“Looking back to help others is as important as looking forward to new personal opportunities.”
Hometown: New Britain, Connecticut
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m first-generation American as my parents are from Eritrea. So it’s pretty cool that I was born on the date of Eritrean independence!
Undergraduate School and Major: Columbia University, Economics
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Integrated Production Supervisor at FCB Health
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 loved the idea of having a fixed Core curriculum to learn all of the foundational elements I need to know combined with the flexibility to take courses that pique my interest from across the university (such as at the Law School and the School of International & Public Affairs). I didn’t want a program that made me feel too tied down to any one specialization but definitely appreciate the structure of the first semester of Core with essential classes like Strategy and Accounting.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Well-rounded. My classmates are intelligent and come from such well-respected backgrounds while also maintaining a sense of humility, friendliness, and humor. It’s a refreshing balance of IQ and EQ!
What is the best part of coming to New York City for your MBA? Access! Access to many different businesses, leaders, cultures and opportunities. Oh, and the food. The food scene in NYC can’t be beat!
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Columbia Business School? What makes you most nervous about your MBA? I’m most excited for COVID and quarantine to come to an end so we can get the full b-school experience! I’m most nervous that it will be a while until that happens and that we might not be able to travel as classmates anytime this school year.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment was getting the opportunity to formally manage and mentor folks in my last role. I began to learn about my leadership style and how I can best serve those around me, which is a part of my career I want to continue to develop over the years to come.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I was looking for change. I had been working for about 5 years when I started applying to business school. I wanted to switch industry and function. I also wanted to learn more about how businesses operate, become a better leader and grow my professional and social circles. I realized that getting an MBA was the path to reach my short and long-term goals, all while providing a chance to temporarily ditch the office for the classroom and travel more.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale SOM, NYU Stern, and Harvard Business School
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What’s your why? It’s simple but super important. You can never spend too much time refining and reflecting on this!
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? Relaxing! Many MBAs recommended taking a break between work and school. I originally wanted to spend my summer traveling. Once COVID hit, I decided to still take the time off to rest, recharge and reflect on my goals. That included a lot of yoga, beach trips, cooking and seeing family and friends (distantly).
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I was nominated for a week-long intensive leadership training program at work. As the most junior participant, I learned a lot about what makes a good leader and how to deal with difficult situations, which was useful experience going into business school.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? As a customer, I enjoy Starbucks’ products and how they’ve optimized for mobile ordering. As a member of society, I respect that the company provides fair wages and benefits to their employees, which includes family members of mine. As future business leaders, students should keep in mind how they can provide livable wages to all of their employees.