Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Ruby Wang, Columbia Business School

Ruby Wang

Columbia Business School

“Super connector; amateur hiker; a sponge that will never turn down an opportunity to listen and learn.”

Hometown: I call two places home! Vancouver, Canada and Taipei, Taiwan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I don’t have to eat out, but I always do.

Undergraduate School and Major: National Taiwan University, BBA, Accounting

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: NAI Commercial, Industrial Sales and Leasing Associate

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? My decision to attend Columbia Business School was heavily influenced by its strong real estate program. With 15 real estate electives to choose from, CBS offers the most robust set of real estate course offerings amongst top MBA programs. Within the business school, the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate (PMC) supports the real estate program by conducting industry conferences, connecting students with alumni, and supporting Real Estate Association initiatives. The PMC regularly invites seasoned practitioners for class speeches, lunches, and happy hours. Industry tycoons including Jon Gray, Sam Zell, Dean Adler, Paul Pariser, Andrea Olshan, Wendy Silverstein, and Jeffrey Barclay have served as guest speakers and lecturers.

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far. Collaborative and supportive. Thanks to our non-grade disclosure policy, there is always a great sense of camaraderie instead of rivalry. It’s a very collaborative and supportive environment where everyone is committed to facilitating each other’s success, whether it be academic or professional. In addition, I have been overwhelmed by how supportive and generous second year students and alumni have been with their time and mentorship. The CBS alumni community has a strong culture of paying it forward and is always willing to help in any way they can.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School?  I am excited to be heavily involved in the Real Estate Association and in our cluster. The REA is a very active club and student participation is extremely high at all events. The real estate students are a tight-knit group and I look forward to the treks and travels we’ll be doing together. Thanks to our social chairs, our cluster of around 70 people regularly have outings, happy hours, and opportunities to travel together.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have facilitated more than 50 sales and lease transactions and managed over 1.2M SF of commercial space. Out of these deals, representing a warehouse seller, who has a penchant for changing his mind on a moment’s notice, was not the highest grossing but it was the most challenging one. The original tenant was moving out, so we were targeting owner-users. We had it under contract three times and had over 20 editions of the purchase and sale agreement. When the pandemic hit, there was a lot of uncertainty around price discovery. Managing price expectations on both sides in an unprecedented time was an interesting exercise. In the end, we were able to find the right owner user that needed space immediately. We engineered a lease to purchase agreement that met the expectations from both the vendor and purchaser. All in all, it took us two years to close the deal.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Transitioning from brokerage to acquisitions is achievable without an MBA degree. So, for me, the MBA experience and relationships I am building along the way are the main reasons why I’m here at CBS. Exploring New York, the largest real estate market, and learning alongside my peers also felt like the perfect 2-year plan. Post-MBA, I hope to join a real estate investment firm as a senior acquisitions associate.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Weelan. Of the core courses in the MBA curriculum, I would argue that statistics and business analytics give students universally applicable skills in analyzing data and making data-based decisions. Naked Statistics is a compelling read, even for those who have never taken stats 101. It builds your intuition in statistical analysis and lays the foundation for model-based decision making.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg School of Management, Stern School of Business, The Wharton School

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? It’s crucial to convey to the admissions team that CBS is your top choice. Talk to current students and alumni who are on the path that you are pursuing. This will not only help you with the admissions process, but also gain insight into the city, curriculum, culture, and career support at CBS. I spoke to more than 5 current students from each of the schools that I was heavily interested in. The conversations with them gave me a clear idea of the culture and fit, and whether going from brokerage to acquisitions was a viable path for me. Having benefitted from this, I would love to give back to other people who are going through the application journey. Lastly, visit the campus if possible. The new Columbia Business School buildings are beautiful. Plus, visiting New York is an experience in itself.

DRAFT: MEET COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2024

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