Nonprofit and Public Sector

Kathryn Brown
MBA
Class of 2018
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
New Kent County, VA
Previous Education: 
BA in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis 
Post-CBS Goals: 
I want to excel in a career where I can help other people achieve their dreams and create something of worth and value in the world. 
Favorite NYC Activities: 
One of my favorite activities is to ride the train to a stop I’ve never been to and just take in the sights and sounds of the city. I also enjoy rollerblading in Central Park and attending live music events.

What has the business school experience been like so far?

It’s been intense and a lot of fun. I’ve been pushed in a lot of ways both expected and unexpected. When I came to Columbia, I thought I knew whom I was going to click with and become friends with, given that I’ve tended to gravitate toward people of similar interests or backgrounds in my undergraduate and professional lives. But at Columbia, I’ve been pushed to form relationships with people who are very different from myself and to not make snap judgments. During class discussions, sometimes I’m surprised in a good way by what I hear people say. I come from a teaching background, and I wouldn't necessarily think that a banker on my learning team would have similar morals or perspectives, but this experience has taught me not to judge any book by its cover.

How did your professional background affect your decision to pursue an MBA?

I did Teach for America in Washington, DC, and I had a really good experience. But I realized that what I loved about it the most was the data analysis and thinking through operations of the school with my principal. So from there, I worked in an operations management role in a warehouse. Most recently, I returned to education as a data analyst, and I was working for the superintendent in DC, where I was able to merge my passion with the skills and things that I wanted to develop.

I wanted to earn my MBA so that I could have the biggest impact possible on the things that I care about. I felt like the people whom I’ve seen having the most impact, even in education, are individuals with MBAs. So it just seemed like a natural next step for me.

Why Columbia?

I come from an education background, but I am also interested in beauty and retail, and the Retail and Luxury Goods Club at Columbia is phenomenal. The number and caliber of speakers, as well as the alumni network, are unmatched. And, of course, being in New York, you have access to alumni from the first day of the first semester. I’ve met with alumni several times in person, and I think being able to make those in-person connections is something that you can only do if you’re in the same city.

There’s just something about the energy of this city and the energy of the School specifically. Whenever I thought about the hustle of New York City, grinding and trying to make it, I always thought of it as a very individualistic thing. I didn’t realize how much support there is if you want it.

How have you been involved with the Black Business Student Association?

I’ve been involved in a few ways. At first, it was just socially. It’s a good home base, like a family type of feel. But then I discovered that BBSA provides in-depth professional support as well. We have career-specific groups if you’re recruiting or interested in a specific industry. You’re matched with a second-year student who has already pursued the path you’re interested in. We have alumni events, and we’ve had alumni come in and do interview prep. We’ve had several career meet-up group events.

I’ve also been involved in the Spotlight On: Diversity events and talking to prospective students, helping to mentor them throughout the process, which was my first touchpoint with BBSA when I was applying to Columbia. I’ve definitely tried to pay it forward. I always try to make myself available after professional events to talk informally with new students, too.

Any other community events you’ve had a chance to attend while at the School?

I love CBS Matters. I’m actually hoping to present myself this spring. I always try to arrange my schedule so that I make the presentations. There are two things you get out of it. The most obvious is that you learn a lot more about someone in your cluster, maybe someone you don’t know very well. Again, this has helped me to not make judgments about people and to be open. But the other thing that I really like about CBS Matters is the community-building aspect of it. When someone shares such a personal story, everyone in the room is bonded in that experience. It pushes our cluster, even in our more informal one-on-one conversations, to be more open with each other because someone has just poured their soul out in front of 50 people. 

