What happens in the classroom is just the beginning.
In essence, that’s the Jesuit tradition. For 500 years, Jesuits have fostered transformation through education – creating agents of change using institutions for learning. Whether you’re studying business or biology, Jesuit education is followed by a commitment to action. That means being an example, pursuing excellence, and serving others so you can leave a lasting difference.
That mission is alive at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University. Here, MBA students heed a call to always be more – to think deeper, live purposefully, and act decisively. Yes, Gabelli may not be a “religious school,” but its underlying philosophy demands that MBAs take that extra step, to solve and lead, never accepting the status quo or overlooking the implications.
A PLACE OF PURPOSE
“We are a proud Jesuit institution, but that does not mean that religion is constantly the centerpiece of your time here,” explains Sarah DeVita, a 2020 Gabelli grad and P&Q MBA To Watch. “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.”
It is an approach to learning that hit home with Zachary Hands. A veteran of a U.S. Special Forces Unit that fought ISIS, Hands received recommendations to Gabelli from various professionals in New York City. However, it was the values-driven aspects of the program that inspired him to join the full-time MBA Class of 2022.
“As I looked more into it, I liked the Jesuit part of it. My admittedly limited understanding is that the Jesuit mission is to educate students with a focus on instilling them with good values. These educated individuals will then enter the world in hopefully influential places and use their skills and values to make the world a better place. As someone who served in the military with the hope of doing my part to make our country and planet a better place this really resonated with me.”
ASKING MORE FROM YOURSELF
Before business school, Raizel Yap led a corporate banking evaluation unit at the largest bank in the Philippines. For her, Gabelli’s “leadership with purpose” philosophy was enough for her to take a leap of faith and move to New York City for her MBA. While the Jesuit ethos may be rooted in the Renaissance, its significance may be greater now than ever before.
“Given the growing interconnectedness in markets today, it is a priceless opportunity to study business guided by a holistic framework on profit generation that benefits and advances society,” Yap asserts. “It offers a unique perspective for MBA students to take more responsibility for how we can impact our professional spheres of influence. For someone like myself who comes from a more traditional business environment, leading with purpose serves as a motivation and a challenge to work on becoming a more well-rounded business leader.”
Alas, Yap was living the Gabelli ethos long before she set foot on the school’s Lincoln Center campus near the heart of Midtown. As a banker, she focused on development projects, with her favorite successes including the “expansion of power and water distribution facilities in underserved provinces, construction of residential and commercial real estate in emerging cities, and development of alternative and renewable powerplants that were among the firsts in the country.” Her exposure to an array of industries and functions runs pretty standard among her classmates.
FROM FINANCE TO AGRICULTURE TO ENERGY
As a whole, you could describe the Class of 2022 as diverse, influential, and accomplished. At Bank of America, Andrew Roebling served as an assistant vice president. Here, he helped spearhead the migration of key proprietary legacy functionalities to a new system for clients. At Bath and Body Works, Jessica Robinson oversaw all the in-store and social media photo shoots for products. At the same time, Anmol Takhtani enjoyed a front row seat to how the American economy works as an analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
“Witnessing the work of distinguished economists and understanding how the central bank mitigates crises and manages monetary policy really laid the foundation for my career in the finance,” she explains.
In Spain, Carlota Artigas launched products in the financial services space. By the same token, Leonardo Machado’s analytics enabled Syngenta – a $13.5 billion dollar agriculture science company – identify lucrative, new opportunities in Brazil’s seed market. Viktoriia Kolpashchikova headed up the Department of Budgeting and Analysis – considered a “job for life” – at Gazpromneft, which ranks as the third-largest oil producer in Russia. That said, some numbers can’t be quantified. That was the case for Billy Lange Hewlett, who earned a promotion to senior analyst at Goldman Sachs
“It enabled me to be able to better reflect on the progress I had made,” he notes. “Having entered as an Analyst in 2017, my knowledge deficit was, as expected, huge. I had walked onto a trading floor and it was a harsh awakening to my lack of knowledge. I was surrounded by industry experts at the top of their game and I needed to make up the deficit as quickly as possible. This promotion was one indication that I had somewhat succeeded in doing that.”
