Columbia Business School
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m a former teacher and amateur chef who loves running, non-fiction books, and education reform.
Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Fun Fact About Yourself: My middle name is Love.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago, Anthropology Majo
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 6th grade Math and 6th grade Technology teacher at The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx, an all-girls public middle and high school in the South Bronx
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Halfway through my first year of teaching, I started the track and field team at my school. With about 20 students joining, we had weekly practices and occasional track meets that culminated in the citywide championship meet at the end of the school year. The team continued to grow over the next two years and eventually included both a middle school and high school team. Coaching these girls was easily the highlight of my teaching career. I was able to pass on my love of running and competing to my students while also teaching them dedication to a very difficult sport.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I spent the summer between my second and third years of teaching studying for the GRE and the very best thing that I did to prepare was to take practice tests in a setting that mimicked the testing site as much as possible. This made the actual test day feel a lot less stressful because it felt like I had already experienced it a few times. I had planned an evening flight to London from JFK just a few hours after taking the GRE. And while the trip was a nice celebration of being done, booking the flight for just a few hours after I finished the test created a lot of unnecessary stress and I wouldn’t recommend it!
For both writing the application essay and the interview, the best advice I can give is to know your story. I spent a long time talking to close friends and family about why exactly I wanted to go to business school and how going to business school would help me accomplish what I want to accomplish in life. Because I had already talked about it so many times with different people, answering “Why business school?” and “Why Columbia?” in both the essays and the interview felt very natural. I also practiced saying out loud answers to commonly-asked questions so I would know what key things I would want to get across if I was asked that question in the interview.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I knew from the start that I wanted to stay in New York City. Both of my brothers live in NYC (and my little brother is an undergraduate at Columbia!) and being near family was a priority for me. But being in NYC was also important for me in terms of my career goals. I am interested in education reform and education technology. There are many outstanding education technology companies that work within the New York City Department of Education because it is the largest Department of Education in the United States and because there is such a diverse population of students.
Columbia offers so many programs and opportunities for me to grow as a student and as a person. The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise offers electives that focus specifically on what I am interested in studying and showed me that Columbia really wants to support business school students, like me, who want to focus on social enterprise.
Everyone that I spoke to throughout the admissions process was so enthusiastic about the Columbia Business School program. I loved the welcoming feeling that I got when I was at information sessions like the Spotlight On: Columbia Women in Business event.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My immediate dream is to work for an education technology company, helping them to grow their business so they can partner with more schools and Departments of Education throughout the country. That way, more students can have access to better and more engaging classroom opportunities.
My long-term goal is to work for the United States Department of Education, creating and implementing policy to increase technological equity throughout school systems in the United States. This would include facilitating partnerships with education technology companies that actually help students succeed.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “We are confident that Elsbeth is going to change education in the United States and help all students have the opportunity to succeed.”