Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Eman Said, Cornell University (Johnson)

Eman Said

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“Cowgirl Hijabi, slayer of stereotypes, healthcare hero-less hero, food and lifestyle blogger, plant lover.”

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: I took the plunge, literally, and went skydiving on my 28th birthday. I shared my tiny plane with a group of well-dressed people who fist-bumped me before making their jump. They ended up being the official U.S. skydiving team, which had just returned from placing at Tanay Mondial, a global skydiving competition.

Undergraduate School and Major: Undergraduate: BS in Kinesiology-Exercise Science at the University of Houston

Graduate: Master of Occupational Therapy at The University of Texas Medical Branch

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: HCA Healthcare, occupational therapist

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Cornell’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was looking for a program that would provide me the hard business skills and concepts while honing my leadership skills. Johnson’s strong business core curriculum, combined with its customized immersions, allowed me to create an immersion in strategy and healthcare. Cornell’s Master of Healthcare Administration program is ranked No. 3 in the country, and I’m able to enroll in classes that interest me from a variety of programs Cornell offers. Additionally, Johnson’s value in being a member of the Consortium played a large part in my selection process. The Consortium’s mission is to encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue MBAs. A lot of why I wanted to go to B-school was to increase equity within the healthcare world, especially within marginalized communities in the United States.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Cornell? The course Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare is a two-part class that applies business trends, current events, and technology to what is happening globally in the healthcare space. It excites me and reminds me of why I decided to go back to school for my most important degree yet!

What excites you the most about living in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region? What excites me about living in Ithaca is that the history of the Native Americans who rightfully roamed the land before us is not lost like it is in so many other places. Areas are named after tribes of the Iroquois who lived there. The peace and tranquility of Ithaca, combined with its waterfalls and abundant greenery in the warmer months, make me feel connected to the land and its history. I’ve visited a lot of places in the United States and lived in a few, but the feeling of living in Ithaca is unique to the area.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far was helping to rehabilitate a young patient with a brain tumor. He was deemed after a stroke to have “poor rehab potential” by his insurance and given 15 minutes of rehabilitation a day. He made incredible gains under my care. With proper evidence and collaboration with his physicians across Houston, I spearheaded his transfer to an inpatient rehab facility where insurance had to pay for six times the amount of therapy he was initially covered to receive. Playing the game on the other side of the fence is my biggest asset coming into an elite business school setting because I know why I’m here and that I’m going to do big things for patients all over the world when I graduate.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Shameless plug and unpaid, but Poets& Quants was and still is a source I use to learn about what different programs and their students are up to. Articles like these provide me a lot of perspective on where I belong in the business school world and what people a year or a few years ahead of me were doing with their business school experience. It guided me to make a more educated decision on what schools made sense for me to target.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As an Occupational Therapist (OT), I found myself working as a contractor in a variety of rehab facilities and a large hospital. I noticed vast differences in the quality of care, particularly in areas with people of a lower socioeconomic status and in areas with higher concentrations of marginalized minorities. As an OT, I also found myself supervising a number of assistants and technicians daily, and I realized that I was facilitating changes that positively impacted my patients. Those changes were modest, but they mattered – and that led me to my MBA journey. The world of healthcare innovation, medical devices, and tech is growing quickly. With a first-hand perspective and a quality Johnson MBA, I am confident that I can be a part of something meaningful and something substantial.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Jones Graduate School of Business (Rice University); Owen Graduate School of Business (Vanderbilt University), Fuqua School of Business (Duke University); the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Cornell’s MBA program? Reflect on unique experiences at work and in your personal life. Incorporate those experiences and the qualities that you have into your story. Craft a story out of your truth. Lesson No. 1 is that marketing is everywhere. Market yourself using the truth because people can see through inauthenticity; that marketing strategy won’t get you far at Cornell — or in life.


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