Community and Culture

Lee Cleghorn
MBA
Class of 2016
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
I moved about 12 times growing up, but I call Leesburg, VA, home.
Previous Education: 
BA from Boston University, 2005
Previous Work Experience: 
US Army, most recently serving as a Detachment Commander for the US Special Forces
Post-CBS Goals: 
I am trying to do something entrepreneurial. I’m in the nascent stages of planning to open a brewery.
CBS Activities: 
InSITE Fellow, Micro-Brew Society, AVP of events for the Military in Business Association
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Whenever my wife, Emily Cleghorn ’16, and I get the option, we like to go downtown and watch shows. We also just like to go out and grab dinner and drinks with friends downtown.

Why Columbia Business School?
I was in the military, and coming from that environment I understand the value of community and camaraderie. When we came to look at Columbia, I found both of those things in abundance. I got the feeling that students went out of their way to help each other out. It takes the form of people preparing each other for interviews, helping classmates study for tests, or — one thing that is really big for me —opening up networking opportunities here in the city. Starting a company, so many students have come to me and spent time helping me work on business model and giving me feedback on different ideas. So, I’m extremely happy with Columbia.

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
In New York City, you basically have the world’s network right at your fingertips. That network is physically accessible. I found that pretty much anyone will sit down with me and have coffee to tell me about their company, their industry, and their experiences, and a lot of opportunities have come from that.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite?
Right now, I’m most excited about Launching New Ventures taught by Jack Kaplan, because I’m pretty much using that as an accelerator to start a company. You form a team with fellow students, and you basically continue to develop your business plan in its entirety every week. It’s pretty exciting. One of the classes I enjoyed the most was Business Analytics with Professor Omar Besbes. You come out of that class being able to do a fair amount of analytics yourself, as a business leader, which I think gives you a great advantage.

What has been your favorite experience at CBS?
I didn’t realize how quickly a sense of community can be built here. The process of getting to know incredible people from incredible backgrounds really well, and getting really close with them in such a short amount of time, has been the most enriching part of the experience.

Chris Riha
MBA
Class of 2016
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
West Des Moines, Iowa
Previous Education: 
BA in mathematics and spanish from Washington University in St. Louis, 2008
Previous Work Experience: 
Administrative staff member at Washington University in St. Louis; Recruiter at Teach For America; IT Analyst at Teach For America
Post-CBS Goals: 
Management consulting, with the aim of eventually specializing in functional IT work
CBS Activities: 
Chair of Cluster E'16, Co-president of Cluster Q, Peer Advisor, CMC Career Fellow, Small Business Consulting Program, Technology Business Group, Gourmet Club
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I'm huge into the food scene in NYC and am always scoping out new restaurants. I organized a mini ‘pizza trek’ before CBS so I could take friends to a few of my favorite spots. Roberta's in Brooklyn is a must!

Why Columbia Business School?
First and foremost, I felt like the emphasis on creating a strong community came through even from the very first info session I attended. When visiting and meeting other students, I just felt a much warmer reception than at other places. Academics and career opportunities — a lot of top business schools boast those. But I think community was something that really stood out at Columbia.

Another thing I would highlight is: I don’t have a business background, and so for me, it was important to feel like I was getting a more rigorous introduction to business principles. The way that Columbia sets up its core — it’s one of the more rigorous of the top programs.

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
There are a lot of opportunities. In particular, for people who want to change careers, it is so easy for them to find an externship, part-time work, or an internship with a huge company. For instance, I have a friend who wants to get into media who is interning at ABC; I have a friend who's working at Burberry and wants to go into luxury retail. This semester I’m taking an immersion seminar, which means that for six Fridays we go to different companies and have executives talk to us. I can't imagine many other programs being able to have a class like that, with as many well-known people and organizations.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
I think I came here with this goofy preconception that Columbia Business School would be particularly finance-y, and people were really into banking and were coming from that background, and so that was going to be the culture. I’d think, ‘I don't know if I’ll fit in.’ I was pleasantly surprised. My background and the experiences I had to offer were seen as just as valuable to people in the community. The stereotype I had of the typical business school student wasn't really on point — in a good way.

