Q&A: Nathan Rutledge (EMBA’22) on Balancing Time and Priorities

Photo of Nathan Rutledge, Executive MBA Student

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During the month of February, Georgetown McDonough joins the nation in commemorating Black History Month. To celebrate, we are spotlighting several of our exceptional Black students in the McDonough community who are creating impact and exemplifying the Georgetown spirit through their academics, careers, and personal lives. 

For Nathan Rutledge (EMBA’22), time management and teamwork are the keys to his success – both in his career and his personal life. We talked with the new father about his time in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program, his career ambitions, and how to balance work, academics, and family. 

Why did you choose to pursue your EMBA at Georgetown McDonough?

Pursuing an advanced degree, specifically an Executive MBA, was a priority. I believe I have the capacity to do a lot of things if I’m prepared with the right tools and approach for the problems that lay ahead of me.

I spent quite a bit of time looking into programs taught locally. Fortunately for me, a friend and colleague had enrolled in the program and had only good things to say about it.

What are your career goals? How has your experience at McDonough helped you achieve your professional goals?

Going into 2020, my career felt like it was moving in the right direction, but as I considered my future, I thought it was important to go through a rigorous business program. I believe that, more than anything else, my EMBA will provide me with a high degree of optionality throughout my career.

I want to serve as the chief financial officer of a publicly-traded company and ultimately run one – I love a challenge. More importantly, I would like to take advantage of opportunities to work with talented people involved in exciting work, as I do today at Navient. 

My work at Georgetown McDonough has shown me that having a solid, successful group is far more important than any individual achievement.

Are there any professors or mentors in the McDonough community that have made an impact on your experience at Georgetown?

I can think of several professors whose classes and coursework led to better decision-making and ultimately optimal outcomes in my job. 

During the last module, I reached out to Professor Jeanine Turner – who teaches our leadership communication course – for advice ahead of an earnings call and board presentation. Those are the sorts of interactions that you hope to have when you’re nervously writing an admissions essay.

Outside of your academics and career, are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

I like to play poker and travel – two things that I have been unable to do much of during the pandemic. 

Hands down, my favorite extracurricular activity is playing with my daughter, Lydia, who is now six months old. She’s a blast. At this point, we’re mostly just blowing raspberries at one another, but I’ll have her on a Bloomberg Terminal before you know it.

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?

For me, there is one overriding lesson from my time at Georgetown. Solving a problem is all about adequately managing my time and focus. At some point, everyone becomes completely overwhelmed by the EMBA workload, deliverables at work, and of course, obligations back home. While at Georgetown, I realized that I could jam several written assignments for school, prepare a rating agency presentation, and find time to read the baby books my wife bought me. 

The EMBA program is more than just a collection of classes – it’s a crucible that pushes you to find your limits so that you can move through them when it matters most.

Anything else you’d like to share about your story?

I would say that I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this program at this moment in time. My classmates are an extraordinary group of people, and it’s been an honor to develop friendships with many of them. When we started the program, the world was locking down, and it wasn’t clear that the economy would rebound. Coming out on the other side, our reward for taking that risk is an opportunity to participate in one of the strongest (and strangest) economies in at least a generation. That’s a solid risk-adjusted return, if you ask me.