How Can You Follow Your Passion to Create a Dream Career?

Lendon Ebbels
NYU Stern Alumni Trisha Goyal Speaks at SternTalks 2017
Recently, 13 NYU Stern alumni came back to campus to deliver SternTalks, a series of Ted Talk-style career presentations that answered this question – and many more – that students ponder as they begin to explore their curriculum and career options.

Trisha Goyal graduated from NYU Stern in 2015. Today, she is a Global Product Manager for ESPN.

In Trisha’s case, her passion has always been sports. From playing tennis with her brother, to high school varsity sports, she recalls how playing sports and rooting for her Philadelphia teams teams helped her family assimilate to western culture from India. To this day, she is awed by the power of sports in bringing communities together.

During her time at NYU Stern, Trisha utilized her classes, clubs activities, and internship opportunities to explore different industries to ultimately find a career path that led her to sports entertainment.

“I was able to use my experience at Stern – where I realized I was interested in digital media – and marry that with my true passion for sports,” she said.

As the Global Product Manager for ESPN’s digital properties, she works with strategists, operations, and content creators to come up with products and features that keep users coming back for more content, while generating value for ESPN.

“Because I had tried and explored all these different things, I was able to pinpoint what I really liked and what I didn’t like. That’s how I was able to end up doing what I’m most passionate about,” Trisha explained.

“You have to like the content that you’re behind. I love sports – and thank goodness, because at ESPN, I’m surrounded by it every day in every corner I turn,” she added.

Trisha wasn’t alone in encouraging students to hone in on their passions. Jennifer Gootman (MBA ’10), Vice President of Social Consciousness & Innovation at West Elm, spoke about shaping her passion to her sustainability-focused role at West Elm. While earning her MBA, Jennifer continued to pursue her lifelong love of craft, specifically jewelry-making. After graduating with her MBA from NYU Stern, she ran a nonprofit organization that connects artisans to external markets, overseeing its business functions including ecommerce, product design, and warehousing. From there, she pitched her job to West Elm, where she now focuses on its fair trade programs, sustainability efforts, and working with local artists to create West Elm products.

She noted how her education at NYU Stern helped her see the business opportunities in sustainability, but that her passion for craft is what has given her a unique edge in her position and why she loves going into work every day.

“I found that first, core passion and interest and expanded it into a job that was the perfect fit for me,” Jennifer shared. “Make it personal.”

In total, 13 alumni came back to speak at SternTalks, which is part of the Cohort Leadership Program, a required first-year course that all students take at NYU Stern Undergraduate College. While students may start college with an idea of what they would like to do, there are so many career possibilities they can pursue beyond the once-traditional business fields. From media, to entrepreneurship, to policy, many doors are available to students upon graduation. According to Assistant Dean Ashish Bhatia (BS ’02), the discussions are designed to give students a crash-course in such industries.

This year, those industries included:
  • Luxury retail
  • FinTech
  • Marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Consulting
  • Tech
  • Entertainment
  • Audit and Tax
  • Investment Banking
  • and more

“This program takes advantage of NYU’s location and the many alumni in the city that are doing really amazing things from tech, to finance, to entertainment,” Assistant Dean Bhatia said. "It’s an opportunity for alumni to come back and share their journeys with students who are just at the beginning of their careers."

For more information about SternTalks and all of this year’s speakers, visit