Current Employer: Frito-Lay
Title: Sales Director
Hometown: Brookline, Massachusetts
Undergraduate School: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The residential session and teamwork are a crucial part of this program. Other programs I interviewed for lacked a team-focused approach. But, it really resonated with me and paralleled my experiences working in corporate America.
Why did you choose Cornell?
I choose Cornell primarily because of the culture. Obviously it is Ivy league and has an amazing brand and reputation, but the whole applying and administration process really gave me a good sense of the people at Cornell. The people and a strong sense of community and support are really important to me, especially as someone who is working full-time.
What was your first Impression upon arrival?
I had this image of business school in general, that it was very intimidating, old, and scary. It was intimidating in the sense that it is a very high level of thinking, but it was really cool and not a scary experience at all. I was first impressed by how incredible the teachers are, especially the diligence and the care that they have for their students and their learning. There was a lot of care and concern in making sure that I have a good experience, which didn’t really surprise me because of the Cornell reputation, but really met my expectations and hopes.
What is one thing you learned about yourself from the program?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to learn as much about myself as I did; I expected to learn about the business world. A couple things I have really honed in on are one, self-confidence—I realized I need more of it and to believe in myself more; and two, being good enough is sometimes as good as being perfect—you can’t always plan everything or have everything be 100%, which is something I always strived for in the past, but is not always the most productive approach.
What advice do you have for anyone applying?
The whole application process requires time, so make sure to give yourself enough of it and to really figure out what you want. Many people are going to give advice about what worked for them, but that may not work for you. It is also important to be flexible and open to trying new things, especially when it comes to choosing your classes.
What are the residential sessions like?
This is my third residential session and they are all very different. The first one, you are really just starting to dip your toe into the water and warm up to the whole program. The second one is incredibly difficult; it is work-heavy, intense, and one thing right after another. The third one is a lot of fun. There is work, but you are in the mode already and know how to deal with it better. So, they are all different, but they are all alike in that they are all focused on connecting you to Cornell and Ithaca. So you really feel a sense of unity and like you are part of your class and the Cornell community.
What makes your program unique?
The overnights and focus on team building and teamwork are really unique. Other programs I interviewed for lacked this team approach. But, it really resonated with me and paralleled my experiences working in corporate America.
Who is your favorite professor?
I really enjoyed finance, which I didn’t expect. Yaniv Grinstein is a phenomenal professor. I really enjoyed the electives in macroeconomics and business strategy, too.
What is the legacy you'd like to leave behind?
One thing we started this year is a mentoring program. Our class is pairing up with the incoming class, one-on-one or one-on-two, to provide support and a collaborative, family feel to the next class.
What do you want to accomplish with your degree?
This program has allowed me to see more and to realize there are other ways to look at things. So, I hope to keep the curiosity this program has sparked and use it to catapult me to other functions to develop my overall skillset. Rather than advance really quickly to the top in a siloed manner, I’d like to gather different experiences within my organization, as well as without.