2021 MBAs To Watch: Teona Avaliani, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Teona Avaliani

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“Compassionate human that yearns to leave this world a little better than she found it.”

Hometown: I was born and raised in the Republic of Georgia. Currently, I divide my time between Miami, FL, and Brooklyn, NY.

Fun fact about yourself: I slay Blue by Eiffel 65 at Karaoke.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Florida International University, Political Science, and International Relations.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Best Made Company.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Where will you be working after graduation? PwC as a Senior Associate Consultant.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: 

President of Gabelli Pride. In addition, I led panel discussions for Safes Schools South Florida, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Very proud of the work done with Mensajeros de la Paz, an Argentinian nonprofit whose primary focus is to help those in need—children, women, and families alike.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Fordham because they honor community work. I wanted to be part of an institution that advocates and cares.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Falguni Sen: one could truly feel his passion.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Diwali celebration. Fordham loves to celebrate its diversity.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could, I would spend more time with my classmates outside of the classrooms. During school, I was working part-time for a startup in addition to being a GA. As a result, I didn’t have much free time.

What surprised you the most about business school? I didn’t expect it to be as fast-paced as it is.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Diverse and extensive work experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Mesut Ulug and Prabhjit S. Mutneja are people who will find common ground with everyone. I admire their work ethic and determination.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? It was a learning curve, but I was already used to working remotely.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mother. She was a self-made entrepreneur, an immigrant, single mother, who taught herself through trial and error. She inspired me to take advantage of my privilege and get the education she always desired. I want to help women like her attain their dreams.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to write a book on my family, post-communist Georgia, and our immigrant story. In addition, I want to become a public speaker and inspire others through my vulnerability.

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

“From the start of the program, Teona demonstrated an unprecedented drive and self-motivation coupled with hard work in accomplishing her goals. Early on, she determined to land a job in management consulting despite her unique and non-traditional background. Nothing could stop her.

Teona learns and works quickly. As a self-learner, she began honing in on analytical skills by setting up individual case cracking sessions and motivating others to join her. She quickly reached out to social networks inside and outside of Fordham with vigor and intensity like no one else in the program. She leveraged all resources and opportunities available to her by attending networking events, lectures, conferences, and actively participating in a number of student clubs: Management Consulting Association, Women in Business, Gabelli Pride, Gabelli Technology, and Entrepreneurs. As a result, her hard work and determination landed her a senior consulting position with PwC Advisory.

Teona has also been selected to serve as a graduate assistant for Fordham faculty teaching business communication and principles of management classes. She supported the faculty with her valuable input, data analysis, feedback, and overall an impeccable work ethic. Her sensitivity and compassion became an important asset in managing interpersonal communication with students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other MBA students view Teona as a very dedicated, compassionate, and reliable colleague. Throughout the MBA program, she collaborated well with others on projects and also played a leadership role in her groups.  Students could always trust her insights, enthusiasm, and creativity. There is no doubt that paired up with her concentration in management and sustainability, she will continue to be driven and ready to take down all boundaries in pursuit of making a difference in the world.

Overall, Teona embodies grit and a unique set of leadership capabilities that are infused with hard-work, determination, focus and all while being humble and caring individual.  We are grateful for Teona’s accomplishments and her dedication to the program.”

Julita Haber, Ph.D.
Director, Full Time MBA Program 
Clinical Assistant Professor
Gabelli School of Business | Fordham University