How does the School’s entrepreneurial approach help you with your career goals?
The School presents a lot of resources for job seekers — there are helpful second-years, there’s the Career Fellows Program, there’s the database of alums — but it's on you to choose a path and make the most of it. Being at Columbia has gotten me to really think not only about how you get the job, but once you’re there, how you can shape it and turn it into something that will benefit you down the road.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you conquer the world?
I'm open to my long-term career going a lot of different directions. The beauty of coming from Columbia Business School, having such a strong network, and being in a place like New York City that has so many opportunities, is I'm confident that no matter how my interests change I will be supported. I’ll be able to follow any path, and I think that's sort of like conquering the world. I feel pretty good that, no matter where I end up, I have the network, the resources, and the education to do so.

Mian Qin
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA, January Entry
Hometown or Country: 
Born in Tianjin, China; moved to Washington, D.C., 10 years ago
Previous Education: 
BS in accounting and finance (dual major), 2010
Previous Work Experience: 
Finance rotation at Capital One Bank
Post-CBS Goals: 
I want to work in the clean energy industry using my finance skill set
CBS Activities: 
VP of social and community for the Peer Advisor program
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Just getting lost in the city in the summer; exploring independent coffee shops

Why Columbia Business School?
My family lives in D.C., and Columbia Business School is one of the closest top MBA programs. It turned out to be the best choice I've ever made. At CBS, we always are encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones. It's turned out to have a profound impact on every single student who ever tries something new, having the full support of the community.

What has been your favorite experience at CBS?
Hands down, the Peer Advisor experience. A group of 70 students facilitate the one-week orientation program for the 550 students who enter in the fall and the 200 students who enter in winter. It's a program all about dealing with people. It allows us to learn how to build deep connections with other people and how important it is to build the right culture for business school. That has such huge impact on everyone's daily life in school.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
Coming in, I thought CBS was a school where people were just supposed to be really good at finance, but what really surprised me is how the school teaches leadership in action. We have great speakers and classes that teach about leadership, and so many activities that allow us to practice leadership skills with other students. The Peer Advisor group is an example -- it allows us to see how our peers lead and to try that out ourselves. Everyone has some great skills that we can all leverage to become better leaders. I now understand that leading is not managing and delegating tasks; it's more fun than that, because you can influence other people and push things in a better direction. To me, that’s the most meaningful part of leadership.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
I'm a lifelong member of a group that cares about building the right culture and doing the right things for society. A group of people who are extremely honest and genuine to each other. People who care about building a truly inclusive culture at school and, when we go out into the world, will bring this value of inclusion to the organizations we serve and become compassionate leaders.

How is the J-Term experience similar to or different from the standard school cycle?
J-Termers are extremely international, which has given me the opportunity to learn about different cultures. It’s surprising how much I can relate to a person from a completely different continent that I would expect to have nothing in common with, and fuse a deep connection with that person. J-Term is also the most efficient way to do your MBA. Not everyone can allocate two full years. And because J-Termers lose that first semester to mingle with the larger community, we have been working really hard in the Peer Advisor program to facilitate inter-class mingling.

How does the School’s entrepreneurial approach help you with your career goals?
The School is very open minded. Every semester I see the School take students' feedback very seriously and try to implement changes. It is always open to new ideas. Also, the School has been promoting entrepreneurship a lot recently. I'm involved in a Summer Startup Lab where I met my business partner. We’re working on a startup idea that we're both pretty passionate about: we want to export organic food that's produced in the U.S. to China. My business partner is from China and has a marketing background, and I'm based here, so in the future maybe we can make something happen.

Dennis Giuliano
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Toms River, New Jersey
Previous Education: 
BE in civil engineering from the University of Delaware, 2008
Previous Work Experience: 
Project engineer for Birdsall Services Group and Parsons Brinckerhoff
Post-CBS Goals: 
Development Manager at Ironstate Development
CBS Activities: 
VP of education for the Real Estate Association, Co-president (along with my wife) of the Columbia Better Halves Club
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I love Central Park. We have a black lab, and before 9 a.m. dogs can be off leash in the park, so I take her every morning to run around for an hour or so. My favorite spots are the Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, where Belvedere Castle is.

Why Columbia Business School?
I picked Columbia because it has arguably the best real estate MBA program in the world, and I knew with certainty that I wanted to get into real estate development. Being in New York and having exposure to that real estate realm, and also having access to the program that the School offers, seemed to be the perfect coalescence of factors. It was without a doubt the place for me.

