meet our members

Stories from the SWIB Community

Jessica Wong, Class of 2020

Jessica Wong, Class of 2020

Meet: Jessica Wong

Her Story: I'm a NYC native but I've spent over 10 years away from New York for school and my career, so attending NYU is a homecoming for me! I have an undergraduate degree in engineering and previously worked in the aerospace and industrial goods industry in roles in operations/supply chain, and technology.

Outside of school activities I love to teach group fitness. Les Mills Body Pump is the most popular program I teach but I am certified in other formats such as Yoga and Mixed Martial arts. I also enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures. I'm including these interests in my Stern experience by participating in a Stern Signature Project with students and a client team in Israel, and also learning Russian through NYU's Speak Freely program.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? Attending business school has been one of the best decisions I've made in my career, so I’d absolutely advocate for women to go to business school. I will also add that I considered pursuing my MBA for sometime and after finally deciding to apply, I appreciated the additional work experience I gained while considering full-time or part-time. There are definitely successful students who transition immediately after their undergraduate degree but I would recommend gaining full-time work experience prior to attending to extract the most value from this 2 year journey.

What advice do you have for prospective students? My advice for prospective students is to speak to as many current students as you can to get a feel for the school culture and community. In the end, many top business schools will be able to offer you many of the same programming or experiences but it's the community that makes all the difference. Stern's focus on Emotional Intelligence or EQ has positively affected my MBA experience and is not just a marketing ploy. Find what factors are important to you and get hints for them in your conversations with students.

What are some ways you’ve been involved in supporting women? I am a life member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) that supports girls considering engineering as a career and supports women in the field of engineering.

Fun Fact: I have traveled to over 65 countries!

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? Of course the community :) But another huge perk that might be underrated is being located in downtown NYC! To give two examples: Professionally, it has been so easy to meet face-to-face with professionals and the NYU alumni network, whereas, students from schools outside NYC often have to take day trips to NYC for a single meeting. Socially, the comedy club recently went to the Comedy Cellar and saw John Mulaney perform - where else does that happen, but New York?!

Pre-MBA Industry: Aerospace and Industrial Goods; Operations and Tech

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Consulting

Meet: Alexandra Friedman

Her Story: I grew up in Westchester, New York, and I attended Barnard College where I majored in Anthropology. Prior to Stern, I spent 5 years working in education. This includes 2 years teaching with Teach For America as a Corps Member in the South Bronx, as well as 3 years working in client services in education technology. This summer I will be headed to Seattle to intern at Amazon in their Retail Leadership Development Program. At Stern, I'm an AVP of Corporate Relations for the Management Consulting Association and an AVP of Collaboration for Stern Student Government. Outside of school, I mentor a high school student every Saturday through Minds Matter.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? My advice is to go for it! Business school is a fantastic opportunity to grow personally and professionally and to build invaluable relationships with classmates. The women I've met at Stern have been incredibly impressive, diverse, and supportive. The fact that I now have this extraordinary network of women I can go to and ask for advice and support is truly unique and specific to the MBA experience. The women at Stern truly believe in supporting one another and lifting each other up. Whether its through women's brunches, SWIB activities, or just general friendships, I feel so lucky to have built this network of future women leaders.

What advice do you have for prospective students? My advice is to use business school as an opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You should pick activities that you're interested in pursuing, but also ones that you may not naturally choose to be involved with outside of the safe space of business school. For example, if you're not very quantitative, you should choose classes that will force you to develop these skills. If you fear public speaking, take on a leadership role where you'll need to present in front of groups. Business school is a unique experience and should be used to develop in different ways outside of what one typically might choose.

What are some ways you’ve been involved in supporting women? Women's leadership is incredibly important to me and has been since my undergraduate experience at a women's college. Prior to Stern, I co-founded a women's leadership group at my former employer. Within this group I organized programming, led conversations about the wage gap and women's leadership, facilitated book clubs on these topics, and built strong relationships with other women within the organization. I also mentor a high school girl interested in pursuing computer science in college.

Fun Fact: I was a competitive cheerleader in high school!

