“I’m a huge optimist, an attribute which has proven to be valuable when trying new and challenging things.”
Hometown: Tehran, Iran (born and raised) / Toronto, Canada (second home, lived in for years prior to the GSB)
Fun Fact About Yourself: My go-to dance is Persian dancing.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Toronto, Electrical Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: OMERS Ventures, Analyst (venture capital)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My favorite accomplishments have always been the result of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. My biggest was taking the leap from IT consulting to venture capital without having a traditional background in business or finance. It was both the most challenging and exciting career step I have taken. It also provided me the opportunity to mentor, coach, and learn from inspiring women founders.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I find that my classmates are remarkably humble and open to feedback despite their many accomplishments before joining the MBA program. This quality means that many students here carry a growth mindset – one that drives them to a high degree of personal and professional development. I consider our openness to learning from others’ experiences a key factor to why we tend to develop diverse and unique networks.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Stanford has a genuine, long-standing focus on social impact that is evident in its curriculum, alumni network and student body. As someone who aims to combine social impact with their business career, Stanford’s network has proven to be an invaluable resource for job opportunities, extracurricular activities or simply finding like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off of.
I also really value the culture of vulnerability and openness at Stanford. Voicing insecurities and concerns in a safe environment provides opportunities for self-improvement and allows us to build empathy and deep connections with others. I also find vulnerability an important aspect in leadership as it cultivates honesty, transparency and a culture of support.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve found about Stanford GSB so far? The significant emphasis on personal growth and leadership skill development. It pulses through the school and the MBA community. We experience it during academic programs such as the well-known Touchy Feely class, the Arbuckle Leadership Fellows program—and even during conversations with classmates. The self-reflection, introspection and honest conversations have been a foundational development experience for me.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What is the biggest accomplishment in your career so far?” This is probably one of the hardest questions that I have had to answer since I have so much more to learn and much more to do!
What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Wharton, MIT Sloan. I got accepted to HBS, Wharton and Stanford GSB and decided to come to Stanford.
What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you arrived at Stanford GSB? Identifying what my key sources of personal fulfillment are. In particular, it was identifying my desire to have social impact play a large part in my life and the importance of having a network that drives me to continually improve while staying grounded.
What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? I hope to bring a business skillset and the power of markets to a social issue that is dear to me—the empowerment of women through economic opportunity—either through an entrepreneurial venture or as an impact investor.