Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class of 2020

Sami Abdisubhan

New York University, Stern School of Business

An intellectually curious, charismatic and results-driven marketing enthusiast with a passion for sports.”

Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I escorted Vice President Joe Biden and his Secret Service detail to my freshman-year dorm on his granddaughter’s tour of Georgetown.

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business; Finance & Marketing

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Decision Lens, Business Development Representative

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I started my first job halfway through the fiscal year, and the sales director I worked for was at 17.5% of his annual revenue goal. With my campaigns and successful outreach, we were able to end the year at a mark that was 112.5% of his goal. As a result, we were named one of the most successful teams that year.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My peers are all incredibly engaging. When we talk about our backgrounds, career aspirations or goals, each person I have met has always been fascinating and personable.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose NYU Stern because of its strong emphasis on what it calls “EQ”, or emotional intelligence. All MBA programs tout their collaborative and communal environments, but Stern takes it further. Through administrators and the faculty, Stern encourages group emotional intelligence. EQ is strongly endorsed and is part of the school’s core philosophy.

When I visited NYU Stern for Discover Stern Fall Diversity Weekend, the difference in the atmosphere was clearly noticeable. My interactions with the students were more genuine, candid, engaging and frankly, enjoyable. I had an “ah ha” moment and realized that this was clearly EQ at work. It was evident that the students clearly adhered to the school’s mantra: As NYU emphasizes, it’s more than just IQ; it’s IQ + EQ. I am excited to live by this standard and look forward to starting school in the fall.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Stern Speaks, the student speaker series for MBA candidates, as I really value the importance of an open forum for community dialogue.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having worked in sales and business development, I knew that my next position likely would have been in the same arena but from the relationship management side. However, my passion lies in marketing, which is hard to get into without the requisite experience. Therefore, I knew pursuing an MBA was the right decision to make the career pivot.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I thought about what is possible professionally with an MBA and what trajectories those with my desired career path had taken since graduating to assess the investment. An MBA isn’t just about the first job after school; it’s about putting your career on the right track for advancement and leadership. I also factored in whether my aspirations could be achieved without the MBA. Because I’m considering a career pivot, I concluded that they could not. With these two determinations, joined by the incredible network gained, I decided going to business school was worth the investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, Kellogg, McCombs, Goizueta, Owen

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I determined fit in two steps. First, I had to understand what I wanted professionally, personally and socially from a school. Second, I had to do my due diligence in researching programs. I used several different methods to research my prospective schools. With respect to the first step, I sought to enroll in a program with a strong marketing specialization in a large city with a class size of fewer than 500 students. In researching the various schools, I scoured the programs’ websites, read online MBA forums, and attended prospective student presentation and networking receptions to learn about the school. However, the most effective thing when evaluating schools is to connect with the current students and alumni, either through campus visits or informational conversations. Hearing from individuals going through the journey themselves and placing oneself on campus helps tremendously when assessing culture and fit.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I came to Georgetown, I anticipated working in finance on Wall Street. Yet, when I took my introductory marketing class, Principles of Marketing, I realized how intrigued I was by consumer behavior. I became excited at the prospect of studying human behavior, specifically on purchasing trends and the motivations behind consumers brand decisions. I started to think of myself as a consumer differently, and quickly found my career aspiration.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to work in consumer goods marketing.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself continuing to work in brand management, rising to the level of an innovative and influential leader.