2020 Best & Brightest: Kaelyn Patel, Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick

Kaelyn Patel

Rutgers Business School, New Brunswick

I am sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.”

Fun fact about yourself: I attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where I was an active duty member of the United States Navy.

Hometown: South Brunswick, New Jersey

High School: Rutgers Preparatory School – Somerset, New Jersey

Major: Business Analytics and Information Technology

Minor: Concentration in Global Business

Favorite Business Course: Global Management and Strategy

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Squad Leader at United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar
  • Member of Women’s Club Lacrosse Team
  • Ambassador for Rutgers Business School
  • Member, Beta Gamma Sigma (international business honors society)
  • Scarlet Ambassador, Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions
  • Mentor, Women in Business program
  • Published author, United Nations Aim2Flourish

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Cisco Systems: New York, New York – Technical Sales Engineer Intern in the Early in University Internship Program
  • Cisco Systems: San Jose, California – Field Sales Engineer Intern in the Global Sales Internship Program

Where will you be working after graduation? Cisco Systems: Raleigh, North Carolina – Associate Sales Engineer in the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP)

What company do you admire the most? I admire Cisco Systems the most because the solutions and architectures that the company has pioneered are changing the world for the better. Cisco not only helps companies make money and save money by mitigating risk, it also helps people around the world enhance their quality of life. Corporate social responsibility is at the heart of every sale and action taken on by Cisco, and the company is making a positive impact on the world every day by connecting the unconnected.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Marvin Helgeson was my favorite professor at Rutgers because I genuinely looked forward to going to his class every Monday night and seeing the smile on his face. He had so much passion and excitement to teach the class and it made me even more interested in the subject matter. His real world experience and stories that he would share made him extremely credible and relatable to all of the students. He made me love to learn this subject.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The network of friends that I was able to build at Rutgers Business School completely changed my college experience. I met some of my best friends in classes, and I loved the collaborative environment, while still being competitive, and feeling really special to belong to such a close knit and elite school at Rutgers.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is that the most important thing to remember is to act ethically and with integrity. Customers, coworkers, and shareholders will always value this first-and-foremost. It is of the utmost importance in today’s age to always be transparent and honest and law-abiding.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Something that surprised me about majoring in business was how much technology has taken over the business curriculum. Every course I took had some element of technology or software that was incorporated to better prepare us for the tech-driven business environment of the present and future. I chose the Business Analytics and Information Technology major at the Rutgers Business School because I always wanted to put myself at the intersection of business and technology. I quickly learned that the Rutgers Business School core curriculum actually incorporates technology in all of the classes and majors, which I found surprising, and extremely rewarding.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? There were a lot of people in my life that didn’t believe I would complete boot camp, also known as Plebe Summer, at the United States Naval Academy. For a lot of my senior year of high school, I believed them. I didn’t know completely what I was signing up for and I wasn’t sure if I was mentally or physically strong enough to get through it. I prepared as much as possible, but I think Plebe Summer is something you can never fully prepare yourself for. The long days, blazing heat, physical strain, and mental hardship that you undergo during Plebe Summer is truly meant to break you down as a civilian and then build you back up as a future Naval officer. My privileged and “easy” life beforehand had a lot of people doubting my ability to get through it. Finishing Plebe Summer and officially joining the Brigade of Midshipman at USNA is my proudest achievement. It was the hardest, longest, and most exhausting 6 weeks of my life, but I came out alive in the end and I am a better person because of it. I know now that if I could get through that, I am capable of anything I set my mind to doing. I proved everyone wrong, including myself, and this experience and achievement is something I will always carry with me.

Which classmate do you most admire? Rutgers Business School senior Paige Nardella is the person I most admire at the business school. She has overcome a lot of hardship in her life and works hard every single day to achieve all that she is. She always puts others first and is the most selfless person I have ever met. I know I can always rely on her for help with school or in my personal life. Paige puts in a lot of hours of work to be the best she can be and is always ready to participate in class and ask the questions others are too timid to ask. Her charisma and kind heart will carry her far in life, and she will be an asset to whatever company she will work for after graduation.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Christine Yannuzzi, an admissions officer at the Rutgers Business School, is the person I want to thank most for my success. She took me under her wing from the moment I expressed interest in transferring to Rutgers Business School and helped me make a plan to achieve my goals every step of the way. She is my biggest supporter and advocate, and I would not have achieved everything I have without her guidance. She is my biggest cheerleader and believes in my potential sometimes even more than I do. I know I can always go to her with all of the good and the bad, and she has truly been my rock through my entire experience at Rutgers.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. I would like to get my MBA from a top business school in my 20’s and graduate with the highest honors.
  2. One day, I would like to work in the C-suite of a Fortune 100 company.

What are your hobbies? I love playing sports, especially lacrosse and soccer. (I have been an athlete my entire life.) I also enjoy reading biographies and mystery novels, hanging out with my friends, traveling, and staying active.

What makes Kaelyn such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?

“I was first introduced to Kaelyn Patel in the Spring of 2017. She was transitioning out of the Naval Academy, exploring her options as a civilian, and researching which university would best suit her academic and professional goals. Kaelyn visited Rutgers Business School (RBS), and together we constructed a plan to get her to RBS without losing any momentum, time, or credits in earning her degree.

A review of Kaelyn’s Naval transcript revealed she would not be able to directly matriculate to RBS. Our plan was to have her start at Middlesex County College, complete her associate’s degree, and then transfer to RBS. She was diligent with her coursework there, earning a 4.0 GPA and induction into Phi Theta Kappa’s honor society. This was only the beginning.

Kaelyn enrolled at Rutgers and became an official Scarlet Knight in Fall 2018 declaring herself a BAIT major with a concentration in Global Business. Her acceptance to RBS, along with her incredible persistence and academic rigor, earned her an early internship for the summer of 2018 at Cisco Systems as a technical sales engineer. Kaelyn not only boasts an impressive GPA, currently a 3.82, but has also immersed herself into the culture of Rutgers and RBS. She is a Scarlet Ambassador for the University, leading campus tours, answering questions, and serving as the face of Rutgers at the University Visitor’s Center. She is also an RBS Ambassador, providing building tours, and serving on RBS student panels during information sessions. Kaelyn also plays club Lacrosse and serves as a mentor for Women Build. This past summer she earned another spot at Cisco Systems as a field sales engineer and was offered a full-time position in October 2019. Kaelyn was also inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) this fall, securing her spot as one of the top-ranked students in RBS.

It has been a pleasure and an honor watching Kaelyn grow as a student and person.”

Christine Yannuzzi
Admissions Officer
Office of Undergraduate Programs
Rutgers Business School – New Brunswick




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