George Mason University

News at Mason

Residency Lets Students Learn from Alumni Business Leaders, Witness NYSE History

October 8, 2014

By Jennifer Kleiner

George Mason MBA students visited the New York Stock Exchange on the day that Alibaba held its public offering. Photo provided.

George Mason MBA students visited the New York Stock Exchange on the day that Alibaba held its public offering. Photo provided.

While George Mason University MBA students enjoy stimulating and rigorous days in the classroom, they also get to see theory in practice during the program’s annual residencies. Each year, the students take a two-day trip to New York City to meet and network with business leaders and alumni in a variety of industries. This year, they met with notable business leaders—all of whom happen to be George Mason alumni—at Bloomberg L.P., Estee Lauder Companies and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and witnessed a momentous day for the New York Stock Exchange.

This year’s NYC residency, organized by the MBA Student Association, kicked off with a meeting with Mason alumna Emily Yurachek, MA Psychology ’01. As the instructional design lead on the Learning, Leadership, and Organizational Development team at Bloomberg, Yurachek spoke with the students about leadership, organizational development and the importance of telling your own story when searching for your career. She also led them on a tour of the Bloomberg headquarters, where they learned the history of the organization.

Later, the group met with the chief technology officer of Estee Lauder Companies Rhonda Vetere, BA Speech Communication ’93. Known for her ability to move enterprise IT through global change and implement more effective processes, Vetere emphasized the dramatic growth in the use of technology to meet a range of business needs. She described technology’s crucial role at Estee Lauder in such areas as back-end infrastructure and product distribution.

The group ended its first day with an MBA alumni happy hour at the Wheeltapper Pub in Manhattan, where students networked with local alumni, including one of the area’s alumni relations advocates, Stan Bernard, MS Technology Management ’01.

George Mason MBA students visit PricewaterhouseCoopers on their annual New York residency. Photo provided

George Mason MBA students visit PricewaterhouseCoopers on their annual New York residency. Photo provided

Students got an early start on day two by meeting with Christ Economos, BS Accounting ’84. As a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Economos serves as the firm’s U.S. deputy tax leader, and is responsible for its industry sectors, human resources services and business development. He also serves as the global tax leader of technology, media and telecommunications, and leads global teams that serve the firm’s largest clients in these industry sectors. Thanks to his numerous roles and broad expertise, Economos provided the group with a fascinating perspective on financial accounting and U.S. tax services.

The residency came to a close with a tour of the New York Stock Exchange on one of the most exciting days in recent history. Online marketplace company Alibaba was released that day, with a record-breaking initial public offering. Said to be larger than all American e-commerce giants combined, Alibaba is potentially the biggest technology initial public offering of all time. On this significant day in the exchange’s history, students shadowed and asked questions of a dedicated market maker on the stock exchange floor.

MBA Student Association president Amalia Kruszel says the networking opportunities and real-world experience of this annual residency are proving to be invaluable to students’ current and future place in the business world.

“The annual NYC residency is a wonderful opportunity for all Mason MBA students,” she says, “but especially those who are looking to make a career change and may not know yet what they’d like to do with their MBA.”