Student Leadership and Ethics Board
The purpose of the center's Student Leadership and Ethics Board is to foster a culture and safeguard a tradition of principled leadership throughout the Columbia Business School community. The Board fulfills its purpose by developing, implementing and monitoring programs that cultivate leadership, build character, and promote ethical decision making, which, in turn, enable Columbia Business School students to become productive, moral, and caring participants in their companies and communities.
Each year, first- and second-year Columbia MBA and EMBA students are selected based on an interest in these areas, demonstrated leadership skills, and past academic and work experience.
Working with the faculty, staff, alumni, and other students, members of the Leadership and Ethics Board develop, support, organize, and market such center events as high-profile speakers and experiential learning activities. In doing so, Leadership and Ethics Board members have the opportunity to interact closely with distinguished speakers, panelists, and professors and to contribute to the MBA experience.
Members of the Leadership and Ethics Board also take part in the center's faculty dinners and interact with Bernstein Faculty Leaders.
Qais Al-Kharusi '14
Lawson Anderson '15
Terence Battle '14
Jeremy Biggs '15
Karl Blunden EMBA'15
David Cho '15
Kalyani Iyer '14
Jordana Kier '14
Genevieve Kinney '15
Dan Love '14
Dave Nash EMBA'15
Kanyisa Ncemane '15
Silvia Padilla '14
Ian Rahilly '15
Jonathan Robins '15
Natalie Rubin '14
Surabhi Shastri '15
Kiley Smith EMBA'14
Sean Taub EMBA '14
Matt Wilson '14
Board Members’ Biographies
Qais is born and raised in the Sultanate of Oman. He graduated first in bilingual schools nationwide and received a full scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education to complete his undergraduate studies in the US. He graduated with BSE in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. Upon returning to Oman he worked as a Key Account Manager at Shell Oman Marketing. After a year he moved to the Omani SWF -State General Reserve Fund- where he had several responsibilities including economic and market research, manager selection, business strategy and asset allocation. Qais has passed all three levels of the CFA and is a CAIA chart holder.
Lawson Anderson is a first year MBA candidate and a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in Economics and Music from the University of Virginia, where he was actively involved in student leadership and government organizations, including the Raven Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, and several vocal music ensembles. He worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Operations Consulting practice from 2009 until 2013 for cross-industry events in the U.S. and Europe. Lawson currently serves on Alumni and Giving councils for both UVA and the Westminster Schools in Atlanta and is actively involved as a volunteer for the Riverside Park Conservancy.
Terence graduated summa cum laude from Marist College in 2009 with a degree in business administration. After graduation, he spent three years working with IBM in various finance capacities. Prior to attending CBS he held the position of finance coordinator for the Enterprise Content Management software brand. In this role he managed the P&L of a $1B global software brand and integrated two multi-million dollar acquisitions. Terence believes that through educating youth we can foster a new generation of value-based leaders and has served as a board member for a youth organization promoting diversity.
A native of Fairfax, VA, Jeremy J. Biggs graduated from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 2006 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and was accepted into the Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer Community. In July of 2006, he reported to his first ship, USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8) in Jacksonville, FL. While onboard MCINERNEY, Jeremy made two Counter-Narcotic Trafficking deployments to Central America. In July of 2009, Jeremy reported to USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN-77), the nation’s latest nuclear aircraft carrier, in Norfolk, VA. Onboard BUSH, Jeremy was a nuclear reactor plant supervisor. Prior to Columbia Business School, Jeremy spent his last two years of active duty as an Admissions Officer at his alma mater, USNA. Jeremy’s greatest joy during his time back at USNA was teaching a semester of leadership to a class of twenty freshmen.