Geoffrey Pope
EMBA
Class of 2017
Program Details: 
EMBA New York
Hometown or Country: 
Detroit, Michigan
Previous Education: 
BBA in marketing from Eastern Michigan University, 2011
Previous Work Experience: 
Former NFL player, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles; vice president at USI Insurance Services
Current Work: 
Vice president at Aon Risk Solutions, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions
Post-CBS Goals: 
Continue working in risk solutions and entrepreneurship 
CBS Activities: 
Officer of Our Community Matters Program; member of the Reentry Acceleration Program Curriculum Team, Black Business Students Association, Real Estate Club, Private Equity/Venture Capital Club, and Retail & Luxury Goods Club. 
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I enjoy taking in sporting events and sampling the diverse restaurants the city has to offer.

What brought you to business school?

My path to business school was untraditional. I started my professional career in the NFL, but after sustaining a career-ending injury in my fourth season, I knew it was time for me to transition. Like most NFL players, I left my undergraduate school early to train so I wanted to finish my last semester and graduate. Immediately following my injury, I went back to Eastern Michigan University and completed my last semester to graduate that summer. I then followed the advice of my mentor, and pursued a career in risk management and insurance. Education has always been important to me. Also, I knew that having an MBA from a top business school would give me an edge in my industry.

So why did you choose Columbia?

I live in Philadelphia so it would have been easy to consider a local MBA program. I did a lot of research on schools and knew I was looking for an academically rigorous program with a strong network and reputation. After visiting Columbia, I knew I would get all three of those things here. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. My professors are industry leaders, and my classmates are great. My journey and time in the NFL was unique preparation for Columbia and the work ethic it takes to succeed here.

How exactly did football prepare you for the EMBA program?

Football is the ultimate team sport. You can perform at your best but the rest of the team has to do the same in order for you to succeed. The same principle applies to the program. The learning team model is very similar to a locker room: people from different backgrounds coming together to accomplish a goal. Also, football requires perseverance and a strong work ethic. There is a lot of work that goes into game day preparation: studying plays, watching film, and consistently practicing at a high level. Similarly, that same perseverance and work ethic is required to succeed in this EMBA program as well as most of the career paths my classmates and I work in.

What is the community like at the School?

People come from a variety of professional backgrounds, which makes for interesting discussions and debates regarding our approach to solving complex problems. For instance, everyone in my learning group represents a different industry — from a leadership or organizational management standpoint, differing viewpoints and experiences are invaluable. The varied perspectives in the school community enrich the learning experience as well as demonstrate that diverse perspectives are key to finding the best solutions. My classmates and I have also developed strong relationships throughout the course of the program, which will surely continue after graduation.

What’s the advantage of going to business school in New York City?

New York City is really the business capital of the world. With Columbia being located here, we have access to industry leaders who are often featured as guest speakers and adjunct professors. The opportunity to network with the New York City business community is a huge draw. Specifically, I focus on real estate and private equity so building a strong network in New York is key to my success.

What pieces of your EMBA experience will you take with you?

I have already applied so many of the lessons from the program. What I’ve learned from the professors — whether it’s a leadership course with Paul Ingram or Paul Johnson’s Value Investing — can be applied to many different situations both in my personal life and in my career. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of issues, from a white paper on changes in the real estate industry to an independent study that focuses on reducing the recidivism rate through educational programs. I know that my EMBA network and relationships with professors and classmates will continue post graduation. 

Saskia Chanoine
MBA
Class of 2017
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Born in Washington, DC; Haitian roots
Previous Education: 
BA in international relations and community health from Tufts University, 2009
Previous Work Experience: 
I worked for PBS/WNET in New York as a producer for the national show SciTech Now, and as an associate producer for the docu-series Treasures of New York
Post-CBS Goals: 
Working in media in New York or launching a venture in the media space
CBS Activities: 
VP of speakers, Media Management Association; VP of Women’s Week, Columbia Women in Business Club; alumni chair, cluster H’17; member of the Technology Business Group, Wine Society, Marketing Association of Columbia, Black Business Association, and Hermes Society
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Walking, which is how I discover new places, find new stores, and take in the architecture of the city; trying new restaurants; seeing shows, from free jazz nights at Lincoln Center to Broadway

Why did you choose Columbia Business School?

