2023 MBA To Watch: Josefina Israel, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Josefina Israel

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“I talk a lot, laugh a lot, love many things, and never, ever give up.”

Hometown: Concepción, Chile

Fun fact about yourself: In the last 9 years, I’ve lived in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, then again New York!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston University, bachelor’s degree in economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Barker Consulting, Sales Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Nissan North America

Where will you be working after graduation? I was offered a full-time role as a Marketing Analyst at Nissan immediately following my summer internship. I’ve been in my role since September 2022, which has allowed me to gain a head-start on my career and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow within the company following my graduation!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President of Fordham Graduate Marketing Society and Co-President of Fordham Net Impact

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The memorable events that the FGMS & Net Impact teams put together, including Fordham’s First Entrepreneurship Fair and First Sustainable Fashion Show!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Prior to the start of my MBA, my proudest career achievement was being promoted to management within my organization after consistently exceeding performance targets and demonstrating commitment to mentoring and developing others on my team. It was a recognition of the hard work I put in and became a turning point for my career, as it gave me the confidence to believe in myself and take on more challenging projects and responsibilities.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Gabelli School of Business because of its reputation for developing business leaders with a global perspective and commitment to ethical leadership. Particularly, the school’s emphasis on cura personalis – the Jesuit value of ‘care for the whole person, and socially responsible business practices.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I would like to use this opportunity to give a shout-out to Professor Benjamin Cole, who taught me Strategy and Blockchain. Professor Cole’s expertise in these fields is impressive and he has a way of breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible terms. He challenged us to think critically and creatively about business problems, and his real-world examples and case studies made his courses a fascinating experience for me!

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Markets, Business, and Society taught by Professor Miguel Alzola during our second semester. I appreciated the course’s focus on business ethics and the way it challenged us to think deeply about our core values as future business leaders. Professor Alzola’s teaching style was engaging and thought-provoking, and I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss case studies from multiple angles and perspectives.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of my favorite MBA memories is the trip that our cohort took to London, where we went to present our Capstone Consulting Project. This trip was an opportunity for us to work as colleagues through real business challenges, as well as spend time together, share experiences outside the classroom environment, and develop deeper, lasting friendships.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If there is one thing I could change about my MBA experience, it would be that I would have pursued more entrepreneurial opportunities. Fordham offers a wealth of resources and support for entrepreneurs. If I hadn’t been so focused on interviewing for corporate roles, I would have taken more risks and used this opportunity to build my own business or side-gig!

What is the biggest myth about your school? One myth about Fordham is that it’s primarily a Jesuit school with a focus on traditional Catholic values and education. While the school’s heritage is an important part of its identity, I’ve found that Fordham is extremely inclusive and diverse in its perspectives and offerings. From the diverse student body to a wide range of academic courses and extracurricular activities offered, Fordham embraces and celebrates a broad spectrum of beliefs, cultures, and interests.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? What’s not to love about New York City? Living in the center of arts and culture, with access to the world’s most iconic museums, galleries, theaters, and shows, has allowed me to balance my academic pursuits with enriching experiences outside the classroom.

What surprised you the most about business school? One thing that surprised me about business school was the strong emphasis placed on collaboration and teamwork since the first day. I had previously expected my MBA journey to be more individualistic and competitive, but found that the program’s culture was centered on cooperation and mutual support. Not only that, but I found that I learned just as much from working with my classmates and hearing about their experiences that I did in class from my professors.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe that two things I did really helped to set me apart in my application to business school. First, I took advantage of the “Optional Essay” prompt and used it as an opportunity to share the story of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the industry I was working in at the time, and the innovative ways my team and I were able to navigate the challenges. This allowed me to demonstrate adaptability, creativity, and provide examples of my leadership experience. Second, I proactively reached out to current MBA students to schedule informal interviews and learned about their experiences at the school. Through this exercise, I was able to gain valuable insight about the culture, curriculum, and extracurricular activities, as well as build relationships with students and demonstrate my genuine interest in the program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? One classmate I admire and look up to is my friend Cristiane Sampaio. Not only is Cristiane the class representative for our cohort, but she’s also become a mother twice over the last two years while juggling the demands of our MBA program. On top of that, she secured a highly competitive internship at Amazon over the summer and has consistently been a leading voice and advocate for our class throughout the entire program. What I admire most about her is her exceptional ability to manage her personal, professional, and academic lives while maintaining a positive attitude, and an unwavering commitment to supporting her classmates.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first item in my professional bucket list is to lead a major project at Nissan, where I’m able to manage a cross-functional team and become a mentor for others. Next in my bucket list is to launch my own company or brand, expand internationally, and publish a novel based on my expertise.

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

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Josefina for over two years during her time at Fordham Graduate School of Business, and I am confident that she is one of the most passionate, persistent, and team-oriented individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

On the career front, Josefina successfully landed a job as a Regional Marketing Analyst for Nissan Motor Corporation after serving as an MBA intern in Summer 2022. She was a model student when it came to her proactive involvement with the Career Development Center and worked tirelessly to make sure she was successful in her career transition. With her passion and persistence, I am confident that she will excel in her new role and make valuable contributions to the organization. I have no doubt that Josefina will continue to be a shining star and an asset to any organization lucky enough to have her on board.

Further, Josefina is an outstanding team player who values collaboration and teamwork above all else. Her leadership roles as Co-President of both the Fordham Graduate Marketing Society and Fordham Graduate Net Impact organization were testaments to her ability to work with others and achieve common goals. She always ensured that everyone’s voice was heard, and that everyone felt included and valued. Both organizations thrived under her leadership and will likely continue to prosper given her valuable contributions.

I strongly endorse Josefina Rodriguez for inclusion in the “Best and Brightest MBAs: Class of 2023” feature. Her passion, persistence, team-oriented mindset, and leadership skills make her an exceptional candidate, and I am confident that she will excel in whatever she sets her mind to.”

Dylan Mosenthal
Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions



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