2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Veronique Falkovich, Cornell University (Johnson)

Veronique Falkovich

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

“Extroverted, optimistic realist who likes to solve problems and enjoy life with those she loves.”

Hometown: Paramus, New Jersey

Fun fact about yourself: I have a black belt in Shido-Kan karate and was training for a UFC amateur fight before the pandemic.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Northeastern University, Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Wellington Management Co., competitive intelligence associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Boston Consulting Group, Pittsburgh

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group, Pittsburgh

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-president, Old Ezra Finance Club
  • Treasurer, Johnson Wine Club
  • Vice president of events, Jewish Business Association
  • Student representative on dean search committee
  • Johnson Leadership Fellow
  • Admissions ambassador
  • Albert Fried, Jr. Fellow
  • Forté Fellow
  • Course assistant for five courses

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my time serving as co-president of the Old Ezra Finance Club. It was the position that pushed me the most, specifically because it let me help a wider variety of first-years in my school. As someone who interned at Boston Consulting Group and will be returning there after school, my participation on the board of Old Ezra gave me the ability to work with and support all of the investment banking, corporate finance, and investment research and asset management students.

Having both the Consulting Club community and Old Ezra Finance Club community at my back – and being able to make an impact within both – was by far the highlight of my business school career. Working with first-year students, company professionals, and my second-year peers was uplifting, and I felt proud of every single time a student I spoke with or helped got an offer.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, I am most proud of working to create and implement a multi-asset retirement-focused mutual fund for Wellington Management. As someone who was early in her career, taking the fund from initial thought and business idea all the way through launch and creation on the product management side was incredibly rewarding — and seeing the fund stay active and have high returns today always brings me joy. Being the product management lead and coordinating across multiple teams to get the fund started was one of the highest-impact moments at my job, and seeing the fund continue to succeed is a gift.

Why did you choose this business school? It’s a little cheesy, but the culture and the people are, by far, why I chose Cornell Johnson. Everyone I spoke to was an immediate “click,” and I saw myself easily being friends with and connecting with those around me, whether they were prospective students, current students, faculty, or staff. That sentiment has continued throughout the program itself, and I’ve been able to find easy connection with my peers and the faculty around me. The people around me are the ones who have pushed me to take on leadership positions at the school, work to further my professional and academic outcomes and attain my goals.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Rob Symington, who led my investment research and asset management immersion. He is a practitioner who comes to Ithaca every Monday during the spring semester to teach and is a clear example of just how much the school administration, professors and staff care for the students. During the winter break of my first year, I had to decide between offers and career paths, and he walked me through the pros and cons of each and spent over an hour on the phone with me discussing the future and pivots I could have in both. Especially considering this was during winter break, he had no direct obligation to advise me and be a mentor during this time — but his words gave me the perspective I needed and made me feel comfortable with my decisions.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA tradition at Cornell is Johnson Follies, where a group of students comes together to put together a variety of situational skits that make fun of the good, the bad and the peculiar of the MBA experience. We rent out the giant theater in Ithaca Commons and sell out tickets nearly every year. It’s a wonderful night where students, faculty and staff come together to have fun and laugh at ourselves, and the process of getting video ideas up and actually creating the videos is a bonding experience in-and-of-itself.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? The one thing I’d do differently is being open to a variety of recruitment paths at the beginning of the MBA rather than being certain that I was taking a single path. My MBA experience has ultimately been characterized by being open to uncertainty, and I wish I’d have given myself the time to enjoy the learning process more rather than making quick changes and reacting to them.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Cornell Johnson is the idea that being in Ithaca feels like being in the middle of nowhere or makes it difficult to go to a city. We have students traveling to New York City every single weekend, and we are a surprisingly short drive from many cities on the East Coast. Ithaca is also a remarkably cute town and has its own array of restaurants, activities and events to participate in.

What surprised you the most about business school? Honestly, how nice everyone is and how different the administration-to-student relationship is. Cornell Johnson is truly a community in the best sense — whether it be students, administration, staff, or professors, Johnson is home to such a wonderful array of people who care about each other. We know the names of family members, what travel plans people have, and everything in between. I’m lucky to say that I know pretty much everyone in my year, and that’s not uncommon for Johnson. The people make the experience here, and the experience and people are wonderful.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think it involved being honest with both myself and the current students I was speaking to about what kind of culture I was looking for, as well as what I wanted to get out of business school. I wanted to be part of a kind, collaborative culture rather than a competitive one — and finding a school that fit that culture was a blessing. Matching your goals to the goals of the school is incredibly important, and having a fit in that sense makes business school a much smoother transition.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire: My roommate, Pratyusa Mukherjee, has a ton of my admiration. She was one of the people who encouraged me to try consulting and constantly pushes those around her to try to be their best selves. The amount of support and time she’s put toward getting the first-year class up to interviewing standard is incredible, and it’s a great showing of just how invested Johnson peers are in each other’s success.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my bucket list would be to work abroad to build up my international experience and gain a global professional perspective, as well as to manage a team and have impact on the professional decisions of those working under me. A lot of people have helped me on my professional journey, and I want to provide that same support to others.

What made Veronique Falkovich such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Veronique is a gracious and inclusive leader. When she was recently asked to give a speech about Johnson at an event for prospective students, she spent her time focusing on how excellent and supportive her classmates had been on her MBA journey, sharing the spotlight with her peers when she easily could have focused on her own accomplishments. Her genuine belief in the values of community and collaboration is clear in all that she does. I have personally seen it in how she worked with the first-years she supported as a Johnson Leadership Fellow, mindfully supporting her team as they tackled not only the core, but also big life changes. After winning the Leadership Crisis Challenge in her first year, she joined the volunteer team organizing the event. In that role, she is creating a challenging learning experience for her peers and pushing beyond what has been done before to consider what new elements are possible to allow participants to practice critical leadership skills. She has been able to showcase her ability to mentor and guide her peers through tough situations.

Veronique commands respect from her peers even while stepping out of her comfort zone. She won the role of co-president of Old Ezra Finance Club and led the group to outstanding recruiting results — even though she had pivoted to consulting. Given her own career interests had moved elsewhere, it could have been easy to lean out, but Veronique demonstrated commitment and care for her peers in maintaining her focus on the success and culture of the organization. She also worked to merge the Investment Management Club — another organization she is a board member of — with Old Ezra to improve the student experience. In addition, Veronique has been a course assistant and is the head course assistant for a student trek to Israel, where 90 students will learn about local culture and business. Veronique was also named a Fried Fellow, a distinguished honor reserved for second-year students who exemplify both academic and community excellence.”

Jackie Barrett
Associate Director, Leadership Programs
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

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