Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
“I am an energy nerd with great passion for the environment who cares deeply about my community and enjoying life.”
Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Fun fact about yourself: I quit my job and traveled solo through South America, Eastern Europe, and Fiji for about a year.
Undergraduate School and Degree: UC Davis, BS Biological Sciences, Plant Biology Emphasis
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Solar Frontier – Senior Manager, Business Development
Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Citigroup, Investment Banking Summer Associate, Power & Utilities (NYC)
Where will you be working after graduation? Citigroup, Investment Banking Associate, Power & Utilities
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- Johnson Leadership Fellow
- Environmental Finance & Impact Investing Fellow
- Co-Vice President of Investment Banking, Old Ezra Finance Club
- Head TA, Financial Modeling
- TA, Investment Banking Practicum
- Associate, Big Red Venture Capital Fund
- Member, Energy Club
- Member, Women’s Management Council
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? At business school, I am most proud of my work as the co-VP of Investment Banking in the Old Ezra Finance Club because we were able to help the first-year class achieve unprecedented placement rates on Wall Street.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud in my professional career of the first asset I developed and sold, which was a 20 megawatt utility-scale solar energy project that covered 160 acres in the desert in California. This catalyzed a change in my career trajectory and gave me a concrete way to progress my passion for environmental health.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Maureen O’Hara, who taught Financial Markets and Institutions, has been my favorite MBA professor because she made studying the Fed compelling and inspired me as a woman in finance.
What was your favorite MBA Course Financial Markets and Institutions, taught by Professor Maureen O’Hara, was my favorite course because it tied together all of the financial concepts I had learned over my degree and provided me with a bigger picture of the financial industry as a whole.
Why did you choose this business school? I chose Johnson because it best combined my key objectives for business school: strong investment banking program, focus on sustainability and environmental issues, and a small, tight-knit community.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be authentic and driven. If you know who you are, what you want to do, and how you want to contribute, you are going to be a great fit at Johnson. With a small program, each student is vital to the community. Be valuable.
What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Johnson is that people think you are going to be bored in Ithaca. I have no time to be bored. There are constant social activities and so many ways to engage in the community; plus the nature in the Finger Lakes region is wonderful. My husband loves to visit and hike all of the beautiful gorges around town.
What was your biggest regret in business school? That I missed most of the Sage Socials in my first semester as a result of recruiting; however, I am very happy with how my recruiting played out, so I can’t be too regretful.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kaitlin Devine — she has no limit to her productivity, leadership, and ability to care. She has been influential to my time at Johnson both as a leader and as a dear friend.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was a scientist in college. But my father always said when I was growing up that the most successful people he knew had hard science bachelor’s degrees and MBAs. As a result, that path seemed like a good idea to me.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…developing utility-scale solar projects and selling them to long-term owners.”
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would record and distribute all classes so students could continue to master the essential concepts to best further their careers.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? I would like to complete a profound creative project of some sort and make yogurt from scratch.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as a leader who was analytically strong, positive, and compassionate.
What is your favorite movie about business? Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I learned about how business can dramatically affect everyday people even when they are not customers. I also learned to trust your gut and work for companies you believe in and not necessarily who the hottest employer is at the time.
What would your theme song be? “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison
Favorite vacation spot: Bolivia
Hobbies? Traveling through unique environments and ecosystems and soaking up local culture all around the world (35+ countries). Passion for scuba diving (Malaysia, Honduras, Sri Lanka) and playing soccer (25 years). Multi-day remote backpacking/camping trip enthusiast (USA, Colombia, Amazon, Borneo). Cooking vegetarian meals from natural ingredients inspired by studying abroad (Italy).
What made Chelsea such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?
“Chelsea combines warmth and good humor with a seriousness of purpose. Her co-leadership of the Old Ezra Club’s investment banking vertical, while also serving as a Johnson Leadership Fellow, head TA for the Financial Modeling course, and Environmental Finance and Investing Fellow, was quite a balancing act. And yet, Chelsea not only stayed composed and focused, she also maintained a generosity of spirit and good cheer that uplifted those around her. She is an excellent role model for what is possible when you are clear about your goals while remaining authentically yourself.”
Professor of Practice of Management
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
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