In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I want to take the chance to highlight a few female professors I have had Stern. They are not only just teachers to me but also mentors and role models. They inspire me to keep learning, dreaming and charging forward.
I had professor Sonia Marciano for my strategy business core class in the summer. Still adapting to the business mindset at that point, I was completely blown away by Sonia’s class. She is super smart and down-to-earth. She has a witty and straightforward way of explaining concepts – they all seemed so common-sense and obvious yet I would have never thought of them from those angles on my own. Many of the things she taught us not only apply to business situations, but also to daily life situations, too.
First, focus your time and energy on things that are high weight and high variation. She used the example of her daughter’s sock puppet assignment in her English literature class (hence the term ‘sock-puppeting’) – if the outcome between spending 2 hours and 20 hours on this assignment is 2%, it’s probably worth spending the 18 hours on things that will have a bigger impact on grades. This was definitely a life saver in business school where there are so many things competing for our time and we have to be strategic about how to spend our time.
Second, leverage your strength and be big in a dimension. In business, this carefully chosen strategic position allows a firm to enjoy a monopolistic position in an industry. On a personal level, I pivoted my job searching strategy from looking for product manager position in tech companies (which I have little background in) to looking for strategy position with heavy data analytics component. I received way more response after I changed my job searching strategy and ultimately landed an internal strategy consulting position at IBM.
Professor Anjolein Schmeits was our finance professor at the end of the summer. She is very passionate about teaching and cares deeply about her students. That reflects in how energetic she always was in class despite the fact she was teaching 9 hours in a day. Finance is a very quantitative subject and the lecture can get very dry if not thought out properly. With Anjolein’s class, you never noticed that 3 hours went by. All the concepts were explained in an easily digestible way. Her structure was logical and emphasized not only the what and how but also the why. I definitely wished we could’ve had more class time with her!
Professor Amy Webb is teaching one of the most unique electives at Stern – Predicting the Future of Technology. This class goes through her unique framework of strategic foresight regarding to technology trends – CIPHER – explained in detail in her book “The Signals are Talking”. Amy has an amazing talent of telling stories so her class is always engaging and thought provoking. The ‘moment of trends’ exercise we did at the beginning of every class started my habit of keeping a pulse of news in the technology industry, from announcements of new products to PR of tech companies to mergers & acquisitions in the industry. We were able to apply her methodology in each class on current trends we care about – like what we might do once we graduate. These in-class exercises are what she would do with her executive clients. Did I mention she brought delicious gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free treats to every class? Also, check out her TED talk on how she found her soul mate using on-line dating platform, the story is being turned into a movie now.
There are so many more amazing female professors at Stern who were essential to my experience this past year. Lastly, I want to give a big shout out to all my fellows at Stern Women in Business (SWIB) and all the male allies. We recently hosted an event titled “Shattering the Glass Ceiling” featuring an incredible panel of executive women. Happy international women’s day!