When I visited Columbia, it just felt like home. The School has a very strong media program. I dove right into it, taking a position in the media management association. It provided an avenue to work closely with the department and to learn from the people in it. There are so many opportunities.

 

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

I’m taking a master class this semester. These are often taught by New Yorkers who are at the top of their field. You get real, practical knowledge from them – what’s happening in the field and what you should be concentrating on. We have access to so many interesting people. And there’s also the cultural aspect of being in New York. I love the theater, I love the arts, and I love music. You also learn from that.

 

What has been your favorite thing at Columbia Business School so far?

My favorite thing is called CBS Matters. Every Thursday, one or two people present about their life, on any aspect they choose. Some people have focused on the country that they come from. Others dive into the details, like, "My ancestors came on the Mayflower." These are the most precious moments, because it's really when people open up.

 

What has surprised you?

The people surprised me the most. I came from a non-traditional background, in nonprofit, and didn’t necessarily have the quantitative experience that a lot of my peers have. But people are so open to helping you. They’ll take their time -- 30 minutes, an hour, three hours – to break down a problem and help you walk through it. In school, time is your most valued asset, but everyone makes the effort to help each other as much as they can.

 

What advice would you give to others?

It's really important to take the time to reflect, and to have new experiences. Some people come to business school with one specific goal in mind. For example, I came for media, and I was looking to get back into media. But an internship opportunity in finance came up. I never saw myself as a finance person, but the School opened the doors for me, and I got to peek behind the curtains to see how the industry works. I’d have lightbulb moments like, "Oh that's what that meant in the class," or, "Oh, that's what the professor was trying to drive at." It’s so important to be open to new opportunities, to try different things. This is the time that you can do it.

 

What will you take with you from Columbia Business School?

I didn’t expect business school to be emotional, but a self-reflective journey is part of the experience. I had confidence coming in, but I realized when I arrived that everyone here is a superstar. It made me question my fit and skills. But I discovered this is part of the process, and you emerge from this process with a different confidence than you had coming in. I'm going to leave more confident than before, knowing that I can attack problems and challenges that I didn't foresee, or that I had never expected to come face to face with.

 

Annie Messmer-Kurdziel
MBA
Class of 2017
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Born in Shaker Heights, OH; lived in Boston for 10 years before business school
Previous Education: 
BA in philosophy from Boston College, 2008
Previous Work Experience: 
I worked for Building Excellent Schools, supporting urban school leadership in more than 125 schools across the country; I also worked in human capital for Fidelity Investments, as an executive search consultant
Post-CBS Goals: 
Working in consulting in Chicago
CBS Activities: 
Co-president, Cluster Q; board and cast member, CBS Follies; board member, Peer Advisors
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Running in Central Park, attending comedy shows, and finding new restaurants 

 

What were you looking for in a business school?
I was looking for a place where I would be really challenged. Prior to business school, I worked in human capital, and I viewed business through that lens. But I didn’t have a vocabulary or skillset beyond that. I came to Columbia Business School because I wanted to be exposed to things I hadn’t done yet in my career. My goal is to leave with a very strong understanding of the fundamentals of business.

What has surprised you?
I expected that I would learn a lot and be very busy. But I didn’t expect that I’d make really good friends. I’m 30 years old, and I have a wife and family. To my surprise, I found people here who are unlike any people I’ve met before. They are intelligent, yet also incredibly relatable and also very diverse. I’ve made close friends from Guatemala, China, India, and more. I’d never had this type of exposure before, and it surprised me a lot.

How are you involved in the Columbia Business School community?
I’m serving this year as a peer advisor and as co-president of Cluster Q, Columbia Business School’s LGBTQ professional and social association. Cluster Q is a community I really care about. It plays two roles, focusing on the experience of anyone identifying as LGBTQ within CBS, as well as looking externally at how we influence and create a better business world for the LGBTQ community outside the walls of Columbia Business School.