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
Real estate is a networking-driven career path, and having some of the most iconic real estate firms and assets within a few minutes' train ride is a valuable opportunity to make connections and learn very quickly. It allows you to put your boots to the ground right away. There is nothing like meeting face to face with someone. I think that's a tremendous asset for the School in general. Another plus, of course, is the limitless array of activities in the city. My wife and I have had a great time availing ourselves of the park, the museums, restaurants, and bars.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite?
The Real Estate Project class was my favorite. It was essentially a semester-long competition where students selected our own teams, and each team was paired with a company, whether a private equity fund, a developer or another firm, to look at actual potential real estate deals. Our team was partnered with a Florida-based private equity fund, and we looked at a big suburban mall outside of Chicago and helped develop the plan for purchasing it, repositioning it, upgrading it, and financing it, and profitably managing the asset. My team ended up winning the competition and learning a ton in the process.

What has been your favorite experience at CBS?
My favorite experience, if I had to pick one, was the real estate Chazen trek to Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City this year. Beforehand, a group of us went for a week to Colombia with a native guide who's in our cluster. He led the charge in showing us around his hometown of Medellin, and then we spent five days in Cartagena. We ultimately met up with the rest of our group for the official Chazen part of the trip in Bogota.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
The inclusiveness of the culture and the community. I had never been exposed to an Ivy League education, so I didn't really know what to expect—especially at a business school, which has the stigma of being an aggressive, type-A environment. It was surprisingly welcoming here. Everyone is very down to earth—people you can learn a lot from, who are happy to help each other, and who are genuinely happy for the opportunity to be at Columbia Business School.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
New York is one of the most emblematic real estate cities in the world—and certainly in the US—in terms of the buildings, the family dynasties that were built here, and generally in terms of the modern-day skyscraper era, which all started in New York. To be here studying real estate, with access to the companies and leaders in the Real Estate Association, is just amazing. Especially for somebody like me, who is a career switcher, it's been tremendously helpful to be able to take a train downtown to meet with alumni and pick their brains about career strategies. I have the ability to do all that without having to travel outside the city I live in.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
My wife, Karin, and I are co-presidents of the Better Halves Club and we've had a great time getting to know other couples from all over the country and the world. We've had an amazing time building the club and making it an inclusive, very socially active organization that’s a fantastic resource for people relocating here. The “better halves” are as much a part of the community as the students, and are welcome to participate in school events, with some exceptions for recruiting and professional clubs. They go on the trips with us, come to our formal events, and come to our happy hours and CBS Matters. Probably all of my best friends from Columbia are people I met through the Better Halves Club.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you conquer the world?
I want to choose a career path that's ultimately doing something of value for society, beyond just something that's financially valuable. I think my Columbia Business School degree has allowed me the opportunity to achieve those goals while also providing for my family and letting me challenge myself.

Aditi Sahani
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Westborough, Massachusetts
Previous Education: 
BSBA in entrepreneurship at Babson College
Previous Work Experience: 
EMC before business school and Google intern during summer 2014
Post-CBS Goals: 
Marketing in the technology space
CBS Activities: 
Peer Advisor Program, VP of communications for the Student Government, South Asian Business Association, Innovation + CBS, Technology Business Group
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I love trying new places to eat and finding hole-in-the-wall gems like Taim in the West Village. Weekend brunch is my favorite meal, and I love walking around the different neighborhoods in NYC.

"You don't open up your life story to anyone, but when you do and people take it in and understand you, you build stronger relationships."

I have done my CBS Matters twice — once for my cluster during cluster elections and once for my rookie cluster during the Class of 2016 Orientation. The first time I talked about how I grew up, what matters to me, and shared stories that have made me who I am today. It was a nerve-wracking experience in some ways because it was September — the first month of business school — and I was talking with 68 students in my cluster who I didn't know very well about something that was really personal to me. As nervous as I was starting that conversation, by the end of it I felt much closer to my cluster. That's one of the reasons CBS Matters is so powerful. You don't open up your life story to anyone, but when you do and people take it in and understand you, you build stronger relationships.   

The second time I did it was for my rookie cluster when I was their PA, and it was to show them the power of doing CBS Matters and how you can build connections with different people. Afterwards people said to me, "It was amazing to see your CBS Matters, and I think I will do mine because I saw yours." That's a powerful statement to get from someone you have only known for two weeks.     

