Jennifer L. Preyss

Editor’s note: This Q&A is sponsored by Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.

Name: Jennifer L. Preyss

City and state where you’re from: Marietta, Ga.

Employer and title (if applicable): The Victoria Advocate: Religion and Features Editor; Editor-in-Chief, GC Magazine

Global Atlanta: What made this program right for you? Why did you choose the MIB instead of an MBA or another business degree at a different institution?

Ms. Preyss: I always say the religion beat developed in me a love for people, and while working as a city magazine editor I developed a love for business. This degree put those two passions together.

When I was promoted to editor-in-chief of GC Magazine, the Advocate‘s in-house magazine, it became clearer that while I had generally mastered print and multimedia journalism, I was lacking needed business skills to optimize the operations and revenue side of publishing a magazine. I realized if I were to ever pivot away from reporting, editing or creative directing, my skills would be contained to a limited, lateral career path.

While some questioned my decision to pursue a business degree, I picked up the material quickly and excelled in the MIB program. I’m convinced more than ever that a crossover needs to occur between communication, media and business.

I considered other business schools and MBA programs in Georgia, but the MIB continued to surface as my top choice. Its one-year format, challenging curriculum, Buckhead location, and price tag were all attractive components. Georgia State was also my undergraduate alma mater, and in many ways, I wanted to return to my beloved Panthers.

Global Atlanta: How important was it — from a cost and time perspective — that the degree is only one year? –

Ms. Preyss: For me, it was the one of the most important factors. While enrolled in MIB, I opted for a graduate research position that helped defray costs. I also continue to work at the Advocate as its religion editor, which I can fortunately do from afar.

My goal was to get through graduate school as quickly as possible with as little debt as possible, and transition back into the workforce within a few weeks of graduation. The MIB is challenging, and has remained a juggling act over the past year. But the year-long format gave me the peace of mind I needed to stay on track.

What drew you to Georgia State and convinced you that this program was the right type of learning environment for you, both from an academic perspective and looking at the city of Atlanta?

I grew up in Marietta, Ga., so Atlanta has always been home base. Returning after a 10-year absence, and now living in Buckhead has been a real pleasure for me and my husband, a Tunisian immigrant who enjoys living in a walkable city as much as I do. 

We are now considering Buckhead as a possible long-term residence, which we never would have if I wasn’t attending the Buckhead campus. Atlanta has changed substantially since I lived here more than a decade ago, but the city seems to be thriving, growing and attracting a premier global community that will inevitably continue to bring a steady stream of economic development and international diversity to the city. 

Global Atlanta: Which programmatic aspects of the MIB do you feel are the most unique and beneficial for your real-world career?

The cohort format with its tremendous variety of international students provides a unique space to discuss and solve problems, both real and imagined. I enjoyed watching our classmates intermingle, dialogue about the world and its varying cultures from their own lens, and form enduring friendships with classmates they may have not otherwise pursued outside the classroom.

By creating a purposefully less-homogeneous space, the MIB cohort serves as a petri dish for human interaction, allowing us all to test our international team and collaborative skills, working across cultures as well as among them, to complete a task.

I also took an entrepreneurship class, where I had the opportunity to use class time to research a real start-up idea that I hope to bring to the market next year with two of my classmates. I met one of them, a student from Kenya, on the bus ride down to the Port of Savannah, and fleshed out the idea there.

Now armed with the MIB, what’s your next move? 

In addition to graduating with the MIB, I have spent months obtaining professional certifications in human resources management and product management, and taken additional courses in Six Sigma, advanced excel and marketing.

My goal is to lead a communications department for an international nonprofit or corporation in the Atlanta area, or teach business communications at a Georgia university. I will continue cover religion for the Victoria Advocate on a contract basis, and work toward rolling out a new startup idea conceptualized while enrolled in the MIB.

I also look forward getting back on the speaking trail, teaching and leading educational workshops on international religion and culture and how to better understand and work effectively alongside our global communities.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...