Andrea Wagonseller had a lot of good reasons to pursue her MBA. As Assistant Vice President at M&T Bank, she wanted to expand her business knowledge and credentials, gain exposure to different industries, and understand the new ideas and innovations being embraced by businesses across the globe.

But according to Andrea, one of the most significant aspects of attending NYU Stern Westchester has been the ability to meet, interact with and learn from the other students in the program.

“My classmates have these incredibly prestigious jobs, and they still find time to be involved in the student community and pursue their own interests. They’re also from all over the world, so they have professional and personal stories that are really fascinating and inspiring.”

The central Ohio native and marathon runner brings her own unique perspective to the program. Originally from a tiny town in the Midwest, Andrea attended the University of Rochester before ultimately joining M&T in Buffalo. She was promoted and relocated to Westchester after six months, where she manages her own branch in downtown White Plains.

Her attraction to M&T – as with NYU Stern Westchester – had a lot to do with personal relationships.

“The bank’s motto – ‘Understanding What’s Important’ – is central to how M&T does business. There’s a laser-like focus on customer relationships and that has helped us expand and stay solvent, even during the banking crisis.”

M&T provides Andrea with both the financial support and the flexibility to pursue her business degree, a goal she’s had since her undergraduate days. In fact, Andrea chose to apply for her position at the White Plains branch in part because of its proximity to NYU Stern Westchester – even though it was three years before she ultimately applied and entered the program.

“I come from a family that has always valued education and the doors that it can open for you,” she recalls. “When I was looking at different opportunities at M&T, I noticed some openings in Westchester. And when I heard Stern had a Westchester program – and that I could get a business education from a top-tier school close to where I would be working – I knew that it would be perfect for me.”

Ultimately, NYU Stern in Westchester was the only MBA program to which Andrea applied, with reputation, flexibility, convenience and access to high quality faculty and a global alumni network being the major factors in her decision to enroll in the program. So far, the experience hasn’t disappointed.

“The classes have been wonderful, particularly the more strategic ones like Leadership Models with Kabi and Professor Marciano’s Strategy classes,” she says. “The education doesn’t only teach you about business, but it also really tends to draw out of you what you want to become. We’re encouraged to think deeply about what we’re doing, where we want to go and what our own personal values are.”