2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Belen Prebisch, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Belen Prebisch

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“Loyal, enthusiast, red-headed, Argentinian female, modern CFO in the making with a twin.”

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fun fact about yourself: I sky jumped from the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere, the SkyTower in Auckland, New Zealand.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Houston, BBA in Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? PH&H Developers and Construction, Inc

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? KPMG

Where will you be working after graduation? KPMG, Economic and Valuation Services, Transfer Pricing Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Fordham Graduate Finance Society – Co-President (May 2020 – May 2021);
  • Fordham Women in Business – Co-President (May 2020 – May 2021).
  • New York Cares – Volunteer (May 2018 – Present)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my first semester at Fordham, our class had the opportunity to offer pro-bono consulting services to an Argentinean NGO. The NGO focuses on providing nutritional and educational tools to those who need them the most in Buenos Aires. Being from Argentina myself, it was so gratifying to be able to help the country where I was raised. Education and mentorship are so important to me and I was proud of myself, my classmates, and Fordham for being able to assist an NGO that helps the most vulnerable in a Latin American city.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of helping my family’s real estate development company in Texas grow its revenues seven-fold from $2 to $15 million. I prioritized long-term business planning by monitoring trends affecting budgets and making suitable adjustments. Our team was dedicated to helping investors, families, and professionals by building homes in the community. Seeing our business grow and seeing our customers happy is what I’m most proud of.

Why did you choose this business school? Fordham was my top pick. Gabelli’s interdisciplinary program was what I wanted to further my development. Specifically, taking Value Investing under Professor Paul Johnson, Leadership Communication under Professor Travis Russ, and Global Business in London would coalesce to give me a modern MBA perspective. I loved that my cohort would be small and intimate yet immensely fulfilling. The sense of community that Fordham portrays is like nothing I’ve experienced before. I am profoundly pleased with Fordham and the opportunities it has provided me. I am grateful for the faculty, coordinators, advisors, students, and everyone that has contributed to our program. Not only has Fordham been able to provide me an exquisite MBA experience, but also, they have been able to perfectly manage these unprecedented times.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Zirpolo. I took his Modern Financial Analysis and Valuation course. He strikes me as a finance aficionado and transmits his knowledge through his charismatic teaching. His class teaches how to do public comparables analysis, discounts cash flow analysis, precedent transactions analysis, and leverage buyouts analysis. The course provides a foundation for various business functions; it provides core skills and key concepts for interview preparation. Overall Professor Zirpolo makes you learn how theory can be applied in practice.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Fordham Women in Business’ annual conference. FWiB is one of the oldest clubs at Gabelli, founded in 1998. As FWiB’s co-president this year, I had the opportunity to plan its 22nd conference. We had a stellar day planned, full of awesome speakers, including KPMG, Warner Media, Mount Sinai, and Estee Lauder. We also hosted two workshops, an opportunity to network, and raffled great prizes. It is rewarding to be part of FWiB’s annual conferences given that it creates a collaborative environment for the women (and men) at the Gabelli School of Business.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have been less shy at the beginning of my MBA. Business school is portrayed to be super competitive and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I would have been more open to speaking in public during my first days at Fordham. At the end of the day, it’s those difficult experiences that make you grow the most.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Fordham’s biggest myth is this: it’s a small graduate school. Yet, Fordham is your school, New York is your campus. The slogan holds true. Fordham’s location, expansive connections, and vast resources have demonstrated how New York is our enormous campus.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me the most about business school is how much you learn outside of the classroom. There’s so much more than learning technical skills. Your professional pitch, networking skills, and communication skills are increasingly important when it comes to expanding your professional career. Fordham provided me with those “outside of the classroom” resources from day one. Ellen Herman, my Fordham career advisor, has been an asset to my professional development.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?  I believe that doing thorough research about Fordham’s MBA program gave me an edge in the application process. Not only did I do research online, but also I reached out to current students and alumni. Once it was time to submit my application and do my interview, I knew exactly which professors I wanted to take, which student clubs I wanted to participate in, and at which office I wanted to be a graduate assistant. I believe the due diligence benefited my chances of being accepted at Fordham, and even better, it gave me a plan to follow through my MBA years.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate that I admire the most is Michelle Glymin. Michelle is proactive, sincere, and extremely hard working. She is the most generous with her time. Michelle is always there for her classmates, either to study, interview prep, give career advice, or just being there when you need someone to chat with. I wish everyone had a Michelle in their class, as she has taught me so much and has made my experience at Fordham one of a kind.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Fordham has been amazing at handling these unprecedented times. By the time the state mandated a mandatory lockdown, Fordham had all of its classes shifted to online. Professors had to change their teaching methods from one day to the next, and they did an outstanding job. Classes remained at their original times and professors worked hard at keeping students engaged even in an online environment. As for extracurricular activities, Fordham continued to offer plenty of events, including Excel, python, and leadership workshops. I believe Fordham was successful in keeping its faculty, students and members involved.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mentor, ex-boss, and dad, Alejandro Prebisch. His incredible mental math skills and keen eye for business and architecture made him a successful real estate developer starting his business twice, once in Argentina and a second time in the US speaking little English. My father influenced me the most to pursue my MBA. Alejandro is an empathetic mentor. Through his honesty and customer-first mentality, he has inspired me to follow these simple rules in which I hope to reciprocate with my colleagues in the future. Alejandro truly embodies the famous Warren Buffet quote: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Teach financial literacy to middle schoolers, to help them make conscious and smart financial decisions starting from a young age.
  2. Become a modern CFO.

What made Belen such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“From the beginning of the program, Belen has proven to be an indispensable part of Fordham’s community and is viewed as one of the preeminent members of Gabelli’s MBA program.  After leaving her home country of Argentina and spending the first 6 years of her career serving as a budget analyst and VP of Finance at a Texas-based real estate development firm, Belen enrolled in Gabelli’s MBA program and immediately demonstrated the qualities of the model MBA student: motivated, hard-working, and community-driven. She has excelled in both the classroom and in navigating her career transition (upon graduating from the program, Belen will serve as a Transfer Pricing Associate at KPMG).

Above all else, she has been one of the most involved community members in the cohort. Not only does she work as a graduate assistant in the academic advising office, Belen also serves as the co-president for two of our most renowned organizations: Fordham Woman in Business (FWIB) and the Fordham Finance Society. From running technical workshops and organizing networking events, to spearheading the annual FWIB conference (one of the most prominent events at Fordham), her accomplishments in these leadership positions have made a valuable impact on her fellow classmates and the entire Fordham community.

Aside from these positions, Belen has consistently served as an active representative of the Gabelli School. She is always the first to volunteer to participate in an admissions panel or speak to a prospective student, and her willingness to do so despite all of her aforementioned responsibilities illustrates her commitment to the program and the university as a whole. It goes without saying that Belen’s contributions to the Fordham community will leave a lasting impression for years to come.”

Dylan Mosenthal
Associate Director of MBA Admissions
Fordham University: Gabelli School of Business


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