2020 MBAs To Watch: Sarah DeVita, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Sarah DeVita

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“I am an optimistic, life-long learner who tries to find joy in everything.”

Hometown: Ridgewood, New Jersey

Fun fact about yourself: I was a pole vaulter on the University of Virginia Track & Field Team

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Virginia, BA in International Relations and Italian Studies

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Accounting and Operations Manager at Nest Property Management in Charlottesville, VA

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Medical Affairs Intern at Stamford Health in Stamford, CT

Where will you be working after graduation? Quest Diagnostics, Sr. Financial Analyst

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Fordham Graduate Finance Society – Treasurer (May 2019 – May 2020);
  • Gabelli Student Ambassador (April 2019 – May 2020);
  • Fred’s Team runner and fundraiser (February 2019 – November 2019): Raised over $18,000 benefitting Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before running the New York City Marathon in November 2019.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Within the first few weeks at Fordham, we work in teams to consult with NGO’s in Argentina. My team and I worked with an organization that runs schools and homes for a variety of populations around the country. Ultimately, we provided resources to increase communication and efficiency for the dedicated leaders of the NGO. It was a completely fulfilling experience to be able to help this organization that is so caring, welcoming, and grateful for help. The experience also set the foundation for a Fordham MBA dedicated to service and global impact.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Growing my team at Nest Property Management by 5 times. We started with a team of two (myself included) and grew to over 10 people and increased one of our management portfolios by 6 times in just under three years. I was very proud to be a foundational member of a small business and shape the workplace culture to one of customer service and quality.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Travis Russ, who taught Leadership Communication. He brought so much energy to the classroom and made the class very interactive and experiential, which helped me develop and improve my communication style each session. Dr. Russ’ class helped me to not only understand my own communication style but also understand the styles of those around me, which is crucial to the success of any relationship, personal or professional. I know I will use the skills I learned in class nearly every day.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The past two years my class has put together a Friendsgiving dinner before Thanksgiving. Almost half the class attends and brings family recipes from around the world. It was very reflective of our tight-knit, diverse class coming together to celebrate and share holiday traditions with each other. We will undoubtedly continue this tradition long after we graduate from Fordham.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Fordham because I wanted a small, yet meaningful business school experience. Coming from a large undergraduate university, I was drawn to the cohort MBA program, which helped foster life-long personal and professional relationships. I was also drawn to Fordham’s tradition of cura personalis or “care for the whole person.” Fordham has provided an incredibly supportive and caring culture displayed by faculty, administration, and students alike. It allows students to push themselves out of their comfort zone to better themselves each day.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I recommend speaking to current students and coming to campus if possible. Being on the Lincoln Center campus and interacting with current students is the best way to determine if Fordham is a good fit for you. For me, attending an open house and talking to current students and professors provided a great showcase for what my time would be like as a student. Everyone was very welcoming and raved about the school, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Fordham is a “religious” school. Of course, we are a proud Jesuit institution, but that does not mean that religion is constantly the centerpiece of your time here. Rather the Jesuit values of cura personalis, knowledge, respect, community, and collaboration create a foundation for learning and interaction between faculty, staff, students, and administration.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I had the time, I would have liked to take more classes taught by Fordham’s amazing faculty. My fellow classmates loved Dr. Ben Cole’s class on blockchain, Paul Johnson’s value investing class, and Joseph Zirpolo’s valuation class, just to name a few. As someone who genuinely loves learning, I would have loved to interact with these professors if my schedule allowed.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Logan Gillard. He is a quiet and compassionate leader and always makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. His kind nature paired with his lead-by-example mentality make him an irreplaceable teammate, colleague, and mentor. I admire the way he relates to others and am excited to see everything he accomplishes after business school.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad, Tom DeVita, is definitely the biggest influence on my interest in business. His successful career in finance is rooted in his integrity, work ethic, and communication skills and I am inspired to follow his lead after school. His example has taught me so much of what it means to be an impactful leader, which I will take into my professional career. He has always supported me in whatever I do and has encouraged me to never stop learning.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Start my own business, start or help develop an employee wellness program

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like my peers to remember me as a helpful hand and a shoulder to lean on

Hobbies? Skiing, rock climbing, squash, and pretty much any other way to break a sweat

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

“Sarah Devita is one of the most indispensable MBAs in her class. She is recognized for her genuine leadership, impeccable work ethic, and passion for healthcare and well-being.

From the start, Sarah has played an important role in helping shape the incoming class experience at our business school. As my graduate assistant during the first semester, each week we met over lunch to discuss students’ experience, comments, and suggestions that Sarah gathered from students in her class. Sarah carefully finessed a subtle and influential way of communicating her observations and feedback, which ultimately paved a way to enhance our program. Not being afraid to speak up for what students want, she has become the voice of her classmates, a leader.

One of Sarah’s insights was to increase students’ interaction across the two Full-Time MBA cohorts. In support of her suggestions, for the next term, we reassigned students between cohorts, we started a monthly social event for networking for all MBAs, and for the next academic year, we instituted a weekly enrichment lab for all Full-Time MBA students to experience learning additional co-curricular content. In addition to giving feedback, Sarah took a lead in helping to create a cohesive class culture by organizing an early Thanksgiving dinner to host for all classmates at her house.

Sarah also made an impact by participating in focus groups and surveys led by the administration. While being part of the Gabelli ambassador (outreach) program, she has successfully represented Fordham to prospective students and was selected out of a hundred students to appear in the MBA promotional video on the school website.

In my operations class, Sarah was a top student. Sarah’s leadership and extraordinary work ethic contributed to her team winning all simulation game competitions, which were worth 40% of the grade.  She motivated her teammates to reach their excellence in learning by exceeding the quality expectations of deliverables and organized teamwork outside of class to create pleasant and effective team dynamics. Sarah consistently handled all the details in submitting her team assignments ahead of the deadlines, the only team out of eight to do so.

Lastly, Sarah’s determination to contribute in healthcare and passion to make an impact on individuals’ well-being have been a major factor in choosing Sarah for my graduate assistantship position. She helped me with my fitness-integrated-learning class (where students simultaneously ride a stationary bike while learning course content) and research by collecting data and conducting data analysis. Sarah shared critical ideas to strengthen the study design for learning the implications of fitness on learning.  She even facilitated a consulting-class lecture while students were spinning. Throughout the year, Sarah also ran a number of yoga sessions for her classmates and has led a short yoga-based breakout session to hundreds of women at the Women’s Philanthropy Summit at Fordham in 2018. An avid runner, who completed the 2019 New York City Marathon, Sarah will successfully start her new career in the healthcare industry, where she will be able to make a larger contribution to wellness and the society.

Sarah exemplifies leadership capabilities infused with a hard-work spirit, determination, focus, all while being a humble and kind individual. She is the most gifted and high-potential genuine leader. We all are grateful for Sarah’s active role fueled by her dedication to our Full-Time MBA program.”

Julita Haber, Ph.D.
Director, Full Time MBA Program 
Clinical Assistant Professor
Gabelli School of Business | Fordham University



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.