First
Campus: DC Weekend
Company: EngineBlox and Pearl LTC Solutions
Title/Role: Managing Director (EngineBlox) and President & CEO (Pearl LTC Solutions)
Hometown/Current Town: Stockton, CA/Purcellville, VA
Alma Mater(s): Stanford University & New York University (Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service)
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
Favorite Travel Destination: Bora Bora (I haven’t been yet, but it is at the top of my list!)
Favorite Book: The System
Favorite Movie: It used to be The Color Purple, but now it’s Black Panther
Favorite Song/Artist: I have to choose one?! My top five are Jill Scott, Rachelle Farrell, Amel Larrieux, Ledisi and Bilal.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: This is Us, Stranger Things
Dream Job: Philanthropist, Investor and Entrepreneur
Favorite Podcast: This week in Startups, PulseCheck, Joel Osteen, Oprah Super Soul Conversations
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Wine (shipped directly to me from Napa!); I can’t live without my family #TeamGatson all the way!

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to earn an MBA? How did you decide Smith was the right place to earn your MBA? Let’s face it – a graduate degree is a signal to the market about your qualifications. Because all of my studies were focused on non-profit management and policy, I felt I had a disadvantage switching into the business world although my skill sets are applicable. There were also concepts I wanted to understand like financial markets, investments and business valuations that an MPA did not teach me. I knew that as a mother of two small kids, there was no way I could go into a full-time program and I was drawn to the variety of options available through the UMD program – nights, weekends, and in a variety of locations – so I took the big leap and applied. Smith was the only school I applied to. My prayer was that if this was the right move for me that God would open the door and he did!

You already have one master’s degree. What did you earn it in? How will you use it with your MBA? My first graduate degree is a Masters in Public Administration in Health Policy and Administration. While there is some overlap, I think the degrees complement each other well in that I will have a balance between knowing policy, non-profit management and now business management. I am in the process of building a long-term care company so the mix of the two degrees is already working as I establish my business in the health care sector.

Earning an MBA is pretty time intensive, how have you managed the workload with raising a family?  The only way I can do it is with the full support of my husband and kids. My husband leans in when I need the time to study or go to class and my kids understand that when mommy has homework or needs to go to school they might not see me, but I always make it up to them later. 🙂

What has been your favorite class since starting your MBA last year? Why? My favorite class so far has been the marketing management class, even though it was a lot of work, the material we learned was easily applied in real time. I had a group that agreed to use my business for our final project, which helped me gain extra clarity in how to distill my complex product down to its bare bones for marketing purposes.

What do you like best about the DC Weekend cohort? We have a small cohort, which means it is easy to get to know my classmates. I think we are a pretty tight knit group that I hope will stay in contact well beyond our time.