Alumni Share Their Career Paths in the Popular Alumni Insights Series

The virtual program offers an informal way of learning about a company or industry from an alum
Photo of the Stern campus


One of the big benefits of graduating from NYU Stern is having access to lifelong career support, from career coaching and resume assistance to programs that help support career pivots. A couple of years ago, the Careers Team Working Professionals group at NYU Stern introduced the virtual Alumni Insights Series to help promote networking. 


They invited alumni hosts to share their career expertise in a relaxed setting, allowing alumni and part-time and executive MBA students to learn about an alum's career path within a specific industry or function. The sessions are highly interactive, where the alum host provides insight and promotes networking with the attendees. A career coach is also present to help facilitate conversation and provide further insight. The series takes place monthly and garners 30-100 attendees.


“The format is a great opportunity for alumni to give back to Stern in a very specific way — by helping students and alumni advance their career understanding and give advice for success by sharing their stories, ” said Julia Macleod, an associate director and career coach with the Working Professionals team. 


“The conversation between the guest alum and the attendees, who share similar career goals, is a helpful connector and encourages networking. We are always looking for alumni to volunteer to share their career stories, and over the past two years, we've had folks from across industries,” said Julia.


Participants Appreciate the Relatable and Candid Insights

A feedback survey from alumni and student participants was very positive. Respondents shared that it is helpful to hear directly from “someone who successfully achieved something I’d like to do.” Another said that the session was motivating, and liked the message that “every effort adds up, even if the pivot happens in a different way than expected.” Others shared that they appreciated how one alumna was so candid about her struggles and challenges that she faced along the way.


Alumni Volunteers Enjoy Giving Back

One of the alumni volunteers, Robin Helfer (MBA ’01), Chief Financial Officer and Operations Officer at Ashley Stewart, explained that Stern empowered her with the tools, network, and confidence to become a C-Suite leader. She volunteered to be a part of the Alumni Insights Series to give back to the next generation of Stern students and alumni and to share her experiences becoming a CFO and COO.


Similarly, Melanie Schutt (MBA ’05), a marketing consultant and founder at Spring Street, who shared her insights about a corporate career compared to an entrepreneurial path, said that one of her favorite things about Stern is the alumni community and the abundance of resources it provided her. She was excited to return the favor to current students by providing career guidance. 


Jamal Brown (MBA ’20), executive director of Legal, Technology, Operations and Knowledge Management at JPMorgan Chase, had navigated a career pivot from entertainment and media to finance. He was delighted to participate in the Alumni Insight Series because “it was a great way to give to a community that provided me with rich resources and continues to enable my professional growth.”


The Careers Team at Stern is grateful for all the alumni who have participated in the Alumni Insights series over the last two years, and encourages others to reach out if they would like to volunteer.


Interested in volunteering to host a session?

To volunteer to host a session and share your career insights, please contact career coach Julia Macleod at

Watch for email invitations to upcoming Alumni Insights in the fall or visit the Careers Team focused on Working Professionals website.


Alumni Volunteers from 2022-23


Jamal Brown (MBA ’20)

Executive Director of Legal, Technology, Operations and Knowledge Management at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Topic: Navigating a pivot from entertainment/media to finance


Charlie Flynn (MBA ’95)

Founder at Tech Outlook LLC

Topic: Taking risks to advance a diverse career


Soumya Gollamudi (MBA ’22)

Advisory Manager at Deloitte Consulting

Topic: Pivoting from engineering to baking and consulting


Robin Helfer (MBA ’01)

Chief Financial Officer and Operations Officer at Ashley Stewart, Inc.

Topic: Becoming a COO/CFO


Abby Horowitz (MBA ’20)

Communications & Change Program Manager of Strategy & Innovation at Google

Topic: Pivoting from the nonprofit sector to tech


Aaron Hu (BA ’18)

Founder, Chairman & President at Yanrong Life Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.

Topic: Expertise in entrepreneurship


Sneha Mathew (MBA ’18)

Strategy & Operations, Google and Startup Mentor at Techstars

Topic: External strategy roles vs. internal strategy positions


Melanie Schutt (MBA ’05)

Marketing Consultant and Founder at Spring Street

Topic: Marketing/branding and corporate vs. entrepreneurial careers


Elyse Stines (MBA ’19)

Strategy and Planning at Breakthru Beverage

Topic: Pivoting from public to private sector with a focus on strategy




Alumni Volunteers from 2021-2022


Dana Fortini (BS ’08)

Digital Marketing and Product Management Lead at Citi

Topic: Industry insights in digital marketing


Kavitha Kurella (MBA ’17)

Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Merchant Services at Citizens Commercial Banking

Topic: Transitioning from consulting to finance


Omar Muneeruddin (MBA ’16)

Commercial Manager and Chief of Staff at NGV US Northeast, National Grid

Topic: Insights in the clean energy and renewables industry 


Lisa Routel (MBA ’08)

Marketing Strategy Lead at Verizon Up

Topic: Transitioning from pharma to retail, then tech