Student Leadership

Shannon Talbert
EMBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
EMBA Americas
Hometown or Country: 
Newport, Rhode Island
Previous Education: 
BS in business management, Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business
Current Work: 
Director of enablement at Schneider Electric
Post-CBS Goals: 
Putting all that I’ve learned at CBS into practice at work; continuing to learn and grow while leveraging the CBS network; and impacting my community through leadership and engagement.
CBS Activities: 
EMBA Americas 2015 Academic Representative
Favorite NYC Activities: 
A walk on the waterfront or the West Village. I especially love the The Frick Collection on a rainy day, and the Cloisters and Met Museum in the spring and summer. I try a new restaurant every time I’m in NYC; there are too many great ones to name!

Why Columbia Business School?
I decided to come to Columbia Business School to continue my growth as a professional, expand my network, and gain new experience. I chose Columbia because it really does put you at the center of business. It's a premier business school. It offers an incredible opportunity and experience for students. I think that Columbia Business School network is world class and the caliber of education is completely unmatched anywhere else. 

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
Going to business school in New York City is a fantastic experience, and provides some unique benefits that you simply can't access anywhere else. Through the CBS network in New York City you get to engage with faculty, business leaders, and experts who are really at the forefront of business and innovation. It's such a unique and dynamic environment. You really feel like you have your finger on the pulse of business by being in New York.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
Being in New York helps me gain insight and perspective on business and on the market. It's such a perfect environment to explore and learn about exciting trends and developments in business. That includes groundbreaking research and discoveries, not just from our faculty but also from fellow students. Particularly with my program, the EMBA Americas program, we aim to bring what we learn in the classroom every day and immediately put it into practice in our own professional lives and career endeavors. It's an opportunity for us to really bridge theory and practice, guided by some of the best and most influential business minds of our day in New York City.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been most helpful to you in your current role?
I've been very lucky that I've had fantastic courses at Columbia and a really good experience, so it's difficult to choose just one or two. But there have been two courses that I think have been the most helpful. One was Nelson Fraiman's Operations and Technology course. It provided such unique input on the importance and depth of operations, from the smallest project to even the highest macro level. I also love Hitendra Wadhwa's Leadership course. That's the course that I consider a must take for any business leader. It really was life changing in the way it strove to get students to approach our lives and leadership very personally.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
One thing that really surprised me about CBS, in such a positive way, was the strength and support of the community and the network here. On day one I had twenty new allies and best friends in all aspects: academic curiosity and exploration, business and professional groups, learning, and — at the most basic level — personal support and friendship. It's been so overwhelmingly positive and supportive that I almost can't imagine my life before my CBS family.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
Being a part of the CBS community means so much to me – it really puts me at the center of an amazing convergence. There's so much to it. There's connection, opportunity, access, and an open exchange of ideas and practice. As part of the community I really feel like the walls are torn down and I can engage with titans of industry and incredible faculty and staff, and also emerging entrepreneurs and upcoming leaders among fellow classmates and colleagues. The great part is it's a convergence, so it's more of a mutual exchange. I feel that I'm giving back to this incredible network and community, as well, and really bringing a lot to them – as much as I'm receiving from them.

How does the School’s entrepreneurial approach help you with your career goals?
CBS really encourages the entrepreneurial approach, so as you go into business and your own career you have a more empowered, inquisitive, creative, and entrepreneurial lens. Having a network around you that supports that lens and perspective is really an invaluable benefit. It has encouraged me to find the right way to grow my career and knowledge, and to make an impact on the community around me in my own career. It has really let me be laser-focused on my goals and take advantage of the network and community around me to explore more.  

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you apply it to your current role and beyond?
I was pretty unique in that I actually changed roles at my current company about midway through the program. I really feel like I — maybe more so than a lot of people who were in the trenches of the program — am already reaping the benefits of Columbia and of my MBA. I feel like I came in with doors open, and I've opened doors that I didn't even know existed previously. The experience has had a really great impact on me. I'm certainly excited for my life as a CBS alum. 

Alex Malorodov
MBA
Class of 2016
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
Born in Moscow; moved to Washington, DC, in 1998 at the age of 12
Previous Education: 
BS in electrical engineering from University of Maryland, 2009; MS in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, 2011
Previous Work Experience: 
I worked for Apple as a strategic deals manager, served as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and was a project manager for BAE Systems, a global defense, aerospace, and security company
Post-CBS Goals: 
Working in venture capital in New York
CBS Activities: 
Officer for the Rugby Team and the Sailing Club, member of the Private Equity/Venture Capital Club and Retail & Luxury Goods Club
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Strolling in Central Park, taking in the architecture of the city, going out in the meatpacking district
Areas of Interest: 

What is it like to go to business school in New York City?
The access is unparalleled; the fact that you can hop in the subway and meet pretty much anywhere in the city within half an hour really gives you options to explore different careers — more so than any other city, in the US or elsewhere, would.

