Najma's Story

I never wanted to take a straight path. I wanted to open as many doors as possible. In considering grad schools, law school and medical school felt straightforward and narrow. I knew that business school would provide opportunities for me to stretch myself and try new things. If I’m not continuously pushing myself and others, I’m not leading.

Stretching myself at Stern means finding ways to influence and mobilize people to change the future for women at Stern. Students have different priorities, and I want to inspire them to get on board. Stern is 70% men/30% women and, as co-president of Stern Women in Business (SWIB), I want to focus not only on expanding the pool of women, but also on helping prospective female applicants realize that business school is something they should consider. We need to create a compelling value proposition and commit to being intentional with how we partner and engage other constituencies.

I have the potential to make a substantial impact at Stern, and I feel a sense of responsibility to improve the experience for my peers and for students who come after me. I view impact in individual terms. If I make one person believe in themselves -- that they can achieve something -- I feel successful.

Professionally, working for start-ups has always given me the opportunity to stretch myself and learn. Start-ups embrace the mindset that people can create and develop independently. There is tremendous value to be realized when you simply have faith in people and when you allow them to fail. I switched roles four times, getting to build new skills and test new ways to communicate. I loved feeling like I was at the forefront of something.

As I consider what’s next, I’m excited to leverage my Stern experience in a role where I can have a positive impact on the world.  I’ll know I’m successful if I’m still growing and pushing myself and others to be all they can be.