MBA Student Elizabeth Alpern Named to Forbes "30 Under 30"
Student entrepreneurs at Baruch College often find success when their business idea becomes a reality. Sometimes that success earns high-profile recognition by the business industry.
Such is the case for Elizabeth Alpern, a student in the part-time MBA program in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. The entrepreneurship major, who plans to graduate in May 2015, was recently named to Forbes “30 Under 30” in the category of “Food and Wine.”
Elizabeth and her business partner Jeffrey Yoskowitz, opened their business The Gefilteria, in Brooklyn, NY in 2012. The Gefilteria offers Old World Jewish foods, like gefilte fish, borscht and kvass, to the modern world. Their products are available in stores throughout the New York Metro Area and in other cities including Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; and Los Angeles, CA. Their products can also be purchased online and shipped nationwide.
“Jeffrey and I are honored to have been selected for the list alongside so many other great folks in the food world.” says Elizabeth of the recognition by Forbes. “The outpouring of enthusiasm from our fans and friends has been particularly meaningful to us. When we began, we couldn't have imagined that so many people would share our desire to reimagine and update these Old World Jewish Foods! We are truly grateful to be recognized as the gefilte people.”
Before she co-launched The Gefilteria, Elizabeth was working as a recipe tester, baker and events coordinator in Brooklyn.
“I always had a passion for traditional Eastern European Jewish foods but I didn't see any artisan versions of these foods on the market,” Elizabeth says. “My business partner and I came together over a love of these foods and because we wanted to make sure that these foods stayed relevant to our generation.”
Elizabeth and Jeff launched The Gefilteria with a pop-up cafe in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.
“We expected some friends to come out and support us but nothing more,” Elizabeth says. “To our surprise, the launch party turned out to be a huge event and we were in The New York Times the next week. We went on to sell out of our products during our first two holiday product runs. Our greatest success has been the constant encouragement we receive from people who share our passion for and interest in this food.”
Elizabeth admits she started the business with very little business knowledge or experience, but she has been able expand her knowledge and learn skills through Baruch College’s MBA Program.
“I was an ambitious cook but I knew that I had a lot to learn,” Elizabeth says. “I came to Baruch to get solid analytical skills for making business decisions. I am now in my second year here and I have not been disappointed. Much of what I learn in class translates directly to my business.
“Running your own business brings many new challenges a day. Nothing happens easily and everything is harder than you think it will be,” Elizabeth adds. “So far, my education at Baruch has given me many of the tools I need to deal with these daily challenges, from accounting to marketing to operations.”
Elizabeth offers some advice to other entrepreneurs who are eager to launch their business.
“First, think critically about what skills you bring to the table and what skills you'll need to gain or outsource in order to create your business,” Elizabeth says. “Second, have fun with your business. It will probably dominate your life for a long time, so make sure you can still enjoy it. Third, think critically about the level of risk you are comfortable taking on. If you have partners, make sure you discuss this openly and often. Entrepreneurship is risky, so it is critical to be aware of how much risk you are willing to take on, financial and otherwise, in starting your business.”
About Baruch College:
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world.Â For more about Baruch College, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/.
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