2020 MBAs To Watch: Ari Schiff, New York University (Stern)

Ari Schiff

New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business

A burger aficionado and golden retriever enthusiast who enjoys both American coasts with equal affection.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun fact about yourself: In high school, I met Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson on the same day, at the same gym, at different times. They both signed an index card. One side says “Dream big dreams” and the other says “Peace!”

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Naval Academy; B.S. in Quantitative Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? The United States Marine Corps; Infantry Officer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Goldman Sachs; New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs; Investment Banking

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-President, Graduate Finance Association
  • Vice President of Admissions, Military Veterans Club
  • MBA Mentor, Stern Undergraduate Mentor Program
  • Israel Trek Leader

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was very fortunate to have served as the Co-President of the Graduate Finance Association. The club’s goal is to help first-year MBA students successfully recruit for summer internships in investment banking. By working closely with the Office of Career Development at Stern, we helped facilitate a streamlined and structured process to help our members recruit for the best possible investment banking job. As Co-President, I was lucky to have led an energetic board of second-year classmates who wanted to give back to the community by guiding and mentoring prospective investment banking candidates through the process. It was incredibly rewarding to watch the first-year students learn about the nuances of investment banking recruiting and successfully receive internship offers in January. Collectively, the GFA team was extremely proud of both the work we put in to help the Stern investment banking candidates succeed. More importantly, it was incredibly rewarding to see many of them land their dream jobs.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I stepped in front of my first platoon, I was 23 years old and had recently graduated from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course. Although I was tactically and technically proficient, I had never led a team of individuals from such diverse backgrounds in environments with such dire consequences. It’s a tremendous challenge building a cohesive platoon – you have to learn how to communicate explicitly and implicitly in both time-constrained and very stressful environments. I was fortunate, however, to have walked into a platoon of talented and competitive Marines who genuinely cared about their performance. Additionally, my boss was an incredible mentor and helped us succeed by always doing the right thing. Our biggest test prior to our deployment was completing the Infantry Company Small Boat Training Program – a notoriously exhausting, cold, and wet training program in Coronado, California. None of my Marines dropped out of the course, resulting in an unbeatable resiliency. That resiliency made us incredibly successful on that deployment and I’m incredibly proud of helping my guys overcome their perceived mental or physical limitations they thought they once had.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Richard Hendler is truly unique and innovative in the way he teaches and how he develops meaningful connections with his students. He teaches Business Law, which is certainly an important topic for any MBA student to understand. But more importantly, he is incredibly passionate about Stern and cultivating a familial atmosphere in his classes. He signs his emails “trust all is well and have an honest day” and brings bagels and coffee to class each week. His energy and enthusiasm are second-to-none.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Stern Follies is an annual event where students create a musical that is intertwined with short videos to provide comedic relief on life at Stern. The production value is impressive and everyone in attendance is able to relate to the content in some form. The event brings nearly the entire school together and exemplifies the level of creativity amongst the Stern community.