Karl Blunden works as a high yield research analyst at Goldman Sachs, where he advises clients on investments in technology, automotive supplier, and business services companies. He previously worked as a consultant for Applied Predictive Technologies, an early-stage analytical software company. Karl is an active member and former president of the University of Virginia’s Global Business Coalition, an organization that hosts speaker forums for alumni. He recently completed a five-year term as a member of the University of Virginia’s Young Alumni Council, where he led several initiatives as the chair of its Mentorship and International Engagement Committees. On weekends, Karl enjoys volunteering at StreetSquash, a youth enrichment program that combines academic tutoring with squash instruction. Karl is from Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied economics and history at the University of Virginia, with a focus on 20th century Asia and Africa.
David is a West Point graduate and has served over 8 years of active duty service in the US Army. He served as a combat arms officer leading teams, from small to large (100+), in locations such as Alaska, South Korea, and Iraq. He is also a certified skydiver and scuba diver, but spensd most of his time on the ground running a small start-up that he and his wife started. In the midst of school and the business, he tries to make it a point to break a sweat at least once a day and live a healthy and honest lifestyle.
Nikolai Chowdhury EMBA'15 - EMBA Chair
Nikolai Ishan Chowdhury is a creative and versatile technologist. Currently serving as Solution Architect for the Mobile Competency Center at EPAM Systems, the #1 software services and solutions provider from Central and Eastern Europe, Nikolai crafts innovative products, solutions, and strategies in the mobile realm for customers and manages the intersection of sales, marketing and production. He was born and raised in the New York area and holds a degree in Economics from Fordham College at Lincoln Center and technical certifications from Microsoft and CompTIA. Prior to GENWI, Nikolai has more than twelve years of experience in technology and developed and implemented numerous innovative and groundbreaking interactive experiences at Genwi, a Silicon Valley mobile startup, Women’s Wear Daily, a division of Condé Nast Publications, and Colin Cowie Enterprises, a lifestyle digital media company. His list of clients includes Time Warner Center, Times Music India and Fordham University. Apart from skiing, Nikolai enjoys being a concert classical pianist and collaborating with his family’s music production company in India.
Elizabeth Elston '14- MBA Co-Chair
From 2008 to 2012, Elizabeth worked for the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), a nonprofit organization in New York City that provides research and technical assistance to government agencies. As a Planning Analyst, she studied the outcomes and operations of New York City’s child welfare system and laid the groundwork for key reforms to improve its fairness and efficiency. At Vera, she also helped plan the operations of a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to people in immigration detention, and co-authored a report detailing the role of the child welfare system in reducing chronic truancy among teenagers. Prior to her time at Vera, Elizabeth interned with a legal services nonprofit organization in Durban, South Africa, where she conducted research in support of a class action lawsuit to ensure adequate school infrastructure for rural students. Elizabeth graduated cum laude from Yale University in 2006 with a BA, and majored in cultural anthropology.
Kalyani Iyer is originally from Singapore. After completing her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Economics, she started her career in the Microfinance industry in China as one of the first foreigners to work with China’s largest MFI. Subsequently, she headed the New Business Initiatives for India’s second largest commercial MFI, where she piloted new financial products and consumer goods, such as solar products and water-purifiers with over four million clients across India. More recently, her work has involved using mobile technology to create financial access in various across countries as part of a Gates Foundation-funded initiative. She has also worked with a range of social entrepreneurs in the clean energy and mobile money space in India and E.Africa to raise investment capital.
Kairus is currently a Manager within Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Advisory practice in New York City where he primarily serves banking and capital markets and asset management clients. While at EY, he has advised senior executives on a variety of projects, ranging from formulating strategic growth objectives to leading enterprise-wide business transformation projects in the U.S. and internationally including organizational design, performance management strategies, regulatory restructuring, finance operating models, and process optimization. He also actively contributes to the development of junior staff and new hires as a mentor. Kairus founded and serves on the board of the Food for Savings Program, a nonprofit promoting social and economic development in India. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Kairus graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with a dual degree in Finance and International Business.
