2018 Best MBAs: Mahum Yunus, New York University (Stern)

Mahum Yunus

New York University, Stern School of Business

I’m a Pakistani-American on a quest for knowledge to make a meaningful positive impact.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Fun fact about yourself: I have never met anyone who can speak faster than me

Undergraduate School and Degree: Stanford University. Major: Science, Technology and Society

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Associate Consultant at Triage Consulting Group [Healthcare consulting company], Customer Success Manager at WalkMe [an Enterprise SaaS company]

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Google, New York City

Where will you be working after graduation? Senior Specialist Marketing for US Vaccines at Merck

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Kelly Kennedy Mack Scholarship (merit-based)
  • Co-chair of Diversity Committee on Student Government
    • Worked closely alongside the Senior Director of Student Life to revamp the structure of Stern’s Diversity and Inclusion training, which all first-year MBA students participate in
  • Graduate Ambassador for MBA Admissions office
  • VP of Admissions Stern Technology Association
  • VP of Admissions Entrepreneur and Startup Association
    • Created this position when it did not exist. Noticed a need to articulate Stern’s entrepreneurial resources, so I campaigned to create this Leadership Position on the club, and was recognized by the presidents as an insightful move because we saw a lot of incoming emails and interest from students.
  • Orientation captain for MBA1 class, featured speaker for MBA1 Class “Tales in Possible”
  • Selected for Leadership Fellows, an Executive leadership coaching program

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a co-chair of the Diversity Committee on Student Government, I worked with our administration’s Senior Director of Student Life to revamp our Diversity and Inclusion training. At NYU Stern, Diversity and Inclusion training is a mandatory part of the orientation experience for all first year MBA students. Based on feedback we received from our class experience last year, we worked closely with the school’s administration to change the structure of the event. We worked with a new organization to run the training, consulted with them to tailor it to the MBA experience, and made it a more interactive session. The goal was to give students an actionable toolkit to discuss and address issues around diversity and inclusion both during school and in the workplace. After working on the new event structure for months, I was really proud to be one of the facilitators for the workshop and see the positive response we received from the new MBA1 class about the value of the training.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As an Associate Consultant at Triage Consulting Group, we worked on projects for a variety of the nation’s leading hospital networks. We worked to identify issues in the hospital’s revenue cycle, and then worked to recover the funds and advise the hospital on how to address this issue moving forward. When looking through some past accounts, I discovered a pattern of incorrect reimbursement to the hospital. Upon doing some further research, I learned it had occurred due to a code classification in the contract. I aggregated the impact of this issue and presented it to our project leadership. This was flagged immediately to our client, and helped them recover $2 million in payments that were written off as lost revenue.

Why did you choose this business school? It was a priority for me to get real-world experience working with companies on their business problems – and not just in the summer of my MBA experience but throughout my two years. NYU Stern’s location at the heart of New York City places it right next to companies in every industry. I was confident that I could take the lessons learned in school from exemplary faculty, and apply them to help companies solve pressing business problems. In this way, my MBA learning would be experiential throughout the two years. The opportunities presented at NYU Stern helped me work with three different startups in my first year. I was able to try different roles, stretch myself and make more professional connections in my intended field. This gave me ample experience to draw on to help me thrive and stand out in my summer internship role.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?
NYU Stern’s MBA Program attracts students who can not only articulate how they can use the school’s resources to ignite their professional journey, but what experiences they bring to the classroom to shape their classmate’s learning. Given this, my advice would be to research all the opportunities unique to Stern that would propel you to success in your chosen field. I view the MBA program as a toolkit: if you are clear on what you want to build at the end of the two years, you can highlight what tools the school provides to help you create the best final product.