Can you talk more about the role of peer advisors?
Peer advisors are second-year students who get paired with incoming first-years, and through this relationship they become ambassadors of the culture. They play an incredibly important role, and the ongoing support they offer shouldn’t be underestimated. During times of transition, we all need support and a little guidance. I think every first-year looks for that along the way, whether it’s in the first week or six months down the road.

How has your education extended beyond the walls of Columbia Business School?
Columbia University is an amazing institution. I spent my second semester taking an intensive course at Columbia Law School, through its Center for Public Research and Leadership. I’m interested in education reform, and the course allowed me to consult with a team for an educational organization. I didn’t know about this program when I applied to Columbia, but my future in education has been shaped more by this experience than anything else I’ve done.

As a busy student, how do you find balance?
I take stock every day of what I need to get out of my day. That's no different than finding balance in a job. You look at the day and week ahead and ask, “What are my goals?” When I came to Columbia Business School, I wrote a mission statement for myself. Every once in a while, I'll go back to that and reflect on what matters to me and why I am here. It is very easy to get sucked into a day where you are running around — from a meeting, to class, to an extra-curricular, to a coffee chat with a future employer. When it becomes too much, you have to be able to step back. Saying “no” is one of the best skills I’ve learned in business school, as well as saying “yes” to the things that really matter.

Rick Carroll
EMBA
Class of 2016
Program Details: 
EMBA New York
Hometown or Country: 
North Easton, Massachusetts
Previous Education: 
BA in history and art history from Kenyon College; MA in design history, decorative arts, and material culture from Bard College
Current Work: 
Manager of Information Services at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Post-CBS Goals: 
I want to reinvigorate the museum industry by emphasizing the importance of innovation, creativity, and sound fiscal judgment. I also want to inspire museum professionals to keep challenging the status quo and drive change — specifically, to bring The Met to the forefront of visitor experience, operational efficiency, and community engagement by incorporating technology and a business mindset.
CBS Activities: 
Cluster Q
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I love museums, of course! I also attend gallery openings regularly and scour the city for the best coffee. I also love Central Park.

"To have a class that was solely dedicated to embracing change and how to do it methodically has been very helpful to me, especially when managing and motivating a very large team. It was just so thrilling to be able to do that."

Why Columbia Business School?
My academic and professional background is in the museum industry, so the Columbia Business School core really appealed to me. The core gives me a solid business foundation, which I have been able to bolster with the wider classes to further my career in the arts.

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
First, it's really awesome to be able to apply what I'm doing to work and also to be able to say, "I wonder what the MoMA's doing?" or "I wonder what the Museum of Natural History is doing?” and be able to go check them out in person to see what they're up to. It's amazing to be surrounded by so many professionals who also work in New York, both in my classes and at events that we attend.

Second, the ability to learn from my classmates has been one of the most rewarding experiences because I've been able to turn to the person next to me and say, "What do you do in finance?" or "What do you do in marketing?" Not to mention the quality of professors and speakers, which also comes from being in New York City.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been most helpful to you in your current work role?
In terms of what was most helpful to me, that was definitely Leadership and Organizational Change — mainly because I was able to immediately apply it the following Monday at work. It was crazy. We had a whole case about The Met, which was especially interesting to me since I work there. To have a class that was solely dedicated to embracing change and how to do it methodically has been very helpful to me, especially when managing and motivating a very large team. It was just so thrilling to be able to do that.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
It just feels like something you're in for the rest of your life, in a good way. I also think that in the Columbia Business School community there's a shared vision of change and innovation. Everyone's looking to change themselves, change their industry, and change their outlook on life and business. I think that that shared vision brings an extra excitement to the community — and I think that's something I haven't seen anywhere else.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you apply it to your current role and beyond?
I'm really deeply invested in the museum industry, and I want to show that museums can be dynamic instead of just a history lesson or a relic of the past. I think that businesses change a little bit more dynamically than museums, so I want to put museums on that same level. To drive change within the museum industry is really what I'm hoping to do with my Columbia Business School degree.

