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.