What’s your favorite part about NYC? I live in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and I absolutely love it! I encourage everyone to step out of Manhattan and explore New York City's outer boroughs.

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? My favorite part of Stern is my classmates! Students at Stern are unique in their constant desire to help one another. Whether it's organizing an accounting tutoring session the night before the final, prepping for interviews, or celebrating each other's successes, Stern students are always there for each other!

Pre-MBA Industry: Education, Education Technology

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Technology or Consulting

Alexandra Friedman, Class of 2020

Alexandra Friedman, Class of 2020

Jessica Kaliski, Class of 2020

Jessica Kaliski, Class of 2020

Meet: Jessica Kaliski

Her Story: Most people know me for "toilets," so I'll elaborate on that story. My junior year at Amherst College, I took a class on sustainable architecture. I remember my professor telling us about a toilet that was installed in a developing country and when the NGO came back a year later, it had been transformed into an agriculture storehouse because the toilet had a lock. The household preferred to store their equipment in the toilet -- rather than use it as a toilet. This intrigued me and prompted me to write my undergrad thesis on sanitation, creating a theoretical demand model for toilet adoption and usage. After Amherst, I continued within this sector and worked for a start-up in Cape Town, South Africa that was looking at ways to use basic cellphones and smartphones to monitor water infrastructure in developing countries. And finally, this "spark" brought me to NYU -- both to Stern and Wagner (School of Public Service) -- to find ways to combine business and policy to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our generation, the delivery of clean and safe sanitation facilities being just one.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? One of the best pieces of advice I got from my brother (who got it from some calendar) was to make sure that other people don't pay "free rent" in your mind. That is to say: don't constantly compare yourself to others and do not let others create havoc on your happiness, satisfaction, or achievement.

What advice do you have for prospective students? Take risks during business school -- because it is probably one of the most safest environments to do so -- and have a full calendar while in business school -- because there is no reason not to take advantage of all the opportunities and events business school has to offer (both socially and academically!).

I would also recommend thinking about your personal development. Yes, you'll learn a lot of "academic" oriented topics at Stern (I finally learned what the mysterious "beta" and "alpha" are in the financial world), but you'll surprised by how much you can grown personally -- if you take the time to do it. I would encourage you to take time both to plan a club activity or speak in front of people, or take an hour or so per week or per month to think about what you've learned, where you want to go, and what you need to do in the short and long term to get there.

Fun Fact: I played the marimba (google it) for 14 years.

What’s your favorite part about NYC? I love to run along the East River -- particularly during the sunrise.

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? I feel like the people are a given, so I'd say my favorite part of being a student at Stern is all the free resources (well technically not free because they are incorporated in your tuition) that you get. Think: NYU gyms (no need to pay that Equinox fee!) and discounts on theatre tickets. But also, the freedom to plan events on whatever topic you want (for instance, I planned Ted-Talk events for both World Toilet Day and World Water Day).

Pre-MBA Industry: Social Impact

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Short-term consulting, long-term back to social impact

Meet: Gina Borden

Her Story: I grew up on Long Island and moved to the city for undergrad. At Barnard College, Columbia University, I was a Dance Major and participated in the Athena Scholars Program - a specialized track that promotes female leadership in the workplace. After graduating in 2014, I worked at several dance institutions across NYC in marketing and development, while freelance performing and teaching dance. To this day, I am a dancer and Assistant Artistic Director at Jessica Lewis Arts. As I contemplated the next step in my career, I decided to come to business school in order to expand my toolkit to properly prepare me to address inefficiencies I observed in the non-profit space. This summer I will be consulting at CCS Fundraising, and look to continue my growth in consulting before pivoting back to non-profit arts.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? Go for it. Business school is an investment in your future and your self. At school, you will seek out the areas where you want to expand your knowledge, and will become a well-rounded individual. Your business school education is also an investment for all women. The world needs more females in the C-Suite - in ALL industries. Change starts with preparing yourself and supporting each other in education and industry to get on the right track.

