An Interview with Rodas Zemui: New York University

New York University Stern School of Business (NYU Stern) is one of the world’s best business schools, located in New York, New York. The school is composed of an undergraduate and graduate program. NYU Stern is known for its study abroad program that allows third years to explore international business companies. Using a holistic basis, 19.5% of the applicants for the 2012-2013 school year were accepted.

Business School

1. Tell us a little bit about what factors made you decide to attend a school specifically tailored for business studies instead of a liberal arts college. If you could also explain the difference between a liberal arts school and a business school.
I’ve always known I wanted to study business. I’m not an artsy person and have never been into science or anything else so my mind was pretty much set on business school for as long as I can remember. When the time came for me to seriously start looking at potential schools, I started by researching the universities with the best undergraduate business programs and went on from there. I never considered liberal arts colleges so I don’t know enough to tell you what the difference between that and business school is.
2. What is your official major? What kind of classes have you taken so far? Which ones have fascinated you?
My official major is Finance with a minor in French. I have two sets of requirements I have to fulfill. I took my core requirements (calculus, science, writing classes…), common amongst all NYU students, my freshman year. Then, I have Stern requirements, which are not necessarily related to my major, such as Marketing, Operations, Management, Statistics and Accounting. My favorite class so far, which I’m currently taking, is called Economics of Global Business (EGB). The name practically explains what the class is about; we discuss major macroeconomic issues around the world. It’s one of those classes where you truly feel is useful even outside the classroom. When I watched the republican debate, had I not been taking that class, I would not have been able to understand most if not any of the concepts the candidates were talking about.

3. Throughout your experience at Stern, was there ever a time when you questioned whether a business major was good for you? 
I never questioned whether I wanted to be a business student or not. However, during the spring semester of my sophomore year, I took my first marketing class and I was very much inclined to switch my major from finance to marketing. I spoke to a lot of family members about it and ultimately it came down to which degree would be more useful when it was time to find a job, which is undoubtedly finance. Marketing is more theoretical, whereas in finance you learn skills. It would be easier for me to work in marketing with a finance degree then to work in finance with a marketing degree, so I went with finance.

4. What sorts of internships have you had so far? How did you go about acquiring them?
I’ve only done two internships so far. The first one I got out of pure luck. My school was holding a women empowerment event and I met an executive there who offered me an internship. She was VP of Operations at Blue Flame, a marketing agency owned by P Diddy. So as you can imagine I was very exciting. I was technically supposed to be a finance intern but ended up being sort of an assistant to her and a couple other executives. My tasks included making check request forms and filing them to the finance department, doing expenses for some of the people and also doing a lot of a research. They were currently working on the unveiling of the new ad for Ciroc, which took place in Times Square, so I got a glimpse of what goes into making an ad campaign.
My second internship was over the summer of 2015 and it was at Ernst & Young (Ethiopia). I got it through a connection of my parents. I was a marketing intern with the market research group. Essentially we conducted various feasibility studies for potential investors in Ethiopian industries. My projects included the hotel, construction and high tech industry. I want to say that I learned more in those two months of summer than I ever did in any class.

5. How would you say your college’s location in New York City has helped develop your business education?
I think being at NYU has given me access to professionals that I otherwise would not have access to, specially thanks to the numerous speakers we have on a daily basis. And being in NYC in general has given me more opportunities, as I would not have gotten my first internship had I been in another school. In terms of education I personally don’t think location matters, I could have gone to any number of good schools and received a good education. However, in terms job/internship opportunities and networking I don’t think there is a better place than the financial capital of the country if not the world.

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