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Meet the Class of ’22

September 21, 2021

The Zicklin Marketing & Communications team is working on a new series of video interviews for our #WhyZicklin integrated marketing campaign. From our conversations with MBA and MS students in the Class of ’22, here’s what they shared about their experiences.

“From my first semester, listening to the professors and other students made me feel like, ‘These are my people,’” says Fabianna Rodriguez-Mercado, by day an analyst at Accenture and by night an Evening MBA student who is concentrating in Cybersecurity. “I’m surrounded by like-minded, ambitious people, and that’s pushed me to go further and do more.” Fabianna, who hails from Puerto Rico, is walking her talk: Not only is she President of the MBA Club, she’s also Graduate Director of the ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit and Control Association) Cyber Club.

Mehdi Lahlou Charki came to America from France in 2015 to earn a BBA in Finance at the Zicklin School, then stayed on for an MS in Business Analytics (MSBA). “Zicklin opens its doors to students from many different backgrounds,” Mehdi says. “The MSBA program is very well structured, and because it doesn’t require prior experience in programming and computing, I’ve been able to get comfortable with new skills.”

“It feels like I figured out a secret hack for business school,” laughs Full-Time MBA student Nathan Mills, a former professional oboist with two degrees from the Juilliard School. “Zicklin has created a space where I can aim high and achieve pretty much anything I want without being saddled with heavy student debt. I don’t need to talk to Sallie Mae anymore!” Nathan adds that Zicklin’s diversity was also important to him: “I identify as a gay man, so I wanted a safe space — not a boys’ club, so to speak.”

“I’ve been astounded by how much care is taken to cultivate students both professionally and personally,” notes Carla Aviles Jimenez, a Full-Time MBA student with a background in book publishing. “Zicklin really wants to give us the best education possible and encourages us to take on new challenges.” Carla has done that herself through serving as Executive Vice President of the Zicklin Women in Business club, where she’s helped to build community during the lockdown with creative virtual events, such as a panel discussion with minority women entrepreneurs and online yoga classes to help students de-stress before final exams.

Dan Berkowitz, who is earning an Executive MS degree in Human Resource Management, says his interview with the program’s academic director, Stephan Dilchert, was a decisive factor in his decision to sign up. “At Zicklin, I’m surrounded by really smart people who want me to succeed, and we all help one another on our journey,” he adds. In Dan’s case, others in his cohort with more experience in human resources “give me an insider’s perspective that I wouldn’t be able to get outside the program.”

Devon Carney agrees. “I chose Zicklin for the people,” the Executive MBA student says. She attended orientations at two other business schools in New York, but found them cold by comparison. “Zicklin’s attitude was, ‘We want you to fit in and be happy here,’” says the footwear designer, who just landed a new job at Cole Haan, thanks mainly to her enrollment in the Executive MBA program: “Being in business school is an asset that sets me apart from other designers.”  

And while these students all started their programs during the COVID-19 lockdown, many told us they are now taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions to meet one another in person. “I just got together for drinks and appetizers with six people from my cohort,” says Dan, the human resource management MS student. “I’ve been meeting with classmates and club members for brunch or a cup of wine,” adds Fabianna, the Evening MBA student. “It’s so nice to have that extended community.”

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