What advice do you have for prospective students? Be yourself as you apply. Don't try to tailor your application to "how it is supposed to look." There is no right answer, only truthful expressions of yourself. NYU Stern has students from all over the world, from completely different experiences. Admissions wants to know who YOU are.

What are some ways you’ve been involved in supporting women? Student Government, Management Consulting Association

Fun Fact: I was interviewed on the 5:00 news when I was 3!

What’s your favorite part about NYC? Broadway, bagels, family, friends in no particular order

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? The opportunity that lies in each day to meet new people and learn new things.

Pre-MBA Industry: Non-Profit Performing Arts and Education

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Consulting

Gina Borden, Class of 2020

Gina Borden, Class of 2020

Rebecca Dewey, Class of 2020

Rebecca Dewey, Class of 2020

Meet: Rebecca Dewey

Her Story: I love solving complex problems and working with technology. Those are the two through-lines of my very non-linear career. I studied International Relations at Tufts University, working in the IT department part-time. I then started my career working in business operations at Spire Global, a start-up using small satellites to track ships and weather. After a couple years, I jumped from San Francisco to NYC, joining Adore Me, an e-commerce lingerie company, as a Product to Market Manager. There I managed our vendors and internal IT projects. I came to Stern to learn the theory behind the practical work I'd been doing and to pivot into consulting, a career which will allow me to consistently investigate interesting business problems.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? Take time to evaluate programs and choose the right fit for you. Each school has its own culture which will shape your experience and network. And honing those selection skills will continue to serve you once you're admitted and start thinking about where to apply for internships and full time roles!

What advice do you have for prospective students? As a prospective student, I remember meeting current students and thinking they were all way smarter and more impressive than I was. I knew all the weaknesses in my own application (hello, GMAT score) and it was easy to see each of them as a reason for the Admissions Committee to pass over me for a better candidate. But now that I'm almost a year into my MBA journey I see that I also had plenty of strengths to add to the class that would complement my peers. My advice to prospective students would be - stay confident! You're likely an even better candidate than you think you are, and the school really is looking for reasons to say "yes" rather than "no".

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? The people! Sternies talk a lot about our community but it's truly the people that make this place amazing, from the students to faculty, staff, and administrators. Everyone is bought in on the EQ + IQ philosophy, and I can point to so many moments of peers going out of their way to support, cheer on, and celebrate each other. It makes me love coming to campus every day.

Pre-MBA Industry: Technology / Business Operations

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Consulting / Generalist

Meet: Trisha Nussbaum

Her Story: I'm a New Yorker through and through! I've always been extremely passionate about technology, from my childhood of playing video games on Nintendo64, through my undergraduate study at Cornell, to my work prior to Stern at IBM. I really love how the industry always changes and makes a positive impact for people, and I have had an exciting journey meeting others who share their unique perspectives towards this common goal. I came to Stern to learn more about the business-side of tech and to meet passionate leaders.

What advice do you have for women thinking about pursuing business school? You can do this! When I applied to Stern, I knew it was the logical next career step, but I was nervous about entering this realm of uncertainty where I didn't know if I could be successful. Luckily, there are so many school organizations that help you build connections and explore your interests, and SWIB helps women join together to ensure success!

What advice do you have for prospective students? Be yourself - sure, it sounds obvious, but sometimes we're inclined to act in a way that we think we're supposed to. Business school is the perfect opportunity to be introspective and find your fit. When you attend corporate events, think about your (professional) authentic self and and ask yourself if you'd be comfortable being that person in that setting. Finally, use your Sternie support system! Recruiting can be really tough, but I've been touched by how incredibly supportive everyone is and I hope to be as helpful to the incoming class.

Fun Fact: I was voted "Most Musical" in my high school yearbook. I can play 5 instruments and I sing!

What’s your favorite part about being a student at Stern? The people - seriously, EQ is no joke! I'm so happy to have friends here and I'm looking forward to my Spring Break Trek to Japan!

Pre-MBA Industry: Tech / Internal Consulting

Post-MBA Industry Goals: Tech / Marketing Management

Trisha Nussbaum, Class of 2020

Trisha Nussbaum, Class of 2020