What has been your favorite experience at CBS?
I took a Personal Leadership and Success class, and we had a weekend retreat. In the span of two days, I felt closer to that entire class than some of my friends whom I've known for 10 or 15 years. Regardless of background, I realized that each person I go to school with has a story that will bring you to your knees. We're all in a similar position. It drove home the value of developing empathy for others.

What's been the most surprising thing about being at CBS?
Despite everyone’s success and achievements to date, the level of humility is astounding. Everybody's equally willing to contribute to the class and help mentor you or tutor you. There's no ego floating around, which was very surprising to me.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
Within a month of starting school, I was able to get a school-year internship, which I attribute largely to being in the city and close to my employer’s office. Working has helped me gain exposure to the Venture Capital scene in New York and differentiate myself during interviews for summer internships. NYC lends itself to the networking required to secure a VC job — I can take a same-day meeting downtown and be back in time for class.

Once you have your CBS degree, how will you conquer the world?
I enjoy mentoring people. Besides helping entrepreneurs shape the world we live in, I would like to at some point become a motivational speaker, either as a hobby or as my primary job. Having gone through the journey from chasing resume bullets to understanding what core values drive me and what makes me happy, I hope to inspire others to follow their heart rather than money and to live life for experiences.

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.

Stephanie Sherline
MBA
Class of 2015
Program Details: 
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country: 
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Previous Education: 
B.A. in Theater from Northwestern, 2007
Previous Work Experience: 
Production management for Broadway and touring shows in Chicago and NYC
Post-CBS Goals: 
Short term: management consulting at McKinsey; long term: to have an impact in the performing arts industry, in a management or board position
CBS Activities: 
Co-president of the Social Enterprise Club; cluster alumni representative; peer advisor; chair of CBS Reflects; bass player for Juranimal; participant in international consulting projects through Pangea Advisors
Favorite NYC Activities: 
Going to see live theater and live music, having a picnic in Central Park with my cluster, seeing a live taping of David Letterman as a cluster, or generally taking advantage of being in the city and having hundreds of other students to explore it with me!

Why Columbia Business School?
It is the trifecta of getting a great education at a really well-respected academic institution; the fact that it's in New York, which was important to me because I was already living here and I was interested in gaining exposure and experience in the arts industry; and, most importantly, the community at CBS. When I saw the kind of community created by students who helped run CBS Connect [a fair for admitted students], and saw that same sense of community among my fellow prospective students, I thought, “This is my place. This is where I'll fit in.” Being here, I have realized that the CBS community is even more inclusive and dynamic than I imagined it would be.

What class are you most excited about, or what class has been your favorite thus far?
I'm in a class called Supply Chain Management right now. I had no idea going into the class that I would like it so much. It's a really exciting topic and Professor Medini Singh keeps things very interesting, to the point where now I'm starting to think about how to bring this type of work into my consulting career. Also, the core, in aggregate, was really helpful to me coming from the nontraditional background of being a theater major.

What's been your favorite experience at CBS?
My first year, I did a Pangaea project with two other CBS students for a nonprofit in Oaxaca, Mexico. We worked with the client remotely for a semester, and then traveled to Oaxaca in January for 10 days. That was the first time that I really used my business skill set in the real world, saw the impact of it, and felt the sense of collaboration among the team. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that CBS helped facilitate.

How does being in New York City help you with your career goals?
You think you know what you want to do coming to business school, but chances are, you'll change your mind. If you do change your mind, being in New York City, you have access to people, resources, conferences, coffee chats, and internships that will really help you solidify what you do want to do after school.  For example, I had no idea coming in that I would be coming out as a management consultant, and I am very excited about this career switch!

What does it mean to you to be part of the Columbia Business School community?
It's really incredible how student-driven the community is, which I didn't fully appreciate until I got here. Everything from on-campus events to the resources passed on from second-years to first-years during recruiting and the peers who really rally around you, to help with academics, and adjusting to life at CBS. There is also a very palpable feeling that this is a safe space to take risks, have difficult conversations, and push yourself beyond your perceived limits. You see that in the emphasis that the school places on diversity and inclusion — it creates a cohesive community of people who are really pushing themselves to take advantage of these two years to become the best new version of themselves that they can be.

 

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. 

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.