BEATING THE ODDS TO LAND AT MICROSOFT
Speaking of quick ascents, check out Cody Smith. A U.S. Naval Academy grad and Surface Warfare Officer, Smith was already a private pilot by the age of 19. Raizel Yap is actually afraid of heights. Despite this, she jokes, “I somehow always end up on top of some mountain, building, or a zipline.” Those items would make great subjects for Ayanna Egbarin, whose hobby is photography.
“I picked up my first camera at ten years old,” she writes. “It was an old point-and-shoot that I took on long walks, to middle school basement parties, and even to school field trips to New York to capture everything that I saw. Since then, I’ve upgraded my camera but still walk through life in D.C., then London, and now New York City with that same discerning eye, looking to capture the moments, people, and details that decorate my world.”
Chances are, Egbarin will be taking a bunch of pictures out west. After all, she learned that she landed an internship with Microsoft during the holidays. It was a particularly satisfying achievement for her after the hurdles she faced during the fall.
“Given that this semester was virtual in the wake of the global pandemic, everything that we knew about networking and recruiting was thrown out the window” she explains. “At my first virtual networking conference, my confidence wavered in making connections online; there were thousands of other MBAs around the world who swarmed the meeting rooms for my target companies. It was a huge learning curve to learn how to make yourself stand out and I really had to rely on telling a strong story through my resume. My resume was eventually picked by Microsoft from another virtual conference hosted by the National Black MBA Association. From there, I prepared relentlessly to make sure that my virtual interviewing skills were as sharp as possible. I can still hear my mother’s scream of joy when I told her the news over FaceTime.”
GAINING CONFIDENCE AS A TEAM
Internships weren’t the only areas where the Class of 2022 racked up successes. For many, the Business In The 21st Century Competition has been the defining experience of the MBA experience thus far. Four weeks into orientation, explains Jessica Robinson, the class is broken into teams to evaluate company sustainability efforts and make suggestions to increase their competitiveness in this area. The exercise, she says, enabled her team to tap into a variety of areas of expertise among team members. As a result, they tackled issues more holistically as a group than they would have as individuals. At the same time, adds Leonardo Machado, the exercise built up confidence, since most team members had little experience with their assigned industry – let alone ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).
“Before this project, I had a superficial knowledge on ESG,” Machado admits. “The more I learned about this topic, the more engaged and excited I became. It is such a comprehensive and passionate theme. Therefore, working on and winning this project has been my biggest accomplishment so far because it also changed me as a consumer and a businessman. Having a grasp about ESG goals, best practices, and challenges faced by industries made me much more aware and ready to engage in being not only as a conscious consumer but also a business leader who wants to contribute to, achieve, and add value to ESG goals.”
This year’s full-time cohort includes 76 students. 33%of the class is comprised women, with underrepresented minorities making up another 17%. Another 28% of the class hails from 15 countries outside the United States. The class averaged a 592 GMAT (600 median) and a 3.2 undergraduate GPA. Academically, 56% of the class holds undergraduate degrees in Business & Commerce. Another 11% majored in Economics, with the remainder of the class including Humanities (8%), Social Science (8%), Engineering (5%), and the Sciences (3%).
Beyond the numbers, you’ll hear the Class of 2022 describe their classmates in glowing terms. “This is probably the most supportive group of people that I’ve come across on this scale,” Ayanna Egbarin tells P&Q. “Since orientation, everyone has been eager to help one another out with networking, classwork, and general life tips. There’s no awkward tension or hesitation to reach out to someone that you don’t know to set up a chat or ask for help. I don’t know if that is due to our smaller size compared to other business schools are the people that admission’s hand picks, but it is an environment that feels unique to Fordham.”
In contrast, Viktoriia Kolpashchikova calls her classmates as “ambitious, intelligent, focused, and supportive.”“[The] NYC environment is very competitive, and I’m glad,” she adds. “I was lucky to meet so many talented students at my school who are always ready to help with advice. For me, as for international student, these interactions help to better navigate in the job market. This is truly one of the best aspects of MBA program. We all have different backgrounds, but many of us have similar goals. I am excited to learn what my classmates will achieve in their future careers!”
Next Page: Gabelli 1st Year MBA Profiles and an interview with Dylan Mosenthal, Associate Director of MBA Programs.