Jordana Kier comes to CBS from New York City Opera, a world-renowned performing arts organization, where she served as Manager of Artistic Planning. While there, Jordana worked closely with General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel as the company left Lincoln Center in 2011 and throughout its contentious seven-month collective bargaining negotiations with the musicians’ unions. Jordana is interested in thought leadership, corporate social responsibility, building sustainable nonprofit organizations, and the increased presence of women in positions of power. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2008.
Genevieve was born and raised in New York City and received a BS in Government from Georgetown University, focusing on political theory and international relations. Following her graduation, Genevieve worked for five years at Citigroup, where she held a variety of positions culminating in Product Management and Marketing for a variety of fixed income and equity hedge fund products in the firm’s alternative investment business. Genevieve believes that in our dynamic global business environment, ethical leadership is an increasingly critical component of the success of corporations and governments. Her primary and undergraduate educations emphasized the education of the whole person, with the belief that a complete education spoke to the ethical, as well as the intellectual development, of the individual. She looks forward to enhancing this dialogue on the Columbia Business School campus through her work at the Bernstein Center.
Dan Love is first year student at Columbia Business School. Most recently, he was an Analyst at the Robertson Foundation, which was established by Julian Robertson and is responsible for ~$100M in philanthropic investments annually. Previously he worked as an Analyst in the Corporate Strategy and Ventures group at The Advisory Board Company, a mid-sized healthcare research and analytics firm. Prior to this, Mr. Love spent a year in Chile where he conducted research as part of a Fulbright Fellowship and worked at Acción Emprendedora, a microfinance organization. He has also produced and directed six documentaries, on subjects ranging from the Holocaust to the Civil Rights movement. His work has aired nationally on PBS affiliates and earned such distinctions as the CINE Golden Eagle. Mr. Love holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Duke University.
Dave Nash is an entrepreneur with start-up experience across health and wellness, real estate and travel industries. Dave successfully founded a consulting business specializing in sales incentives for the direct selling industry. Recently, within a 12‐month period, the company doubled top-line sales revenues of three small to mid-sized companies.
Kanyisa Ncemane was born and raised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Kanyisa is a qualified actuary, having obtained her qualification through the Actuarial Society of South Africa in 2010. She has spent most of her career at the Old Mutual Life Assurance Company designing and developing life insurance solutions appropriate for the emerging markets (Africa, Asia and Latin America). In August 2011, she joined the CEO’s office at Old Mutual as an Executive Business Assistant. Kanyisa is passionate about community service and has served on the national board of Epilepsy South Africa as well as the Gauteng board of the organization.
Silvia Padilla has 8 years of work experience and expanding levels of responsibility. She has become proficient and knowledgeable in Latin American markets and has attained a deep understanding of the home appliances world industry, as well as beverage and consumer goods industries. At the same time, she has acquired significant work experience and academic background in marketing, from execution to strategy. Her career began as an intern and later as assistant brand manager of Oral-B. At Heineken, she led the trade marketing strategy implementation for point-of-sales segmentation, increasing POS presence more than 20% in the first year. She was awarded “Best Regional Execution” for implementation of the UEFA Champions League sponsorship promotion, and also designed Heineken Colombia’s Drink Responsibly program. Her five years at Whirlpool also include significant achievements. Recognized as a “Top Talent” (5% of total employees), she worked in all 4 Latin America business regions, for the two major brands KitchenAid and Whirlpool, increasing sales more than $78 MM dollars and developing new markets and segments, with a consistent growth rate above 20% during the last two years, while also completing her Master in Marketing. The next step of her career development is to become manager of one a complete business units or a general management consultant, while also extending her global horizon beyond Latin America.
Ian is a CFA charterholder and most recently served as an Associate, Business Analyst in the Global Equities division of RBC Capital Markets in Toronto. He was a member of a small team with significant management interaction, dealing with leadership, ethical and strategic issues on a global basis. Prior to his transfer to Toronto, he worked in Debt Capital Markets for RBC in London, UK focused on Supranational, Sovereign and Agency (SSA) debt origination. He started his career at JPMorgan, following graduation from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 2007.
