2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Nathalya Mamane, Babson College (Olin)

Nathalya Mamane   

Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business

“If I don’t make you laugh, I am not making the best of the day!”

Hometown: Brookline, MA

Fun fact about yourself: I want to believe that I can sing and dance. But all I do is embarrass my kids.

Undergraduate School and Degree: McGill University – Bcom ‘95

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before enrolling as a CAM student, I ran my event planning business called NM Events for close to 15 years.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I did not intern in the summer of 2020.  But I made the best out of the summer for my kids while all the camps we closed. I also celebrated my daughter’s wedding with a small and intimate ceremony. While trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for my children, I had the honor of being a teacher’s assistant for Professor Dwight Gertz for an intensive 5week consulting class called Covid-Sprint. Following the Covid-Sprint, I partnered with Professor Sinan Erzurumlu on a research project that became the precept for the Future Lab Class this spring.

Where will you be working after graduation? I hope to continue working on a new business venture which is to revolutionize the strep testing process by creating a device that can be used at home.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

* Recipient of the MBA Leadership Award and the Katherine Sayare Scholarship for Women in Business

* Named a Lewis Institute fellow for my work in research projects for the Lewis Institute

* I was a student representative. In that role I made sure to be a voice to my fellow students and to take actions on the challenges that I saw the students facing.

* I initiated a project to help my fellow students find creative ways to manage the pandemic’s limitations. I worked directly with the dean of innovation to find creative ways to improve student overall experience, including in-class and virtual learning, making meaningful connections, and broadening their networks for jobs and internships

* Assisted and acted as a mentor for an experimental virtual consulting class over the summer. That experience led the way for strengthening the consulting experiences while they had to become virtual.

* Mentoring teams in an experiential learning lab in design thinking.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Other than surviving the program to date, when I thought that at my age was an impossible feat, the achievement I am most proud of is having earned the trust and respect of so many members of the faculty. When I was approached to help in a research project with a professor over the summer, I did not know how that research was going to change me.  The project was to understand how technology could mitigate social isolation in older adults. Our findings uncovered a societal issue that was not given enough attention until the pandemic put all our loved ones in isolation: there wasn’t enough knowledge in technology to keep them connected. This project became the foundation for an experiential learning class where groups of students use a human centered design approach to find solutions for the various areas of this issue. As a mentor for these teams, I have the honor of guiding them through their journey.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a small business owner, my professional and personal lives had many tangled lines in a web that sometimes felt quite overwhelming. I had to balance the needs of my children while answering the needs of my clients.  So, my proudest achievement is to see how my four children have grown to be responsible, kind, and honest humans.  Choosing to go back to school while I still have two middle schoolers at home was not an easy decision for me.  But it was my children that gave me the push I needed to know that no matter how much time school would take way from being with them, they were not only going to be fine but that they would also thrive.

As far as my professional career goes, what I am most proud of is the reputation I built, not only as a planner but as a planner who took to heart every aspect of the clients’ fears, anxieties, and concerns. No matter how big or small the events were, my passion and my desire to strive for excellence gave my clients peace of mind and the opportunity to enjoy every moment of the special day.

Why did you choose this business school? When I decided to pursue business school, I did not know what I was hoping to achieve in school or what my end game was. But I was sure of one thing: I wanted to be exposed to all the ways a business can be impactful and meaningful. I wanted the opportunity to hear about how I can use my passion and creative mind to impact change. I was hoping for the school to lead the way for me, so I allowed myself to be a blank canvas and let the program help me draw the picture of the next stage of my professional career. Babson’s core values toward social change is what resonated with me.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Due to the pandemic, all events became virtual, which for me became a challenging way for me attend them. However, I always loved attending the Lewis Institute’s roundtables because the conversations were always interesting and thought-provoking. It allowed me to hear from the attendees and not just a speaker. The events hosted by the Lewis institute were a true reflection of the value that Babson stood by which strengthened my passion for social innovation.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I did not know that I would end up doing an MBA program. My journey first started as a CAM student. I transferred to the MBA program with a large number of credits. If I were to do things differently:

  1. I would not have used as many credits in the CAM, so that I could experience more time as a full time MBA student.
  2. I would have been more engaged with the various centers in the school. They have so much to offer and so many great people to network with.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The myth is that small schools have a more restricted network, which could not be more wrong. Babson is a smaller school and an extensive, active and loyal network. During this pandemic, alumni wanted to engage and help the student. I am amazed at how great this Babson Network it and how present and active they are.

What surprised you the most about business school?

1) Access to the faculty.

2) Faculty responsiveness and their desire to help a student be successful not only in their class but in the future.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? When I decided to pursue and MBA program, I wanted to do it at Babson, which is why Babson was the only school where I applied. I explored other schools, but Babson is the only one that truly resonated with me. I knew what I wanted and what I was looking for, and I was unwilling to settle just to complete an MBA program. I stayed true to myself and for what I stood for.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Mai Taekuchi – Mai is from Japan. With limited English, she has experienced challenges due to language barriers. However, you will always find Mai with a smile on her face and grateful for the chance to be in the program and a member of this cohort. I admire her ability always to see the glass full and never empty. She is a true inspiration.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The pandemic was extremely disruptive. As a mother of 4 and with so much uncertainly about my kids’ capability of going back to school, I did not know that I could handle virtual learning for myself. I did not have confidence in juggling the various emotional and physical challenges in a full household. However, I had to take a step back, look at the situation and use the words I had used on my kids when they faced challenges: “Take it one day at a time and cross bridges only when they appear. Do not anticipate the bridge and do not think about a bridge. Because that bridge may never appear. Stay strong and keep moving forward.” As scary as it all was, I had to walk the walk and moved forward.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My husband, Paul.  Completing an MBA was a lifelong dream of mine. When it came time to apply, my husband was my biggest cheerleader. He made me believe in myself and gave me the confidence I needed to leap.

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

* Inspire and empower women to reach for the stars when they don’t think they can it.

* I want to end the day knowing that whatever I did was impactful and meaningful to me.  I want to be proud of what I do and what I accomplish everyday.

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

“Nathalya has been an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021 by her curiosity and drive to learn, leadership to enhance the learning experience for all, and her entrepreneurial spirit to apply her MBA to create value for the society.

First, Nathalya is an exceptional student. She is extremely engaged in the learning process. She prepares for her classes and engages in classroom discussions to weigh and consider new ideas. Her involvement in class creates an enormous positive spillover effect for all. She checks in with her peers regularly and becomes a leader to her classroom community of peers. She has served as an ambassador for her peers with the faculty to enrich the learning experience for all, no student left behind. She has become a leader that speaks for her peers.

Second, her leadership did not stop in the classroom. Nathalya has become a section rep and contributed to the overall quality of the program. In her role, she has become an invaluable member of the MBA team with her timely and constructive criticism on how we might improve the value of MBA program. For example, when the program went into hybrid learning mode, Nathalya has shared students’ perspectives to improve the experience for all students.

Third, Nathalya has brought in her entrepreneurial spirit and drive to the MBA program. She has been involved in projects where she could create business and social impact. She has shown the value of an MBA to the society. She has been involved in a variety of projects that has helped older adults in social isolation, discharge process for personal mobility, and designing an affordable at-home strap test. She has demonstrated a moral obligation that every MBA must have to society.”

Sinan Erzurumlu
Faculty Director for the Full-Time MBA Programs



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