Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2021

Jessica Rosner   

Columbia Business School

“Entrepreneur passionate about making a positive impact in the real estate industry. ALSO I’m not afraid to dream big and do the work to make them my reality.”

Hometown: Merrick, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I meditate first thing every morning.

Undergraduate School and Major: Hofstra Honors College, Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: A Charmed Life at Home, CEO/Founder  

A Charmed Life at Home is a full furniture and home design center. We’ve even dabbled in real estate development.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Aside from getting into Columbia Business School, I would say my biggest accomplishment was starting a furniture store from a $10,000 credit line from the bank and then selling it for a profit this year. Maybe also knocking down and building a house from scratch!

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Courageous. One of the first people I met at Columbia Business School started the CBS podcast because he always wanted to be a host and bring people together and just decided “hell yes” I am doing this. It was one of the reasons I loved Columbia, and the idea of being surrounded by people who aren’t afraid to go after their dreams.

What is the best part of coming to New York City to earn your MBA? The energy of New York City is like no other place. Being immersed in this type of environment, with people who are constantly improving and growing, also makes you want to do the same. There are no limits to who you can be or what you can achieve.

Aside from your classmates and location, 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? The key decision that led me to enter the full-time program at Columbia was the option to have a dual degree in real estate development. I am able to take marketing and finance classes and also explore my passion for real estate. I am an entrepreneur and own a few companies, so to have the flexibility to take all kinds of classes was really incredible.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? There are so many, but the ones top on my list are the Green Business Club, Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization, and Real Estate Association. I really want to get involved as much as I can at school, so I am also considering being part of the student body government.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The hardest part of the admissions process for me was getting really clear on my long-term goals. I knew I wanted to go back to school to further my career in real estate, but I also had to dive deep and understand why. From the process of applying, I learned that I am incredibly passionate about improving people’s lives and leaving the world a better place. For me, that means building beautiful homes and multi-family buildings that reflect the sustainable building practices of the future.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? While I was proud of my accomplishments thus far, I felt I hadn’t even got started. My goal was always to develop real estate. I had opened a furniture store with no capital or experience really and felt I had built it to be everything I could. Where did I go from there? Everything I had learned along the way was self-taught, and I wanted to improve my “tool kit” to step up to the next level. For me, that is opening a sustainable real estate development company, and I needed to gain more knowledge in order to do so – which led me to Columbia.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I also applied to Yale SOM and got in – but Columbia was my first choice.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I created an excel spreadsheet with the pros and cons of each school and weighted the categories in terms of what was most meaningful to me. Some factors included location (travel time), the curriculum, class size, and resources available at the school. I also included a category for how I felt – which included my experiences at different schools from sitting in on a class, hanging out on campus, or getting to know alumni and students. Columbia ranked the highest in all categories, especially once I realized I was able to get a dual degree in real estate development.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I was a young girl, I would go to work with my mom before elementary school. I am one of six children, so quality time was limited. As the youngest, I used to look forward to waking up at 5 a.m. before school to spend this time with my full-time working mom. This was definitely my defining moment. What I didn’t realize then, but do now, was these were the moments that shaped me to become an entrepreneur. I learned the value of hard work and also associated that bonding time with my mom to mean so much more. So much of what I do is to create beautiful spaces for people, which in turn creates a home. So essentially, this moment as a child defined my whole life’s purpose of wanting to be a builder.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I love this question for many reasons. First, a few years ago I could not answer this confidently nor did I even really enjoy the question. Life pulls us in many different directions. Who really knows where we will end up? Having felt that way previously, I appreciate how incredibly clear I am today.

Ten years from now, I will be owning a real estate development company with a focus on sustainable development. I will have an incredible team of people around me, all passionate about our mission to improve the development industry in terms of what that means for people and the environment; with numerous high-value developments. We will be implementing all the newest and forward-thinking sustainable development practices – from demolition to construction.

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