Spotlight on…Elena Mayer

elenaElena Mayer is pursuing a joint MBA and MPH degree at Columbia.  Read on to learn more about her career at CBS, including her Juranimal stardom!

Why did you choose to come to CBS?

I knew that I wanted an MBA and an MPH (Master’s in Public Health) in order to pursue a career in global health strategy and public private partnerships. Columbia is one of the only schools in the country that offers a top notch program for both and allows you to do them together.

What motivated you to pursue a joint degree program?

In college I studied abroad in Senegal, and I did an independent study there on USAID’s public health clinics and whether they were successful. After that I knew I wanted to work more in the health care access space. Then after college I worked with entrepreneurs and small businesses on behalf of the New York City government, and I got excited about the idea of applying a business management skill set to traditionally public sector problems. The MBA/MPH felt like a unique combination of degrees that could open doors in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

What has been your favorite class or program in either of your programs so far?

At CBS I loved Organizational Change and Launching Social Ventures, and I feel like I learned a lot in Accounting and Corp Fin. At Mailman I am loving a course called Global Health Governance taught by Chelsea Clinton, and a Mailman Core class I took last term on the environmental and biological determinants of health.

What has been your favorite moment at CBS so far?

I sing in Juranimal, and standing at the front of that stage in Uris Deli with a super talented group of friends and musicians jamming out with me is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It makes me feel like a rock star.

What woman (CBS or not) inspires you?

So many women inspire me – where to start?! Malala Yousafzai (the Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner) amazes me with her calm fortitude, and makes me think about how to achieve my goals without needing to be the loudest person in the room. I’m also in awe of Michelle Obama, who manages to creatively advance causes that are important to her in a diplomatic and inclusive way.

What has been most surprising about your CBS experience thus far?

My background is a little non-traditional for business school, and I wasn’t sure I would click with the vibe of any business school community. But I have been completely blown away by how kind and open–minded people are at CBS, by how much help and support I’ve been offered by classmates, and how much fun this entire experience has been.

What advice do you have for someone who is starting an MBA or joint degree program?

I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to take the time to reflect on what you want. The more focused you can be on your main objectives—whatever they are in terms of a career or a grad school experience—the easier it is when inevitably there isn’t time for everything and you have to make trade-offs.

What’s something most of your CBS classmates would be surprised to know about you?

I have a secret love of bad TV. I was super into MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge for years, and bought into a Bachelor pool for a few seasons with my then roommates (including Lauren Gentry, B’16!).

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Spotlight on…Angela Ma ’16

Angela (Angie) Ma serves on the CWiB board as one of our AVPs of Events.  This week sheAngela Ma tells us about why she came to CBS and what she’s most looking forward to.

Why did you choose to come to CBS?

Having spent most of my adult life on the West Coast in California, I wanted to move to the East Coast to experience living in a different community and environment, including the cold winters! My visit to CBS during the application process really solidified the decision in my mind. I met so many wonderful and friendly people who were genuinely interested in fostering a supportive community.

What has been your favorite moment at CBS so far?

My favorite moment(s) at CBS so far have been my classmates’ CBS Matters each week. I learn something new about each person, even those I felt I was already close to, and it has really been a great bonding experience. I am so thankful that each of them have had the courage to reveal personal details about their lives and I am inspired by all of my amazing classmates.

What has been your favorite class or professor at CBS thus far and why?

Professor Singh never fails to keep me awake and engaged through a 3-hour 9am class each week. He really brings the subject to life and I haven’t stopped raving about his class since the first week!

What woman (CBS or not) inspires you?

My mentor back in California really inspires me. She somehow always manages to find time in between taking care of her two babies, traveling for work, being a great friend and managing a household to take care of herself – her health and mental well-being. She constantly strives to do better and always has a smile on her face even through the toughest days.

What are you most looking forward to during your time at CBS?

I look forward to exploring all activities that interest me – whether that be attending more speaker events, joining the Wine Society, spending more time cooking and exploring the city. I know that the two years will fly by quickly, so I am just looking forward to doing as much as I can during my time at CBS.

What’s something most of your CBS classmates would be surprised to know about you?

I think my classmates would be surprised to know that I am actually a big homebody. Although I am out most weekends in social settings, many times I enjoy lounging at home in sweats with a huge tub of Haagen-Daz coffee ice cream.

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7 Reasons to Get Excited for Women’s Week!

Women's Week BannerCWiB is delighted to present Women’s Week 2015, which is starting on Monday February 23rd!  There will be a diverse array of events celebrating the female community at CBS and highlighting the accomplishments of women in the business world.  This year’s theme is In Her Shoes.  In order to get everyone as excited about Women’s Week as we are, we’ve identified seven reasons why you should look forward to Women’s Week.

