January Entry

Augustus Haney
MBA
Class of 2017
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Born in MD; grew up in Washington, DC
Previous Education: 
BS in economics from NYU, 2009
Previous Work Experience: 
I worked as a sponsor's agent and project manager in New York's residential development sector
Post-CBS Goals: 
Working in real estate private equity investing and development
CBS Activities: 
Chair of Cluster Z'17; member of the Real Estate Association, Private Equity Club, Sailing Club, and Ski Club
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Met Opera, the Cloisters, MoMA, biking in Central Park, film festivals, theatre at BAM, and new restaurants

 

Why did you apply to business school?

I previously worked in real estate, on the development side. As I progressed, I became interested in working in real estate finance. I knew I needed to enhance certain skill sets and qualifications in order to do that. I also wanted to build my network, both within real estate and outside of it. The MBA was the best route to accomplish this.

 

What specifically attracted you to Columbia Business School?

I was attracted first and foremost by the location. Wanting to work in real estate, I knew I wanted to be in a major real estate market. I also thought about the network I would like to have, and New York is where the business leaders are. It’s the center of the universe in terms of the real estate business. You can easily take the subway to meet for coffee with the principal of a major real estate fund or developer, which is something you can’t do on an isolated campus. That’s why Columbia was my top choice.

 

What were your first impressions as a student?

I think there is a misconception that MBA students are cookie-cutter — that they look the same, dress the same, and that they are all going into finance. I was amazed by the incredible diversity I found here. People come from nonprofits, government, and military. There’s also tremendous ethnic and geographic diversity. Everyone has their own story, and it’s been a surprising gift to have access to this.

 

What have you enjoyed the most about the academic experience?

The best part of the academic experience has been the guest speakers. These people are the top players in their particular industries — just listening to them, you know that they know what they’re talking about. You get to hear about their deals and areas of interest, and knowing what they are doing right now makes you feel very connected to the business community. I don’t think this access would be possible anywhere else.

 

How did you become involved in the community?

I entered in the January term and became tightly knit with my cluster. As the year progressed, and people started taking electives, I became more involved with clubs, including the Real Estate Association and the Private Equity Club. Clubs allow you to seek out people with common interests as well as expand your circle. I went on a trip with the Real Estate Association, and now I consider it to be almost like a second cluster to me, and have formed some of my closest connections there.

Yuta Yamada
MBA
Class of 2017
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Born and raised in Tokyo; lived in New York City from ages seven to 12
Previous Work Experience: 
I worked for Goldman Sachs in Tokyo in the investment banking division
Post-CBS Goals: 
Working in a finance role for a consumer-retail company in New York
CBS Activities: 
VP of international, Student Government Executive Board; member of Peer Advisors, General Management Association, Private Equity Club, and Basketball Club    
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Attending professional sports games, jogging in Central Park, trying new bars and cafes  

 

What have you enjoyed the most at Columbia Business School?

Columbia does a great job integrating academics and the real world of business. Being in New York, you can step out to see what’s really happening — how the theory you’re studying is applied. It also works the other way around, where you can take what you’re learning and apply it through internships. That’s been the greatest thing about Columbia so far.

 

What’s it like to be a student in New York City?

I come from Tokyo, but I lived in New York from age seven to 12. I’ve always had a strong connection to New York. There are so many opportunities to pursue. Outside of school, there are Yankees games, musicals, museums — all sorts of non-academic activities. There are a lot of opportunities around campus to enjoy, too, and lots of classmates live nearby. It’s been a great experience.

 

Why did you choose to begin the program in January, as a J-term student?

I originally applied for the fall term. But through talking to the admissions office, I learned about the January-term option, and it seemed like a fit for me. We began in January and took classes together through the summer, instead of taking the summer off for full-time internships. I come from banking and knew I was interested in finance, so the accelerated program made sense to me. It’s shorter, but it has the same curriculum as the two-year program, and you really bond with your classmates. There’s also flexibility, which allowed me to intern outside of class. It was a good balance.

 

What are your thoughts on the curriculum?

The core curriculum was really good for me. I came from finance, and I didn’t know much about areas like marketing and operations. I did some of this as an undergrad, but it was really good to brush up on it, especially now that I’ve had work experience. The electives are good, too, and they provide a lot of variety.

 

How have you been involved in the student community?

I serve on student government as VP of international. About 40 percent of MBA students are international, and for the January term, more than 60 percent are international. One of my missions is to smooth the transition for international students into and out of Columbia Business School. I have worked with the offices of student affairs and admissions to create arrival packages containing practical information on opening bank accounts, finding housing, and using public transportation. I also seek out ways to support international students’ job searches in the U.S.  Many of us will work in a globally-integrated environment after graduation, and I believe planning international cultural events and using case studies on non-U.S. companies in classes can help all Columbia Business School students to think more globally .

 

What will you take with you?

I have gained confidence. I will return to the working environment better able to influence change by supporting my thoughts with logic, especially when challenged about my views. I’d like to look back and say, “Hey, I went to Columbia Business School, and I learned that every view counts.” 

 

Related:
The Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business

 

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.

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. 

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.

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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.