Driven to Succeed

BMW CFO Charlotte Bowman (Executive MBA, ‘15)

Charlotte Bowman learned early on that a well-stocked toolkit is a key component of business success. At her first job, in a deli in a suburban New York mall, she learned about “customer service, reliability, trustworthiness, being prepared—At the time I didn’t realize how valuable the skills you absorb from a retail business at age 17 would be.”

Ms. Bowman has absorbed many new skills en route to becoming CFO at BMW/MINI of Manhattan, a global auto retailer, and the Zicklin School has been a key contributor. “Zicklin is well known in New York for both finance and accounting, and its Executive MBA program intrigued me due to its concentration in international business,” says Bowman, who received her degree in 2015. “In today’s world growing a business happens within an international community, and learning to navigate among all the nuances of the global business landscape is invaluable.”

She notes that the program’s ability to teach real-world scenarios provided her with a strong set of tools to apply in the daily work setting. A course in sustainability, with its holistic focus on maintaining a successful business, was particularly impactful, and her organizational behavior class has shaped her own hiring practices. “Training a process is easy, but attitude is something you cannot change, and it sets the tone for the culture,” she explains. “So I focus much more on the attitude in hiring decisions.”

Besides career-building skills and knowledge, Bowman found mentors at Zicklin who were devoted to providing an education that was valuable, relevant, and challenging in today’s environment—and she’s eager to pay it forward. Her advice to C-suite aspirants? “Stay true to your core values, stay connected, stay flexible … and always be open to giving people a chance to show you how far they can go.”