Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?
I was expecting the program to be an intense academic experience where students were highly competitive. While the first semester certainly fits the intense academic experience expectation, the people were totally different from what I thought. I am super impressed with the high caliber of folks that I met and how gracious and warm everyone was.
Why did you choose Columbia Business School?
I chose CBS because I know that it carries an incredibly strong brand and is an outstanding school. I also wanted to live in New York City, as it was the center of business for the US when I was applying to business school.
When did you first feel the impact of the program?
Immediately. I found a tremendous group of peers during the summer travel before school and after school started. I am incredibly impressed at how diverse and outstanding the group of students are.
Which faculty members(s) influenced you the most, and how?
Steve Blank influenced me the most probably, even thought it was only a block week class, as he made me believe that I had what it took to start a company and turn that company into a real business. Due to my experience in Lean Launchpad, I am starting a company post CBS and would never have been able to do it without Steve Blank and Lean Launchpad.
What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?
My most memorable experience has been the travel by far. Sharing experiences with my classmates that is outside of the classroom has been amazing and something I am disappointed that I did not get to do more of. My most memorable school experience has been Lean Launchpad. This class changed my outlook and thinking about creating an outstanding business.
How have you been involved in the student community?
Yes, the CBS Community makes it very easy to be involved in it. I have been involved with the Military in Business Association, Men’s Rugby Football Club, and numerous other clubs focused on entrepreneurship. I also served as a peer advisor for fall orientation, which I found to be a very rewarding experience.
What was the most challenging part of the program, and how did you handle it?
I would say there are two equally challenging parts of the program – 1. Core and 2. Deciding what to do with your time. The most challenging academic part of the program was the core. There are so many events, academic requirements, recruiting, and social events that you have to balance immediately upon starting school and it can be overwhelming, but everyone goes through it! The community is also there to support you in any way possible. I never felt like I didn’t have support. While it is a stressful time, it is also an incredibly fun time. I thoroughly enjoyed my first semester and am thankful for all of the wonderful relationships that I developed.
Did you take advantage of the Career Management services offered to all students? If so, how did the office help you?
Not really – I took advantage of the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship as my goal prior to Business School was to start a company. I have found the Lang Center to be incredibly helpful with starting a company and have enjoyed the events and other programming they have put on.
What advice would you give to a new student coming into the MBA program at Columbia Business School?
Fully commit and have fun! There are so many opportunities at the School and you should try to take advantage of all of them – at least try them out! My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend with people and do more activities. I wish I was able to do a third year! There is tremendous room for growth, if you let it happen, and you should embrace it by getting out of your comfort zone.
What will you take with you from Columbia Business School?
I will leave CBS with a solid group of friends that I know I can rely on in the future. I also now have an incredibly strong and diverse professional network that I will be able to utilize in the future. Additionally, the larger Columbia University network is an amazing asset to have that is full of people willing to help out other Columbians. I have truly enjoyed my time at CBS!