Jonathan Robins is a first year student at Columbia Business School. Most recently, he was the Manager, International Public & Government Affairs at Alcoa. Jonathan was responsible for managing the company’s international government relations portfolio in 14 countries and the European Union; he also served as speechwriter for the Chairman & CEO. Previously, Jonathan worked for Albright Stonebridge Group—a leading international strategic advisory firm—where he helped Fortune 500 companies navigate the intersection of business and politics in emerging markets and drafted speeches for the Chairman. Jonathan earned his BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
Natalie Rubin comes to CBS after five years in the nonprofit sector. While at Brown University, she became General Manager of WBRU-FM, a commercial radio station with a listernship of 200,000 and a nonprofit learning workshop. This experience helped cultivate a strong interest in social enterprise and small business strategy which she applied as an Enterprise Development Advisor in Senegal with the Peace Corps. She advised women’s collectives on improving their operations. She then joined a large international development NGO and focused on Afghanistan where she helped to grow the company’s mobile phone based monitoring services.
Sascha Rubin '14- MBA Co-chair
Sascha Rubin graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 2007 with a double major in Philosophy and German Studies. After graduation, she spent one year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar researching the validity of international legal norms, which led to the completion of an MSc in Political Theory at the London School of Economics in 2009. After LSE she moved to Mexico City where she became project manager of a value chain program at the Walmart Foundation to help transform smallholder farmers into formal suppliers of large supermarket chains. Her experience at the Foundation was fundamental to her decision to come to CBS and pursue a career as a consultant for multinational companies entering emerging markets.
Born into a family of doctors, Surabhi's dinnertime conversations usually included thinking of solutions to the problems of fractured healthcare systems worldwide. Her love for problem solving and physics led her to pursue Computer Engineering. Surabhi consistently applied classroom skills to real world problems and founded a company at the intersection of technology and healthcare, while in college. After graduation, she worked for Deloitte Consulting in Mumbai and was the Social Impact Lead for unique CSR initiatives of the firm. Her interest in Public Health led to joining the Smokefree Mumbai Campaign, an initiative to increase compliance to the Smokefree Laws in public places in Mumbai. This work allowed Surabhi to engage with policymakers, religious leaders, labor union heads, doctors and the media. She loved the diversity of the job and the ability to change mindsets and improve lifestyles.
Kiley Smith is a Manager in Ernst & Young’s (EY) Fraud Investigations and Dispute Services practice in Philadelphia. She advises companies in the life sciences industry, primarily pharmaceutical and medical device companies, on the development, enhancement, and monitoring of their global ethics and compliance programs. She has also managed projects for EY’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) team, including organizing an after-school math program for underprivileged youth, and leading a pro bono consulting project for a high-impact computer software entrepreneur in Chile as part of EY’s CR Fellows program.
Sean Taub is Vice President, Finance and Strategy at Element Six, a De Beers Group company and part of Anglo American. Sean leads global finance, operations, and strategic performance initiatives and is a member of the Board of Directors of Element Six U.S. Corporation. Prior to his current role, Sean held senior finance and operations positions in both the non‐profit and telecommunications industry. He began his career during high school where he successfully started and later sold a Japanese Anime e‐commerce company. Sean has a vast amount of global leadership experience having led teams and projects in Japan, Germany, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. Sean holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College where he concentrated in Finance and Economics; and is a member of Babson’s Coaching for Leadership & Teamwork Program.
Matt graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a major in electrical engineering and a minor in economics. After graduation, he was commissioned as a submarine logistics officer in the United States Navy. During his submarine tour of duty, he led a team of sailors through deployments to the Middle East and underneath the ice caps of the North Pole. In 2010 he attended the Defense Acquisition University where he studied Department of Defense contract valuation and negotiations. In his final military position, he served as the contract negotiator for submarine sonar systems at the Navy’s Washington D.C. procurement headquarters. Matt is a passionate Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor and is actively involved in Columbia’s veteran community.