Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2023

Columbia Business School will open a new campus in January of 2022

P&Q: What have you learned during the pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote learning and how will they impact the MBA experience going forward?

AC: “Regardless of the pandemic, the MBA experience is as much about fostering meaningful connections with others as it is about academics. What CBS has realized is that connections can be formed in-person and by using remote technology. For example, CBS was able to access a more diverse range of guest speakers without geographic limitations. Another lesson learned was the role that a strong community network can play in the face of digital disruption and remote work. Due to our scaffolded cluster program in which students are placed into macro-communities (Class Year), Meso-communities (cluster) and micro-communities (Learning teams) students were able to form relationships and maintain a sense of community despite being remote. It further enforced the role that intentional community design and connection have played in the MBA regardless of whether or not it is in person or remote.”

P&Q: In 2022, CBS opened its new campus in Manhattanville. What are some upgrades over Uris Hall that will increase the resources and enhance the learning opportunities available to MBAs?

AC: “Our new Manhattanville campus is slated to open for classes in January 2021. The Business School’s expansion, which includes two new buildings will double our current footprint.  The magnificent space will be open and offer opportunity for more collaboration among students, faculty and alumni. The Manhattanville campus is only five short blocks from the Morningside campus now, so there will certainly still be ample opportunity to collaborate outside of the Business School, with other programs such as Engineering, Law, Public Health and International and Public Affairs. Manhattanville is already home to the Jerome Green Science Center, the Lenfest Center for the Arts, and The Forum, an event space that can host conferences, meetings and symposium events expanding the School’s potential for innovation, impact, and interdisciplinary learning opportunities.”

New York City

P&Q:  What is your most popular course among MBAs? What makes it so unique and so attractive to MBAs?

AC: “One of our most popular elective courses among MBAs is Modern Political Economy, previously taught by Professor Ray Horton, a recipient of the Presidential Teaching Award in 2020 — the highest award at Columbia University given for outstanding teaching.  Currently this course is co-taught by Professors Glenn Hubbard (Dean Emeritus) and Tano Santos (Director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing). The purpose of the course is to help students understand, predict, adapt to, and shape the evolving world of the political economy from the various views that they will hold during their careers. The course incorporates teachings of philosophers and economists, such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and Milton Friedman, while analyzing current global issues. Students interested in applying economic ideas to the intersection of business, politics, and society, with an emphasis on implications for contemporary business leaders, are encouraged to take the course, and student demand is very high each time this course is offered.”

P&Q: What are your two most popular MBA student clubs? What are the biggest events put on by these clubs? Why do these clubs resonate so deeply with your students?

AC: “At CBS, we have student clubs and organizations that are an incredible part of what makes our community so special. CBS students have the option to join clubs that offer industry support and networking opportunities, affinity groups that focus on culture, diversity and appreciation, as well as clubs that are social and encourage students to connect based on their common interests. Our student leaders are passionate, dedicated, and work hard to provide engaging signature and everyday programming throughout the academic year that promotes both individual and community values. Additionally, student organizations are a place in which students can explore and build upon their leadership skills. Although the past year had its unique challenges, the students came together and offered outstanding virtual programming such as Alleycon, BBSA’s Elevate Speaker Series, and the Executive Board for Student Government’s “Community X” series that focused on underrepresented groups in the workplace.”

Columbia Business School Dean Costis Maglaras


1) New York City: “With over 8.5 million people living in such a dense area, New York City offers the seemingly perfect combination of resources and location to pursue a new career. There are opportunities for any type of business endeavor within blocks of where you can live, study, and learn. Whether you want to or not (but you almost definitely want to) – you are exposed to life and culture everywhere.
Alex Karwoski (’23)

2) Stellar Faculty: “The adjunct professors. I’d read multiple profs’ books before I even realized they taught at the school. Now if I can only register for their classes at some point… Obviously it’s way easier to get the hot electives in your second year.
Jason Cincotta (’23)

“I’m the self-proclaimed president of the Todd Jick fan club! In the spring of my first year, I took his class (Organizational Change) and it quickly became my favorite class. This past fall, I also took his course titled “Bridging the American Divides”, which gives students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of American divides (like educational, urban/rural, and political divides) —and what we might do as future business leaders to help bridge them. It was especially iconic to be taking this class over the November election, as we were collectively experiencing and processing one of the most politically and racially-charged years in many of our lives. Also this past fall, I had the privilege of serving as Professor Jick’s TA for Org Change, which provided a front row seat to the above-and-beyond commitment he shows to students. I watched him innovate to the new Zoom format, putting in countless hours so as to still deliver a rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experience for students, all while seeing him bring humor and optimism onto an otherwise challenging year.”
Letty Perez (’21)