Divya Surana
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA, January Entry
Hometown or Country: 
Mumbai, India
Previous Education: 
BE in engineering and business management, University of Warwick, UK, 2009
Previous Work Experience: 
Leader of Site Services at Procter & Gamble UK, Marketing for Chef’s Basket (food startup), Pinkberry, and Hard Rock Cafe in India
Post-CBS Goals: 
Marketing and business development
CBS Activities: 
Teaching assistant for Digital Marketing; VP of Student Leadership & Ethics Board; VP of Retail & Luxury Goods Club; VP of Hermes (Admissions); International Student Advisory Board
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I love exploring the city’s amazing restaurants and food markets and soaking up the atmosphere in Times Square

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
It’s fantastic. I feel everyone should go to business school in New York. The speakers we have on a daily basis are just incredible—not only executives from companies that are based here, but all over the world. So many political leaders visit in New York. One of our professors met the finance minister of India on a flight to New York and asked if he would come speak—it was arranged within a couple of hours and the room was packed. With so many companies headquartered here—especially in the finance, consulting and retail space—we get to visit these companies, hear from amazing speakers, and talk to CEOs and entrepreneurs all the time. The New York advantage is unparalleled.  

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite?
Financial Planning and Analysis was a fantastic foundation, and the knowledge I gained in that class is directly applicable to business issues. Another was Defining and Developing Winning Strategic Capabilities with Professor Alonso Martinez, a former consultant. At each class, a speaker came in and talked to us about a different industry. Learning from Deepak Chopra was an experience, and his speakers, including Lauren Bush Lauren, were top notch. We have speakers in so many classes. Often we’ll do a case study, for example on IKEA and Yellow Tail wines, and then the main protagonist of that case will come speak to us. It’s exciting to get to speak to the actual person in the case and hear their perspective.

What has been your favorite experience at CBS?
Definitely the school trips I’ve gone on. I went to Israel and Jordan on a tour; it was organized by my classmates, so it was even more special. One night, 40 of us sat in the middle of Wadi Rum—a desert in Jordan—under the stars, playing music and having fun. I just sat there thinking, "Wow, this is incredible!" This spring I went on a retail and luxury-focused Chazen trip to Italy, where we visited Gucci’s production facilities. We also visited Ferragamo and YOOX, a company started by a Columbia Business School alum, Federico Marchetti ’99. We then went to Castello Banfi, a winery estate, and topped it off with gelato tasting at Grom Gelateria. The MBA program has given me a great network of friends and our moments together will forever be etched in my mind.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
The vast gamut of people from different backgrounds. It's not just people from consulting or finance, but also politics, marketing, retail, healthcare, tech, and other fields including family business and entrepreneurship. From military veterans to former musicians, I’m constantly blown away by what people have achieved professionally and personally.

In my cluster we have people from 26 different countries, which truly adds a global perspective. And despite their accomplishments, everyone is super friendly and collaborative. That’s also true of the faculty and school administration, who are very approachable. I found that I could meet with almost any professor and have a conversation, discuss ideas, or get career advice. Everybody embodies the Columbia spirit, and that’s something special. 

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
Being in New York put me at the very center of business, fashion, and food, the three things I wanted to explore professionally and personally. From Godiva to Google, New York Times to MoMA, and Chanel to BaubleBar, I’ve met with senior executives at companies I really admire. I’ve also taken four courses in which I worked with companies as part of the curriculum, including an independent study working with Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia. We worked with our professor to provide a business development proposal and an end-to-end marketing strategy for his jewelry business. In another course I worked with students from Parson’s School of Design on a project for Ferragamo.

How does the School’s entrepreneurial approach help you with your career goals?
It teaches us to treat every business like our own, whether or not we own the company. There’s a lot of emphasis on teaching courses that are truly relevant to us, up to date, and focus on what we want to learn. It's also great to learn from adjunct professors, who combine theory with practical application; they know what problems their industries are facing and what strategies they’re using. That real-world experience is quite valuable. There are also plenty of opportunities to work with startups as part of classes and independent study projects.  

Once you have your Columbia Business School degree, how will you conquer the world?
My MBA from Columbia Business School has provided me with a huge network of talented professionals, knowledge of a wide array of business topics, and leadership skills to manage most challenges. It’s also given me a powerful insight into my personal strengths and weaknesses, and it's made me reflect hard on where I want to work, the kind of person I want to be, and the goals I want to achieve. 

