Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2025

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

That phrase gets bandied about from c-suite executives to seminar hosts. It is a reminder that connections are currency – and returns often stem from relationships. These days, who you know only goes so far. To truly succeed, the calculus must expand to who you are, what you see, and how you respond.

Ultimately, your currency isn’t who you know, but how you make others feel.

Call it your EQ – Emotional Quotient. For many, the term is synonymous with interpersonal skills – your ability to communicate, listen, empathize, and influence. That’s a big part of it. However, EQ also involves possessing self-awareness and exercising self-control – knowing what drives you and how you’re perceived so you can curb your worst instincts and adapt to situations. More than that, EQ is a social intelligence, an ability to decipher subtle cues and navigate complex interrelationships, to read a room and size up each person in it.


In admissions, decision-makers often focus on what can be measured (GMAT) or proven (personal achievements). In the end, what really matters in business school is EQ – the right people who can bring out the best in others. As MBA students, they’ll know how to operate in teams, bring in all voices, and resolve conflicts. That means everyone does more and learns more, building deeper relationships and achieving bigger results. And they have a fun time along the way! That’s one reason why New York University’s Stern School of Business makes EQ so central to its mission – and admissions choices.

In a 2023 blog post, Matthew Moll, MBA admissions director, describes EQ as the “nutrient rich topsoil” that fuels the Stern community. In fact, Moll adds, Stern requires applicants to submit EQ endorsements – similar to recommendation letters – that provide examples of their interpersonal strengths in areas ranging from self-management to empathy. In fact, Stern has branded their approach as EQ+IQ, though it has also been dubbed “EQ with Tech Proficiency” by JP Eggers, the vice dean at Stern.

“EQ is core to Stern’s values; we screen for it, we stress it in our admissions process,” Eggers told P&Q in a 2022 interview.  “I can confirm that when I speak with employers (recruiters and hiring managers) and ask about what they see from our students that is different, this is 100% what they say – Stern MBAs are team-oriented, cooperative, fun to be around, different and unique, and possess high EQ. At the same time, Stern MBAs bring strong tech and quantitative skills to the table. Data analytics is part of Stern’s core curriculum and is built into so many classes throughout the MBA experience. In today’s global, tech-driven environment, it’s a cost of entry requirement for doing business.”

Incoming NYU Stern two-year Full-time MBA students, the Class of 2025, on Ellis Island.


Clearly, NYU Stern is meeting the market’s needs through EQ+IQ. In 2022, the graduating class pulled in record-breaking starting pay packages of $196,143, third behind just Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School. For the Class of 2025, the admissions requirements turned Stern into a destination. However, each first-year ultimately views EQ in a slightly different way. For Marcia Hu, a Brooklyn pharmacy owner, EQ is grounded in “taking stock of what’s here and asking myself, ‘What’s missing?’” Tal Moriah, a former product manager, boils it down to consistency, while talent specialist Jasmin Rainbow frames it as a “deeply-held genuine respect” for “emotion and relationships.” At the same time, Rashauna David equates EQ with empathy.

“For someone to be emotionally intelligent, they must see things from different perspectives even when they may disagree with them,” explains the Deloitte senior consultant. “EQ has played out in my career in many ways as a consultant. Working as a product manager and scrum master, I’ve had to understand pain points of consumers while managing expectations with clients and internal firm leadership. This skill requires a balance of understanding, patience, and leadership.”

Whatever its definition, EQ isn’t soft. Instead, it is simply codifying the skills that will enable MBAs to get ahead in business, be it 1923 or 2023. And they are as applicable to the mean streets of New York as the main streets of Americana. You’ll find this same versatility in the Class of 2025. Take David B. Ritter, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering due to his love of solving “nuanced problems.” That incudes building an engineering team in developing a jet engine program. Now, he intends to transition to investment banking. His classmate, Aishani Majumdar, is a chemical engineer by training. She switched over to marketing at Rodan + Fields, where she launched an “innovative” skincare product.

“I led the project end-to-end by generating a business case, leading an innovation team to build the product, creating the go-to-market strategy, and getting the product in the hands of millions of consumers,” she tells P&Q. “The project was especially significant because the product was built and positioned for melanin-rich skin, a first for a company struggling to attract diverse consumers other than Caucasian women. I used my lived experience as a brown woman and consumer to inform an enterprise-wide strategy.”

Washington Square Park


The class also includes Erik Peterson, a Spokane native and West Point grad who served as a fire support office in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Working at the International Finance Corporation – a member of the World Bank – Denisse Rebolledo worked on investments ranging from financial inclusion to climate change across six countries. Before classes started, Rashauna David completed two venture capital internships…along with landing a full-tuition fellowship for Stern from the Consortium. At American Express, Tal Moriah became a founding member of the data product team in the colleague experience group.

“The team was newly-created in order to harness the power of colleague data to inform leadership on key decisions regarding Amex colleagues (employees). This team will help create new data products in order to improve the colleague experience and keep American Express as one of the best places to work.”

In 2021, Marcia Hu received the opportunity of a lifetime. “My community pharmacy in Sunset Park was approved to administer the COVID-19 vaccine! This was a huge deal! As a small pharmacy servicing thousands of Chinese-speaking patients, we now had the opportunity to combat mRNA misinformation by educating and vaccinating our primarily senior patient population in their mother tongue. To date, we’ve successfully vaccinated 3,000+ community members in Sunset Park and continue to expand our offerings to include even more vaccines.”

Some interesting tidbits about Class of 2025 members? Rashauna David spent a decade as a competitive cheerleader, with Jasmin Rainbow devoting the same amount of time singing in a 10-piece function band – Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble. Despite growing up in the tropics, Aishani Majumdar loves ice and snow sports. And this is how Gandharv Mahajan has trained himself to deal with discomfort…

“I’ve dyed my hair blue, pink, purple, green, and red!”

New York City


She’ll certainly fit in up in New York City metro, where a third of its 20-million people were born outside the United States. The city’s diversity is just one of its strengths, says Marcia Hu. “Want to see the small business landscape across different cultural and economic backgrounds? Take any train and arrive at an ethnic enclave where some of our 3.1 million immigrants reside. Learning a language? Welcome to the most linguistically diverse city in the world (over 800 languages spoken in NYC)! If you need to disconnect, take a train out East for the beach or up North for the Adirondack mountains. The more time you spend in NYC, the deeper you dive into the subcultures that make up this city, and the more you realize that this place truly is a snapshot of the world around us!”

Indeed, New York City is iconic. Think Broadway for entertainment, 5th Avenue for shopping, and Wall Street for finance – a city that never sleeps and the center of the universe. If you can make there, you can make it anywhere, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra. Evolving, hustling, and dreaming – the energy, possibilities, and diversity. “There’s so much to do and discover,” in the words of Tal Moriah. For her, that is what is going to make the next two years so special at NYU Stern.

“If you want to try something new – be it a dance class, pottery, or outdoor yoga – you can easily find an opportunity to try it here (and probably speak to someone who has)! If you’re willing to dive in, give it your all, and talk to new people, you can explore a world of opportunities. While that may sound overwhelming, that world of opportunities energizes me and motivates me to wake up every morning and make the most of what the city has to offer.”

Next Page: Interview with Vice Dean JP Eggers

Page 3: In-depth Profiles of 10 First-Year MBA Students

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