3) CBS Follies: “I’m really excited for Follies! As a producer there’s nothing better than getting a group of passionate people together to put on a show. Getting to be a part of a well-known CBS tradition makes it even more special. Also, who doesn’t appreciate a good Sondheim reference?”
Dana M. Lerner (’23)

“Definitely Follies, which is an SNL-esque roast of the MBA/CBS experience completely written and put on by students. I think it reflects what I’ve noticed about CBS students, who generally are people who take work and academics seriously, but don’t tend to take themselves too seriously. Follies has the unique ability to bring the entire CBS community together.”
Letty Perez (’21)

4) CBS Matters: “I’m really excited about CBS Matters, a program within the school that gives students and faculty a platform to share intimate stories about themselves with their peers. I enjoy being around people and getting to know everything about them, especially if we don’t share similar backgrounds. I’ve been very impressed thus far with how open some of my classmates are upon first meeting. The courage to share these stories will go a long way in helping to fosters lifelong relationships within our class.”
Edward Patterson (’23)

“Columbia Business School has a tradition called “CBS Matters” that I think is an essential ingredient to its secret sauce. CBS Matters is a ritual storytelling opportunity for any student or faculty member to share what matters to them with their peers and community members in a safe, supportive space. It is an incredible way to get to know your classmates on a profound level, establish trust, and make meaningful connections. For the presenter, it is a uniquely welcoming way to allow yourself to be as vulnerable, silly, and open as you want or need to be with your peers—it’s a space to truly express yourself. This tradition tells me how much CBS values the innermost parts of its students, what makes them tick, what fuels their passions, and how they can lead with empathy. CBS is committed to community-building, and CBS Matters is a huge part of that.”
Olivia Mell (’21)

5) Media & Entertainment: “It was crucial for me to choose a business school that had a strong curriculum in media and entertainment as well as a robust bi-coastal alumni network in that industry. Columbia not only had the unparalleled finance and core MBA curriculum that I knew I needed, it also had a dedicated Media & Technology curriculum that fit my goals perfectly. Among the few business schools with reputable media programs, Columbia also had the strongest alumni network which spanned New York and Los Angeles. It was also particularly interesting to me that CBS labeled its curriculum Media & Technology, which signaled to me that CBS uniquely understood the overlap and continued merge of the two industries, and that I would need a strong technology foundation in order to maximize my success post-MBA.”
Olivia Mell (’21)

Columbia’s MBA students. CBS photo


“I knew that CBS was my dream school and so I applied Early Decision. I believe this helped a great deal in signaling to the school that I had very specific goals in mind for which CBS was uniquely suited to help me achieve, and that I would take full advantage of what the school had to offer. I also sat in on classes, attended MBA tour events, asked as many questions as I could of admissions reps, and spoke to a number of current students about their experiences at CBS. It went a long way for me in terms of knowing exactly why CBS was right for me, and helped to establish some great connections early on that became meaningful friendships.”
Olivia Mell (’21)

“The advice I would give to any prospective student is to not try to play the role of a member of the admissions team. Don’t waste precious space on your application telling them what you think they want to hear. The application process is a great opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and what drives you. Let it shine. Use the excitement that comes with being accepted to CBS to motivate you to put together the most complete application. Engage with the CBS community throughout the process and demonstrate that you are passionate about getting your MBA from CBS. The rest will fall into place.”
Edward Patterson (’23)

“Look for people with a similar background as yours who went to CBS in the last five years. Leverage your alma mater network and LinkedIn. If possible, target people who align with your post-MBA aspirations; they will be the most valuable resources. When you have a solid draft of your essays, request a 1:1 session with the CBS Adcom. Make sure to mention your specific ties to Columbia and/or NYC if applicable. Think from their perspective, if CBS makes you an offer, they want to be sure you will accept it. Specific ties are always a plus.”
Mélanie D’Mello Génin (’23)

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Tori Bell Wichita, KS Agnes Scott College Facebook
Evan Brush Virginia Beach, VA University of Virginia U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command
Jason Cincotta Boston, MA Pomona College The Cincotta Co.
Mélanie D’Mello Génin Reims, France Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris Harp Soloist, Harp Teacher (Independent)
Alex Karwoski Moultonborough, NH Cornell University US Rowing
Kilian Koffi Cote d’Ivoire and Groningen, the Netherlands Lancaster University World Bank
Dana M. Lerner Princeton, NJ Cornell University Red Pelican Creative
Sydney McNeal Montclair, NJ Boston College Facebook
Edward Patterson Detroit, MI Eastern Michigan University U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
Tamsyn Thompson Brooklyn, NY Ashford University U.S. Navy
Sydney Wade Miami, FL University of Michigan Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium

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