Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?
I was not expecting how much the diversity of the student community would contribute to my learning. First, the abundance of diversity of my classmates and their professional backgrounds. These classmates brought forth robust dialogue and insights on the discussion topics and always shared their experiences with others. Second, my classmates came from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which shaped their lives and provided them with valuable life lessons that they shared with everyone.
Why did you choose Columbia Business School?
Three things that led me to choose Columbia Business School were its location in New York City, the strength and networking of its community, and the rigorous academic curriculum. Having the opportunity to be at the center of business from a geographic standpoint appealed to me and elevated my learning experience through various experiences, such as recruiting and applying for employment. Building lasting relationships with classmates is key, so when I learned about CBS and their strength in networking and community building, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
When did you first feel the impact of the program?
I truly felt the impact of the program when I was able to obtain an internship at a Venture Capital firm. Not only did the Career Management Center guide me through the application process, but also the learnings I gained from classes were directly applicable to the internship and I felt confident in the work I was doing.
Which faculty members(s) influenced you the most, and how?
Professor Hitendra Wadhwa, who teaches the class Personal Leadership and Success, and my academic advisor, Jordan Greenwood. Professor Hitendra inspired me through his teachings and his personal professional experiences. I was also inspired by how he was able to create a culture in class that led to friendships and lifelong learning despite classes being held in a virtual environment. Jordan was a great resource in helping me navigate the academics at Columbia Business School while remaining objective and giving insightful recommendations, all of which ultimately helped me craft my own path.
What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?
My most memorable experience at CBS has been joining REAP (Reentry Acceleration Program). I have enjoyed this program as it has provided me the opportunity to learn more about the incarceration system in the US. It’s also allowed me to be a leader and teacher to others through an entrepreneurial-based curriculum we offer individuals in the “Reentry to Society” program.
How have you been involved in the student community?
I have been involved in the Latin American Business Association (LABA) events, where I made some of my best friends at CBS. LABA felt like home away from home and it was great to join the barbecues where I got to meet people from all over Latin America.
What was the most challenging part of the program, and how did you handle it?
The most challenging part of the program was going through the core classes during the first semester. Many topics were new to me and the learning curve was steep. I took advantage of the study sessions offered by each class and also reached out to the TAs, who were always helpful. Ultimately, my biggest resource was my Learning Team; we kept each other accountable and offered assistance when needed through scheduled check-ins and meetups.
Did you take advantage of the Career Management services offered to all students? If so, how did the office help you?
Advisors in the Career Management Center have been helpful with tactical aspects of the career search, such as résumé and cover letter development. Most important, however, they have served as guidance counselors helping me identify my areas of interest and how to leverage my experience to attain the goal or job I am aiming for.
What advice would you give to a new student coming into the MBA program at Columbia Business School?
My advice is to take classes where you will work on your soft skills. I took classes to work on my presentation skills, selling skills, negotiation skills, and more. Taking advantage of the safe space in the classes to advance these critical skills was something I recommend.
What will you take with you from Columbia Business School?
My experience at CBS has been second to none, and I leave knowing I have the skills and background needed to succeed in any professional environment. I also leave with lifelong friends and colleagues from all around the world who have shared my similar experience, and I know I can call upon them whenever needed.