Emily Ford
EMBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
EMBA Americas
Hometown or Country: 
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Previous Education: 
BA in English from Columbia University; MA in British studies and law and politics from Humboldt University; MEd in international education and language, literacy and technology from Teachers College, Columbia University
Current Work: 
Director of outreach programs at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University
Post-CBS Goals: 
I want to lead an organization that helps address inequity in education, particularly higher education
Favorite NYC Activities: 
I live in Brooklyn, and Fort Greene Park is one of my favorite places. I also love the dance class that I take at Mark Morris Dance Center.

Why Columbia Business School? 
I would have never guessed that I would end up in business school, and even more surprising is that it's been the best thing for me. A lot of my career has been one step at time, and that's very much how I lead my life. Through my experience mostly working in education and nonprofits, over time I realized the need for business skills in the nonprofit world, and the desire to learn these is really what got me to Columbia. 

What is it like to go to business school in New York City? 
It's exciting and challenging. I think it's the best place in the world to do business school, but nothing is easy in New York. You have to fight for it, and that's true of school, too. You can't come here and coast; you really have to work — New York just demands that of anybody.    

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals? 
New York has the whole world in it and you can see really egregious inequities between people who have things and people who do not. For me, the proximity to these disparities is a constant reminder to engage, keep working, and know that there's so much more work to be done. I don't want to live in a bubble, and New York is not a bubble. Everything is here and close together, and I find that really motivating. Anyone can sit next to you on the subway; it's all there. That is what is exciting and motivating — connections with all kinds of people is something I really enjoy.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
The diversity of the School is really impressive. I'm in a very small cohort — the EMBA Americas '15 class — and there are only 25 of us. My classmates are great: they're an amazing group of people and we have all gotten to know each other really well. You might not guess our small group is so diverse, but in terms of the backgrounds, experiences, and different countries that people come from, it is astoundingly diverse. That has been a lesson that I've really taken to heart in my line of work: diversity is more than one thing. I have come to appreciate diversity in an entirely different way. The community has really opened my eyes to how many wonderful and unexpected ways people can contribute.  

How does the School’s entrepreneurial approach help you with your career goals? 
I am a big believer in trying new things and doing things differently, and I see that happening at Columbia. I came in skeptical because there is a lot of hype these days around disruption, and it turns out one of my favorite classes has been in entrepreneurship. What I see happening at the School is a willingness, and even encouragement, to try things differently, and that's something I really appreciate. It's also very much how I work — creating a space to try things and see if they work or not.  

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you apply it to your current role and beyond? 
I have been using my business school education pretty much since day one. I almost can't imagine doing what I need to do without having gone to business school. To a great extent, it lets me do what I'm doing better and be smarter about it. It also lets me do things that, before, I would have relied on other people to do. Now I can do them myself. My education has expanded my world and what's possible. I am a more capable person, and I have a greater capacity not just to work but also to do better in life.

Temitope Fawibe
MBA
Class of 2016
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Lagos, Nigeria
Previous Education: 
BS in economics from the University of Houston and BBA in finance from the University of St Thomas
Previous Work Experience: 
Project coordinator at Shepherd Oilfield Services
Post-CBS Goals: 
To combine my interests in banking and social enterprise and work in social finance
CBS Activities: 
Columbia Women in Business Association, African Business Club

"The School will be at the center of training, molding, and guiding the world's next generation of social innovators."

I'll be going into banking after Columbia Business School, and I feel that in the future there will be an increased focus on and commitment to corporate social responsibility. Companies have a responsibility, not only to their businesses but also to the communities in which they operate. These companies, including major banks, have the resources to affect positive social and environmental change. 

Columbia Business School has already demonstrated a dedication to training business leaders with a focus on social impact. Programs like the Tamer Center will only continue to grow and develop. The School will be at the center of training, molding, and guiding the world's next generation of social innovators.

Related:
The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise

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.

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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.