Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Ayanna Egbarin, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Ayanna Egbarin              

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“A sprightly world traveler striving to use compelling storytelling to drive technological innovation.”

Hometown: Bloomfield, Connecticut

Fun Fact About Yourself: I picked up my first camera at ten years old. 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.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Virginia; Psychology Major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Product Marketing Manager Intern at Microsoft

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I’ve always had a keen interest in living or studying abroad. Living in London for nearly 4 years solidified that interest into a core part of my life that I knew I wanted to incorporate into any future venture where I embark. Fordham’s Gabelli School has built internationality into their program with the orientation trip to Buenos Aires and the mandatory capstone project that will bring MBAs to London in their spring semester. There is even a London-based branch of the school right in Holborn, London that solidified their international presence even further. There were changes to those travels plans in 2020. Regardless, to me, the intention still shows that Fordham understands how important having a global connection is to everything that an individual or corporation does and made sure to incorporate it into their curriculum, student body, and values.

What has surprised you the most about the Gabelli MBA program? The most surprising thing is the level of genuine involvement that faculty and professors have in each of the MBAs that they admit to the program. We aren’t just a number to them. If I run into a professor in the halls, they remember your name and something that you said in class. I felt this from the beginning after getting admitted where the Dean even gave me suggestions for neighborhoods to stay in and tips for finding an apartment as a first time New Yorker. It shows that they care about their students and that everyone they’ve chosen to be here is hand-picked to continue to foster this warm community.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? This is probably the most supportive group of people that I’ve come across on this scale. 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.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My most memorable accomplishment was booking my first client as a freelance photographer while living in London. You underestimate how hard it is to book clients in general, but adding in the twist of being in a foreign country without any of your U.S. connections to help springboard you made things a lot more difficult. I learned a lot about tailoring my messaging; understanding what a client would potentially want to help pique their interests in the pitch; and also owning my talents and talking myself up in a genuine way. I was a long road. In the end, landing my first client enabled me to keep working until ultimately making my way to photographing for a small publication and event companies like Sofar Sounds.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Landing my internship at Microsoft before the holidays was one of my biggest accomplishments as an MBA so far. 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. 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.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I believe getting an MBA is one of the best ways to navigate a career pivot. I was working in customer success/sales because I loved understanding the psychology of our clients, what they need, and how to help them grow. However, I found myself gravitating towards projects that involved our marketing team or required employing the creative brain and would admittedly de-prioritize the tasks that fell directly under my job title. It was effortless to do the work required for those marketing tasks because I truly enjoyed them at my core.

After doing a bit of researching and countless informal conversations, I knew that marketing combined all of the things that I liked about my current role and the responsibilities that I saw myself gravitating towards anyway. It was like a light bulb went off in my head; once I knew what I wanted to do, I knew that Business school was the best avenue to accomplish this.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I knew that I wanted to get my MBA since graduating with my undergraduate degree. The harder part was deciding when. I was at a crossroads in my life on multiple dimensions as I reached the 2.5-year mark at the company where I worked. I knew I wanted to change my role. This meant going through a visa extension process, so I had to decide if I wanted to return to U.S. or remain overseas in London. I realized that I needed to come up with a plan that was going provide me with a smooth transition instead of a drastic shock to my lifestyle. As a result, I made the decision to attend business school in 2020, which meant an additional year-and-a-half in London – a city that became a second home to me. This gave me a concrete end date with ample time to learn as much as I needed to confidently navigate a career switch and a new city to look forward to exploring.

DON’T MISS: Meet Fordham Gabelli’s MBA Class of 2022

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