2019 MBAs To Watch: Andrew Kwan, NYU Stern

Andrew Kwan

New York University, Stern School of Business

New Jersey native. California transplant. Asian American. Food Fanatic. Music Maniac. Daydreamer.”

Hometown: Summit, NJ

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve seen over 25 plays and musicals while in business school.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Southern California – BS Accounting, BS Business Administration, BA Sociology

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Citi – Assistant Vice President

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? NBCUniversal, Los Angeles

Where will you be working after graduation? Apple – Supply Demand Planner

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Elizabeth Wolfe Morrison Faculty Scholarship (Merit-based scholarship)
  • Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellow
  • 2018 ROMBA Conference Student Organizer
  • Vice President of Collaboration – Stern Student Government
  • Vice President of Communications and Marketing – Luxury & Retail Club
  • Vice President of Events – Stern Management & Strategy Club
  • LAUNCH Orientation Captain for MBA1 class

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was on the winning team for the Stern Consulting Lab Citibank Employer Branding Challenge. This was part of a semester-long course where I was part of a team of five Stern MBA students where we analyzed Citi’s current employer brand strategy and crafted a new strategy that was selected by Citi to help with their employer brand revitalization.

This project was a great opportunity to bring together many aspects of my MBA studies into a real-world environment. While I had previously worked at Citi, I did not have any exposure to the internal workings of the firm and their focus on recruiting and retention.  My team was an incredible group of students, both from our full-time and part-time programs, where we each had unique backgrounds and experiences. The diversity of our group ensured that we always had a plethora of ideas, but also competing ideas. While we didn’t always agree with each other, we did respect each other and would take the time to hear everyone’s opinion to ensure we got the best ideas possible. Our overall success was not just a result of our ideas, but was really a representation of each of us standing fully behind our concept and one another. The experience showed me that even when you are not fully certain of something, you have to have faith in those who are supporting you and maintain conviction in yourself.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? This past summer, I interned at NBCUniversal in Los Angeles where I supported their digital distribution team. For me, this was a complete 180 from what I had done previously at Citi. My former career had been focused on wealth management and provided a strong basis on the quantitative side, but my internship required me to pivot how I applied these concepts to a completely foreign industry and functional role. For my final intern presentation to the team, I presented an analysis and recommendation for NBC’s continued rollout of their affiliate stations on multiple digital platforms. My presentation allowed me to bring together everything I’d learned over the summer with a more analytical foundation. This fuller understanding provided a more compelling presentation and allowed me to field questions during the Q&A better than I ever thought would be possible. The ability to adapt to a new environment and utilize the knowledge I had gained over the summer is something I’ll always be proud of.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Glenn Okun, who is most known at Stern for his course “Managing Growing Companies” and other entrepreneurship-focused classes.  Professor Okun doesn’t sugarcoat anything and will always give you his honest opinion.  He makes you reevaluate situations with a fresh perspective and has a quirkiness that is unparalleled.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Digital Media Innovation, which is taught by Greg Coleman. Every week, we had speakers from different media and technology companies talk to us about their work, professional journeys, and advice to our class. Two major things stuck out to me as a continuous theme from speaker to speaker: the business community is incredibly small and there is no one path to success.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose NYU Stern for the opportunity to bridge together my MBA education and apply it to situations faced by real-life companies through Stern’s extensive experiential learning opportunities. Our Office of Student Engagement has provided me so many opportunities to connect with a wide assortment of companies. I was able to work on consulting projects in CPG and financial services through Stern Consulting Corps and Consulting Lab, I learned about operations at NYC companies (including a large tech company, a brewery, and a container terminal operator) in our Operations in NYC class, and even visited luxury and retail businesses in Milan through a “Doing Business In” course.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Know both how Stern will uniquely aid you towards your goal as well as what unique viewpoint you can bring to the program. Stern prides itself on both IQ and EQ, and it shows within the student body: my classmates are both brilliant and bring a sense of community and personality that is unique to our program.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? While two years seems like a long time, it really goes by so quickly!  Even though you will have time to sort through things, it is definitely helpful to have a game plan – in regards to recruiting, classes, activities, etc. – that you’d like to accomplish. It helps with your planning, removes a lot of potential fear of missing out, and ensures a smoother transition.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has provided me with an opportunity to continuously push my comfort zone to see the possibilities out there, both personally and professionally. In my time at Stern, I’ve worked on projects for companies across a multitude of industries, helped plan a national conference for Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), and studied abroad at the London Business School. Each experience has shown me just how much I can stretch myself in a multitude of capacities and further confirmed the importance of being able to work with a wide range of individuals.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is an incredibly difficult thing for me to choose as my classmates at Stern are such a unique group and have truly defined my MBA experience. If I have to choose just one, I’d choose my friend Catherine Charles, my musical theater buddy who is always a shining light.  Throughout our time at Stern, Catherine has always been a dependable individual who carries herself with such poise and dignity. She knows what she stands for and stays true to that spirit while also having a good time.  Whether it’s her support with recruiting, her contagious laughter in the hallways, or her loving hugs, Catherine is someone who always makes anyone smile. This is all in addition to her incredible intelligence, diligence, and hard-working spirit that has made her a true superstar at Stern.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents were my biggest influence to pursue business in college.  While both of them worked as medical professionals, they’ve always stressed the importance of problem-solving and thinking for myself. Seeing what they’ve accomplished in their lives and how they got there has always served as a reminder for me to strive for the best.

