Current Employer: Prestige Brands, Inc.
Title: Head of Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Technical Services
Undergraduate School: Stevens Institute of Technology
There was a class I took where we reviewed our strengths, and sometimes you forget about those—you focus on areas that you need to improve and forget that it is your strengths that have gotten you to where you are, which this program emphasizes well.
Why did you choose Cornell?
Many reasons. Obviously the reputation, but when I visited for the program, I really enjoyed the classroom that I saw. The diversity, the backgrounds, the different industries—it felt like it represented more than just finance, which is what you typically see.
What was your first impression upon arrival?
I was not surprised. I had seen Cornell years ago because I had friends that came here and I visited them. But, it was very good, very beautiful, very much what I expected. Cornell as a whole and the program itself are very organized, which I liked.
What has surprised you most about the EMBA program?
I think one thing that took me by surprise is how well our class has gelled—how well we all work together, not just within our teams, but with other people in the program. Everybody gets along; everybody works well together and makes an effort to get to know each other. I knew that was one of the reasons I picked this program, but was surprised at how well the team aspect really works.
What is your most memorable experience?
A few times with my team, we would work really hard and get really close to a deliverable and then decide “this isn’t it” and start all over from scratch. But, eventually, when we got to the final result, we were very proud of it. Sometimes, when you are working on a project, you get close to the end and think, “This isn’t good enough,” but to come to the end of a project and to know that your result is good enough and to be proud of your deliverable is really rewarding.
What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself from this program?
I came here thinking that I may not belong, but then when you work with people who are so helpful, and you start to realize that you do bring something to the table and that you do belong. There was a class I took where we reviewed our strengths, and sometimes you forget about those—you focus on areas that you need to improve and forget that it is your strengths that have gotten you to where you are, which this program emphasizes well.
What makes the EMBA program unique?
I think, compared to other MBA programs, the diversity, the companies, the industries that people come from are a real distinguisher. I also think the fact that we stay over as a group allows us to really bond and to form meaningful relationships that make a very big difference. Academically it is impressive too, but that is no surprise.
What advice do you have for anyone applying to the program?
Go for it—that is the best thing I could say. I’d also say to visit other places, so that you can compare, but for me it was a very clear choice.
What have the residential sessions been like and what have you enjoyed?
The first one, you don’t know what to expect; you are so anxious. It is tough, but really good and you leave feeling very positive. The second is tough in another way—it is in the middle of winter and especially difficult from a course standpoint. You have a heavy workload every night. But, the beginning of the second year, you come back in the summer, and have a lot of the heavier coursework behind you. You know what to expect and feel comfortable with the program.
Who is your favorite professor?
I have a few. I would say I like Professor Thomas Evans—he taught a topic I knew nothing about (microeconomics) and was great at pushing you and challenging you. It was clear that he really knew his stuff, too.
What is your favorite class?
Macroeconomics. It was another area I knew nothing about, but loved the professor and got a lot out of the course. I really don’t think it should be an elective; it should be part of the core curriculum and a class that everyone takes.
What has been your favorite event or happening?
I just like all the interaction with our class. Whether it is during a residential session or during one of the many events Cornell hosts in the city, it is always good to see my cohort.