It’s often said that word of mouth is the best form of marketing. If so, it’s no wonder Young Sin (Joanna) Kim decided to enroll in the Zicklin School’s Master of Science program in finance — her own sister, Young Seo (Deanna) recommended it.
The Kim sisters were both born in South Korea and came to the U.S. as children with their parents, settling in northern New Jersey. Like many immigrants before her, Deanna — who’s three years older — eventually made her way to Baruch College and the Zicklin School. She cites the usual reasons for doing so: reputation, location (just 40 minutes from her home in Bergen County), and affordability.
While working toward her BBA in accountancy, Deanna landed an internship at LG Electronics preparing tax statements for the company. That turned into a full-time job after her graduation in 2018. She stayed on at LG for a year and a half, then returned to the Zicklin School full time for her MS in taxation, which she completed in 2020.
Joanna, meanwhile, was following a different path. After graduating from a public university in New Jersey in 2020, she found a job at a cosmetics manufacturing lab, where she got involved in analyzing data and profitability for top beauty brands. That experience inspired her to switch careers to finance. But having not taken a single business class in college, she was intimidated.
That’s when Deanna offered some sisterly advice.
“I thought, ‘Why not the Zicklin School?’” Deanna says. “It’s in the heart of New York City, it’s affordable, and it has a great reputation in finance, which was what she wanted to study. Also, there are so many opportunities at the school and everyone is friendly and wants to help.”
Joanna took Deanna’s advice and is delighted she did so. “I like everything about the program — the curriculum, the professors, and my cohort,” she says. “Zicklin has great resources for career changers and international students like me.” She’s immersed herself in those resources, serving as a Graduate Student Ambassador, graduate teaching assistant, and assistant treasurer of Graduate Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for students in accounting, finance, and information systems.
After receiving her permanent residency earlier this year, Deanna hopes to return to her career in corporate taxation.
Joanna, meanwhile, is looking forward to her upcoming summer internship at Wiley, the academic publishing company. “The MS in finance program is STEM-certified, which means I’m eligible to work for three years of OPT [optional practical training],” she explains. “And of course, I hope to find a company that will sponsor me — just like my sister did.”