What is your favorite movie about business? Ratatouille – It emphasizes the importance of dreaming big and not letting others hold you back.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? At Stern, OCD isn’t just an anxiety disorder, but also our “Office of Career Development.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at a start-up in the retail space to gain many of the skillsets that my MBA has provided.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I don’t think there is any price that could be placed on my MBA education. Beyond the monetary component, being in school for two years also requires a commitment of shifting your previous work trajectory.  However, this was worth it to me for the experiences and opportunities I’ve gained while at Stern. Without them, I’m not sure I would have been able to transition my career as seamlessly and I wouldn’t have met the incredible people who have shaped these past two years.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Visit Antarctica
  • Learn the art of French patisserie

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A fun, loving, and compassionate individual who always looked out for the greater good of the group.

Hobbies? Music (I play the piano, viola, and sing), traveling, exploring new cuisines

What made Andrew such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“I have interacted with Andrew in numerous capacities during his time as an MBA student and I have no doubt that he is deserving of this honor. His academic accomplishments, extracurricular leadership, and commitment to the NYU Stern community make him the perfect person to represent the school in this distinguished group of MBA students.

I first met Andrew through my position as Director of Career Coaching for the full-time MBA program. I admired his determination to make a career transition from financial services to the world of entertainment, media, and technology (which he has since accomplished by obtaining a summer internship at NBCUniversal and a post-graduation position at Apple). I gained an even deeper understanding of Andrew’s character when he volunteered as a LAUNCH (MBA orientation) Captain last summer – a role in which he served as a mentor to an entire block of roughly 60 incoming first-year MBA students. I appreciated Andrew’s leadership in this role and his willingness to offer thoughtful advice to MBA1s as part of a panel discussion I organized for students planning to recruit for entertainment, media, and technology. I later learned that Andrew had also taken on several other demanding extracurricular roles during his 2nd year, including Vice President of Collaboration for Stern’s Student Government and Vice President of two very active professional clubs: Luxury/Retail and Management/Strategy. The fact that he did all of this while performing at a high level academically – he was awarded a merit-based full-tuition faculty scholarship – is further evidence of his versatility and his worthiness of the Best and Brightest MBAs distinction.

On a personal level, Andrew is a wonderful person and is beloved by classmates, faculty, and administrators alike. I know I speak for the entire NYU Stern community when I recommend him for this honor.”

James Kingham

Director, Career Coaching

NYU Stern Office of Career Development

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