Jacopo Meneguzzo
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Vincenza, Italy
Previous Education: 
BA from Georgetown University, 2010; master’s degree in European Union studies from Université libre de Bruxelles, 2013
Previous Work Experience: 
Investment banking analyst at Citi; served as a trainee in the Cabinet for Italian Vice President Antonio Tajani, who is also the Commissioner for Industry and Enterprise in the European Commission
Post-CBS Goals: 
To continue learning and developing as a leader in my future career (consulting), and to work in a diverse environment that allows me to travel and interact with different people
CBS Activities: 
VP of International on the Peer Advisory Board; Co-President of the International Students Advisory Board; Co-President of the European Society; Follies
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I enjoy cooking with friends and discovering new cuisines and restaurants

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
In Italy, a lot of people commute to school and live at home. When I went to Georgetown as an undergraduate, I was basically always living on campus. I feel like being in New York City allows us to get the best of both worlds [at Columbia]. There are events that are independent of Columbia that offer us a chance to be inspired. On the same note, Columbia does still feel like a campus when I’m there.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
There is a very strong sense of community. People go out of their way to help each other in a variety of ways—such as on personal issues, work, career, anything. When I arrived, I was a little bit worried, wondering, “Is it going to be very much a commuter school? Are the New Yorkers going to be very much living their own lives, away from school?” It’s funny because [what actually happens is that] people who live in New York operate as guides for those of us who are less familiar with the city. It’s just how collaborative everyone has been, generally—it’s an amazing culture. 

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite?
One of the classes I’ve taken that was very, very interesting and aesthetically amazing was called Leadership Through Fiction taught by Professor Bruce Craven. It’s not necessarily the first class you think about when you think about an MBA, but it was a great class that combined some more soft-skills elements with trying to develop as a person and as a leader.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
I got three internships when I was at Columbia that I think were just a result of the fact that I was in New York. Being in New York allows you to do a semester’s work experience that other schools may not have access to just because of their location. [For example], I was able to take an internship at a tech startup and I’m working in a private equity fund [now]. The other thing is, New York City is a great place to network and get to know people. It’s one of the hearts of the world, and that’s a big plus at both a personal and a career level.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you conquer the world?
I don’t think I would want to conquer the world, but I would want the world to conquer me. Meaning, I would love to be able to keep learning, opening my mind, and seeing all the diversity and the richness that there is in the world. At Columbia you live in a temporary microcosm that allows you to get to see a mix of many different people; I hope that going into the future, in my career, I will have the chance to keep learning about what’s around me: the different people, different experiences, different perspectives. That has been probably one of the biggest drivers of why I love Columbia.

Justin Merolla
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Larchmont, New York
Previous Education: 
BA in economics from Union College, 2006
Previous Work Experience: 
Consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, operations at New WIN Products, and product marketing at Apple
Post-CBS Goals: 
To work at the intersection of fitness and technology in Northern California for a company that makes a meaningful social impact by improving our health and fitness.
CBS Activities: 
Chair of the Peer Advisor Program board
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Running and cycling in Central Park and up to Bear Mountain, walking and people watching in different neighborhoods is oddly entertaining, the Met Museum and its rooftop bar, Museum of Natural History, Atlantic Grill, La Esquina, Red Rooster, Blue Smoke, Sushi Yasuda, Keens Steakhouse…this could go on for a while.

 

"At the end of the day, it's a familiar face in the hallway, and it's a person you know you can trust."

The relationship between peer advisors and incoming students is a really wonderful one because being a peer advisor is not an event – it's a process. During Orientation, you build this rapport and camaraderie with new students, but then beyond that you're constantly a point of contact for them. You're a safety spot for the new students. They know they can always come to you after Orientation ends. 

Some of the things that peer advisors do after Orientation is over is follow up on assignments to make sure everyone is comfortable, that the learning teams are functioning efficiently, and that there aren't any problems with team dynamics. At the end of the day, it's a familiar face in the hallway, and it's a person you know you can trust. It's someone who has made you feel you're part of something really special. 