What was your biggest regret in business school? In the summer between my first and second year of the MBA program, I was asked to speak to the incoming MBA1 class about my experiences at Stern thus far. I had never spoken to an audience that large and was very nervous about it, but the administration encouraged me to share my story. I felt so proud after delivering that talk, and saw the value in being able to deliver meaningful presentations. After that experience, I committed to finding more opportunities to speak publicly to help me develop this skill set. My regret is that I didn’t embark on this mission sooner: in my first year, I was always nervous when it came time to deliver final presentations to large groups. It would have greatly benefitted me if I started building this skill sooner.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I really admire one of my classmates who I think has had a great impact in building a tight knit community here at Stern. In any response to political events in the news, she reached out to impacted students who vocalized their discomfort and offered herself as a resource to chat. She also was the first one to encourage classmates when they were nervous about trying something outside their comfort zone or wanted an extra pair of eyes to review resumes. This kind of attentiveness and empathy with her peers is truly admirable.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I deeply respect my father’s approach to problem solving. As a businessman, and business owner, he has had to face many difficult decisions. He has shared how crucial it is to understand not just the business, but the people with whom you conduct business. He showed me how success in business truly requires a multi-disciplinary understanding: it requires you to wield skills from various disciplines at different times to manage and grow your company. You have to be agile and continue to exercise your knowledge in each field to stay competitive. He has used these skills to not only start and grow a successful business, but to find creative ways to create positive social change. I came to business school to improve my multi-disciplinary understanding of business, strengthen it in places where I was confident, and especially build it in places where I was not. This will help give me the strongest possible problem-solving toolkit as I continue my professional journey.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at a startup in Silicon Valley and finding ways to expand my business knowledge by working with clients in various industries.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • I want to pitch an idea on Shark Tank
  • See the Northern Lights

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A great person to have on your team; committed to getting the job done and having a sense of humor while doing it.

What would your theme song be? “My Shot” from Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda: “just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry”

Favorite vacation spot: There’s a place in San Francisco called Lands End: it’s a short hike at the edge of the city and within the same place you can see forest trees, mountains, sand and ocean. It’s beautiful.

Hobbies? I enjoy watching documentaries, baking, sugar sculpting to decorate cakes, and any kind of DIY artistic project

What made Mahum such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018? “Mahum Yunus is a second-year MBA candidate at NYU Stern, who came to Stern with an entrepreneurial mindset and the goal of working for a startup or technology company. Mahum has taken advantage of every opportunity at Stern and created her own opportunities that would help her reach her goals and develop skills to be an empathetic leader.

Mahum has been involved in many experiential learning programs and extra-curricular activities at NYU Stern. Our office had the pleasure of working her in various capacities within her first year. I first met Mahum when she participated in our start-up industry immersion program. I could tell immediately how resourceful she was and knew she would be successful in her career. Mahum took advantage of everything entrepreneur-related in order to learn as much as possible and set herself up for success. In her second semester, she was selected to participate in a class called Tech and the City: Customer-Centric Digital Entrepreneurship in NYC. She worked in a team to help a technology startup in NYC figure out how to create and extract value for its employees. Her experiences and resourcefulness throughout her first year helped her land her dream summer internship at Google.

In addition to getting hands-on experience in the tech space, Mahum is the co-chair of the Diversity Committee. Her ability to connect with everyone has helped her excel in this position. Mahum planned and facilitated our Inclusive Leadership day: an entire day for new students that focuses dialogue on identity, diversity, and inclusion and the importance of these values in our community.

Mahum is among the most empathetic and mature leaders of her class, yet she is always striving to improve and be her best self. In her second year, she was one of 12 students chosen for a very selective program called Leadership Fellows, designed for students with strong leadership and entrepreneurial aspirations. Students in this program dive deep into their values, strengths, weaknesses, and leadership styles and emerge with a greater sense of themselves and their personal power to achieve. Mahum’s dedication, motivation, empathy, and desire to grow personally and professionally is something to admire. She has time and again proven that she will continue to do great things in her career.”

Lynn O’Connell
Associate Director, Experiential Learning
NYU Stern School of Business

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST: CLASS OF 2018