Why did you choose this business school? The combination of the Fertitta Veterans Program, living in New York City, and the school’s track record in investment banking recruiting led me to choose Stern. As I was transitioning out of the Marine Corps, I was looking for MBA programs with strong veteran clubs. I felt that a strong veteran community would help ensure a smooth transition back to school and facilitate a strong network for future endeavors. Stern has one of the highest military contingents of any MBA program, largely due to the creation of the Fertitta Veterans Program in 2016. The program reduces veterans’ tuition to $30,000 per year and has provided scholarships to many graduates. In addition to tuition assistance, the program helps veterans ease back into academics by taking the statistics and financial accounting core requirements prior to orientation with the rest of the class.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Stern is differentiated in three ways: it’s in the heart of New York City, it focuses heavily on emotional intelligence, and it’s a tight-knit community. By focusing on how each of these resonates with you and articulating how you will become a valuable asset to the class, you will be one step closer to success.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Whenever I talk to prospective students, they are always concerned that because Stern is in New York City, the social fabric of the school is disaggregated. In my experience, students at Stern have the benefit of choosing to spend their time between a strong MBA community and the New York City community. If you thrive in a socially dynamic environment, you’d probably enjoy having the flexibility to choose to spend your time with classmates at Stern or with new friends you’ve made in the city. It’s the best of both worlds.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have taken Professor Harry Chernoff’s “Operations in Entertainment: Las Vegas” class. It’s an experiential learning class that includes a one-week trip to Las Vegas where students are able to go behind-the-scenes to meet with executives from MGM Resorts International, the Bellagio, Station Casinos, Cirque du Soleil, and others. Stern has many other opportunities like this around the world and I wish I had taken advantage of seeing more through the lens of industry experts in real-world situations.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Sam Daly is the Co-President of the Military Veterans Club, a Vice President on the Career Development Team for the Graduate Finance Association, and a father to a newborn daughter. The balancing act of taking care of his family while committing the remainder of his time and energy to help first-year MBAs succeed exemplifies the character of Stern. All this is done with a smile on his face and a great sense of humor.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? When I was younger, my dad used to take me to speaking events with business leaders. I was heavily influenced by the likes of Jonathan Tisch, Ace Greenberg, and several others. Their relentless pursuit of success made me intellectually curious about various topics in business, and I aspired to follow a similar path to make a difference.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I hope to lead a company one day. I loved being a platoon commander in the Marine Corps and would love to continue leading an organization in the business world. Additionally, I’d like to be in a position where I can create positive change for the communities I am most passionate about by building a philanthropic organization.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As the guy who is honest, helps people live up to and exceed their potential and made a positive impact on the world.

Hobbies? Exploring the New York City restaurant scene, collecting black and white photography, and drone videography of the California coast.

What made Ari such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“NYU Stern is incredibly fortunate Ari chose to pursue his MBA here and I’m lucky our paths crossed during his time at Stern. As our office’s liaison to both the Military Veterans Club (MVC) & Graduate Finance Association (GFA), I’ve seen first-hand how Ari continually contributes to the Stern community through his leadership roles in these clubs. He exemplifies the values of Stern through his drive to improve the MBA experience and leave his mark as well as his commitment to his classmates.

Ari is an active member of Stern’s outstanding and highly-regarded veteran community. In his role as VP of Admissions, he meets with prospective students to share his experience at Stern and is a resource for veterans as they consider a transition from a military career to business school. Ari is hands-down one of the best ambassadors for Stern and our Military Veterans Club. His dedication and time spent with prospective students led many of these top-notch vets to choose Stern. In part thanks to Ari’s recruitment efforts, we have an amazing class of first-year MBA veterans who, following Ari’s lead, are just as eager as him to be engaged members of Stern’s veteran and larger student community. It’s veterans like Ari that distinguish Stern as a top MBA program for the veteran community and that is something the current veteran students, our veteran alumni, and the Stern administration are so incredibly proud of.

Ari served as co-president of Stern’s Graduate Finance Association (GFA), which is a student-led club that prepares first-year students for careers in investment banking. Ari demonstrated his strong leadership and collaboration skills in this role by securing a C-suite keynote speaker for the club’s annual conference and partnering with me and our career services team to develop programming the first-year MBAs about investment banking recruitment. But my favorite memory of Ari as a leader and also the most telling of his character and his desire to give back occurred over winter break when Ari had less than 24 hours in New York City before catching a flight to South Africa for a study abroad program. Any other student would have used those few precious hours to pack and run last-minute errands before leaving for three weeks. However, Ari decided to conduct mock interviews for first-year MBAs that entire day from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM before catching an early morning flight the next day. True to who Ari is, he is someone who is always looking for opportunities to give back to his community. It was important to him to help however he could to best prepare the Stern first-years for investment banking interviews and he didn’t think twice about sacrificing his time for others. Ari and I are both so proud of the success of this year’s first-year MBA banking class, and I know his leadership and dedication to the club is a primary driver for this year’s success.

Stern is only the beginning for Ari. I’m so excited to watch him continue to grow professionally and continue to impact those around him. Everyone should remember the name Ari Schiff, he’s not only one of this year’s MBAs To Watch, but is a leader all of us will continue to respect and admire for years to come.”

Alicia Lee
Senior Associate Director, Relationship Management Team
Office of Career Development


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