Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Neimy Escobar, Columbia Business School

Neimy Escobar

Columbia Business School

“Wildly optimistic failed stand-up comedian with a passion for investing and global philanthropy.”

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Fun Fact About Yourself: In true Las Vegas fashion, my first job at 16 was in a casino.

Undergraduate School and Major: Harvard University, Major: Comparative Study of Religion; Minor: LGBT Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Lemann Foundation – São Paulo, Brazil, Senior Project Coordinator

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? With a background in impact investing, I wanted a school that seamlessly combined a robust finance curriculum with social impact. I highlight Professor Bruce Usher, Faculty Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, who teaches at the intersection of finance, social and environmental issues as just one example of CBS’s offerings.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? CBS students are incredibly kind and empathetic. Everyone prioritizes supporting each other and ensuring that we reach our full potential as leaders.

What is the best part of coming to New York City for your MBA? After living in São Paulo, Brazil for 4 years, I knew I was drawn to fast-paced eclectic cities. Coming to New York City did not disappoint, as I’ve been exploring the diversity of cultures and people through food and parks. Despite the pandemic, the city continues to be vibrant!

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Columbia Business School? What makes you most nervous about your MBA?

Most Excited: Once the world opens up again, I’ll have the opportunity to travel with my fellow classmates.

Most Nervous: In the blink of an eye, we’ll be at graduation. I don’t want to get to May of 2022 looking back thinking that I missed out on an opportunity.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far. It was creating an endowment fund to support Black Brazilians pursuing graduate studies at top tier universities. While I managed multiple funds aimed to increase Brazilians pursuing studies at top tier universities, this was the first racially focused fund supported by the Lemann Foundation. I had the opportunity to build co-investment relationships with larger philanthropies and pitch a completely new direction to the board. Once approved, the endowment set a precedent for foundations in Brazil and provided a clear stance on diversity and inclusion that sparked additional initiatives and monitoring of diversity metrics across multiple programs.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? It’s never a bad time to invest in yourself. As the first person in my family to graduate high school, I always had the intention to pursue a graduate degree. However, it took me a few years to identify that an MBA was the right fit. My managers with MBAs exposed me to leadership skills and business frameworks that an MBA program helped develop. As my responsibilities grew and I began leading teams, I wanted to take the time to fully invest in myself and set a strong foundation for me to become a better business leader.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Berkeley Haas, MIT Sloan, Ross, Wharton/Lauder, Yale SOM

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Where do we rank for you?

When applying to schools, I ensured I could see myself as part of the student body at each one. It was a fine line between sharing my considerations and genuinely explaining that I would love an opportunity to pursue studies at their MBA program.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? Running! I ran a half marathon by myself during lockdown as a way to stay sane and focus on mental health. This is a practice I plan on continuing throughout business school, so I have heavily looked into how to best incorporate health and wellness into my routine once school starts.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Leaving a stable job in tech and pursuing an opportunity in Brazil. Moving to another country with a completely different language and culture was an extremely humbling experience. This experience allowed me to push my limits, step out of my comfort zone, and discover myself as a professional. When applying to business school, I often leaned into this moment as a way to gain greater confidence and remind myself that the things that scare you the most also have the greatest learning potential.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? In memory of Tony Hseih, also my hometown business hero, I’d recommend business students look into Zappos. It’s not just a shoe company, it’s a model of how a company can have financial success and still prioritize a culture of happiness, purpose, and positive impact in local communities.

DON’T MISS: MEET COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2022

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