Philip Tuinenburg
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA, January Entry
Hometown or Country: 
Rome, Italy, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Previous Education: 
BA in history from the University of Amsterdam, 2009; BA in European studies from the University of Amsterdam, 2010; and an MA in history from the University of Amsterdam, 2010
Previous Work Experience: 
In 2010, I worked for the Dutch Foreign Ministry at the United Nations as an assistant attaché; in 2011, I joined McKinsey as a consultant
Post-CBS Goals: 
In the short term, to continue serving the public sector and the infrastructure sector — which includes energy, water, transportation, oil and gas, etc. — at McKinsey; my long-term goals are to enter public service
CBS Activities: 
VP of the Government and Business Club, member of the International Student Advisory Board, co-founder of the Dutch Club, teaching assistant for six classes
Favorite NYC Activities: 
One of my favorite places in the city is Shanghai Café on Mott Street – the best soup dumplings in New York! I also love a restaurant in the East Village called Via della Pace. It's run by an Italian guy, and there's a really big group of Italian ex-pats who come there a lot. It feels like a home away from home, like I'm in Rome in New York.

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
New York attracts really good classmates and professors because it offers such a wealth of interesting people, internships, culture, and nightlife. In the end, it's really the people who get attracted to New York who make New York attractive. Everyone here has some kind of ambition and wants to do something extraordinary, and that makes it very stimulating.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite?
I really enjoy Professor Ray Horton's Modern Political Economy class. He's extremely knowledgeable, a great lecturer, very challenging, and he's also very interested in his students: he'll set up a 40-minute meeting with every student, just to talk about their ambitions and what they want in life. I also really liked Professor Medini Singh's operations classes. He gives a perspective that is not European or American: he teaches you to think about operations, and business as a whole, from an Asian perspective. And Professor Todd Jick, for whom I serve as TA, teaches Organizational Change and Advanced Organizational Change, which are really good. I doubt there's anybody in the world as good as he is at what he does.

What has been your favorite experience at Columbia Business School?
I really like the speakers who come to Columbia. That is, for me, the most value-adding thing. The School is able to attract so many CEOs and presidents and interesting people to talk here. Being able to hear the President of Tunisia one week and have a conversation with the former CEO of British Petroleum on ethics the next is really awesome.

Outside of academics, I think being here during the summer as a J-termer was a great experience. It's just the 200 of us J-termers on campus and you really get to know each other on a very deep level.

Tell us more about your J-term experience.
Whereas the fall term is 30 percent international, the J-term is about 60 percent international, which is an amazing value-add in terms of the kind of perspective you get from your colleagues. Everybody's also a little bit older, and the proportion of people who are sponsored by their employers, and either come from a family businesses or know where they're going afterwards, is a little higher. So it also makes people a little more relaxed about academics and gives them more time to do extracurricular things, which I think is an advantage.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
I am doing an internship during the semester at the MTA. Being in New York made it a lot easier to do an in-semester internship as a J-termer. If you're stuck on a campus somewhere, that's impossible.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
It's really the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing international people who are ambitious and unique in their fields, and to know that you're going to be in touch with them for the rest of your life. That network — that's really what the community is all about.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you conquer the world?
I don't know if conquering the world should be the ultimate goal. I want to go into public service later on, and I think the business foundation I got here at Columbia Business School will really help that. The public sector has a lot to learn from the way businesses are run, and businesses (for better or for worse) are forced to deal with government policy on a daily basis, so a little cross-pollination between the two is something I think is crucial. Just making a positive impact: that's the most important thing.

Eliza Coleman
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA, January Entry
Hometown or Country: 
Atlanta, Georgia
Previous Education: 
BA from New York University
Previous Work Experience: 
I spent five years working for a fund that invests in wineries
Post-CBS Goals: 
Consultant at Bain in New York City
CBS Activities: 
Peer Advisor Program, co-president of the Student Government
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I love going to The High Line, Riverside Park, and The Frick Collection

"Everyone here is passionate about something and will find their niche."

The community is one of the best features of Columbia, and I did not know that coming in. I was pleasantly surprised to find such an engaged group of students. Everyone here is passionate about something and will find their niche. A good community member is somebody who steps up, raises their hand and says, "I want to get involved in this thing that I'm passionate about."

Students can get involved in leadership positions almost as soon as they arrive on campus. At the end of Orientation, there are elections for cluster leadership roles that have a huge impact on how your cluster functions over time and how you bond with people. As soon as clubs start having meetings, they elect assistant vice president positions, so within a month of school you can get involved in a leadership position that really does make a difference.

Pages

apply

Fall 2015 Cross-Registration Dates

  • A-term, B-term, and Full-term electives: 10:00 am on Thursday August 20th until 4:00 pm Tuesday September 8th.
     
  • B-Term electives: 10:00 am Wednesday October 21st until 4:00pm Wednesday October 28th.