  1. In Her Shoes Swag: We are giving out tons of free goodies related to the theme of the event. If you haven’t already, stop by our table in Uris Deli from 12:30-2pm during Women’s Week for your shoe laces, fruit by the foot, buttons, and sunglasses!
  2. Women in Finance and Tech Industry Panels: Learn about the careers of women leaders in the finance and tech industries at two panels on Monday night. The tech panel will feature panelists from YouTube,, and other cutting-edge companies.  The finance panel includes women in a variety of finance functions at companies including Wilton Capital Group, Deutsche Bank, Siemens Capital Company, Vistage International, and more.
  3. Learn Why Women Matter: A school-wide CBS Matters will feature presentations from CWiB Co-President Sophia Dadas, Assistant Dean Angela Lee, and Nate Walcker ’15. This is your chance to hear members of the CBS community share why women matter to them.
  4. Empower Your Voice: CWiB members can attend a workshop to improve their public speaking voice and communicate more effectively as a leader. The workshop will be taught by Judith Weinman, a speech and voice coach, and will offer tips and strategies to develop a stronger voice and presence.
  5. Capture Women’s Week at Happy Hour: CWiB will be sponsoring Thursday Night Happy Hour in Uris. In addition to the usual happy hour fun, CWiB will have a photo booth and everyone is encouraged to capture and share the spirit of Women’s Week!
  6. For the Gentlemen–Become a Manbassador: While Women’s Week is focused on celebrating the female community of CBS, we invite all CBS community members—men and women—to promote the advancement of women in business. CBS men can show their support by signing up to become a Manbassador.
  7. Meet Tamara Mellon, Former Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Jimmy Choo: Stand in the shoes of Tamara Mellon at the Fireside Chat, which will be moderated by journalist Alina Cho. Hear what it takes to launch a luxury brand of designer shoes, handbags, and accessories, and get your questions answered at this intimate discussion.

To find out more about the events of Women’s Week, visit our Women’s Week website, where you can find a detailed agenda.  You can also follow our Facebook page to stay up to date on all of the events we have planned.  We hope to see you there!

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Spotlight on…Ann-Marie MacFarlane ’15

This week we are profiling Ann-Marie MacFarlane ’15.  Read on to learn about Ann-Marie’s CBS career thus far, as well as her advice to those starting an MBA program.annemariemacfarlane

Why did you choose to come to CBS?

So many reasons! The People. The City. THE place to be if you, like me, want to do luxury retail in the U.S.

What has been your favorite moment at CBS so far?

My favorite moment was being a Peer Advisor. In particular the last day of orientation, listening to everyone in my rookie cluster give their six-word memoir literally brought tears to my eyes. It is such a beautiful thing when you set out with a goal in mind, and can accomplish it in such a short amount of time, and on top of that I walked away with 70+ wonderful new friends.

What has been your favorite class or professor at CBS thus far and why?

Entertainment Marketing [aka] the celebrity class . It was a much needed joy after finishing the core, and the teacher Jarrod Moses is great at being engaging as well as giving some really practical knowledge about marketing in addition to funny celeb stories.

What does being a CBS Woman mean to you?

It means being able to do anything, and constantly growing by acknowledging that the learning process never stops and comes in many forms – everywhere is the classroom as long as you are open to it. I’ve learned the most from my classmates and other CBS women sitting around a dinner table or grabbing drinks.

What woman (CBS or not) inspires you?

My mother!! Vivacious, smart, kind, and most of all loving.

What has been most surprising or unexpected about your CBS experience?

How much I don’t want it to end! In high school I was ready to graduate, college the same… right now, I want to stay a while longer please!

What is your advice to someone who is starting their MBA program at CBS?

Be quick to accept new experiences, lunch invites, clubs, activities, and very slow to assume dislike or judge people or settings. Essentially be OPEN to the experience of business school, meet new people, diversify your friends, join a club that is new for you… some of the most rewarding moments come from stepping outside your comfort zone.  Also, travel if you can, and intern if you have the time!

What’s something most of your CBS classmates would be surprised to know about you?

I’m an introvert! I love people, but I really need a lot of alone time to recharge so that I can be bubbly and social.

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Women in the News: Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of Bluemercury

Marla Malcolm Beck is the co-founder and CEO of Bluemercury, the largest and fastest growing luxury beauty products and spa retailer in the U.S.  In addition to selling luxury cosmetic brands, Bluemercury also carries M-61, which is the company’s own cosmetics label.

By Gremlin700 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gremlin700 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Bluemercury was recently acquired by Macy’s for $210 Million.  Macy’s intends to bring Bluemercury cosmetics and spa services into its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s retail outlets, in addition to maintaining the Bluemercury stores.  Since Bluemercury also excels in providing superior customer service and helping customers navigate the process of selecting beauty products, Macy’s will also leverage this expertise throughout its many channels.  Bluemercury is positioned for additional growth as a result of the acquisition and its access to Macy’s expansive customer base.

Marla Malcolm Beck co-founded Bluemercury and M-61 Laboratories with her husband Barry Beck.  The idea for Bluemercury came out of Marla Malcolm Beck’s own experiences purchasing cosmetics, which she found to be an inconvenient and unwelcoming.  She founded Bluemercury along with her husband to create a more personalized, friendly experience.  The Bluemercury stores have a more approachable feel than department stores along with a staff that is trained on each of the brands and helps individual customers find the optimal products for their needs.

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