Stern Correspondent: Interview With Recent Alums

First things first, welcome back! The new semester is upon us at NYU Stern, and so is a new semester full of content. To kick things off this year, we thought who better to look to for advice and perspective than our own recent graduates! With four years under their belt, they know the ins-and-outs of NYU Stern better than anyone. Nicole Rodriguez, Justin Lochan, and Dana Li all graduated as part of the Class of 2018, and have just recently begun working in different industries in New York City. So, we reached out and asked them to reflect on their time at NYU Stern.

What did you concentrate in?

Nicole: Marketing, Computing & Data Science

Justin: Marketing and Management, with a track in Luxury Marketing

Dana: Management and Marketing

Nicole Rodriguez. Courtesy photo

What will you miss most about NYU Stern?

Nicole: I’ll miss being an orientation leader! I met my best friend and current roommate in my cohort during my first-year orientation and we both went on to be orientation leaders together the next year. I’ve met so many of my closest friends doing so and always loved being able to welcome the new first-years to Stern and New York City! Oh, and of course I’ll miss Waffle Wednesdays.

Justin: The greatest aspect about Stern that I will miss the most are the people. Throughout my four years at the university, I met so many incredible people from all walks of life and made life-long friends. It’s difficult not to see all of these people on a daily basis, but thankfully everyone is just a phone call or subway ride away.

Dana: I really miss the vibrant and diverse community at Stern. One of my favorite things about Stern while I was there was how no two students had the same story. Out of the people that I have met at Stern, each person has had their own background that makes them truly unique whether its their personality, culture, goals, interests, etc. Even so, everyone was incredibly ambitious and motivated to constantly strive to make the most of opportunities and make an impact in their own way and inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone and pursue opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

What is next and where are you now?

Nicole: I just started in August as a Product Marketing Analyst at American Express in New York City. I interned at American Express my junior summer and am super excited to be back!

Justin: I am currently the Assistant Buyer for Ready to Wear Day Dresses at Macy’s. Essentially I help my team manage a 30 vendor world through assortment curation, projecting future sales of our departments, and monitoring our current selling to see where we can grow our business. It’s honestly a dream come true to be working for a major retailer in the heart of my favorite city.

Dana: I’m currently working at Accenture as a management consulting analyst. I’ve worked primarily with clients in media, retail, and telecom industries and within the digital marketing space.

Best opportunity you had while at NYU Stern/greatest memory?

Dana Li. Courtesy photo

Nicole: Definitely all of the travel opportunities I was able to take advantage of. I came to NYU without a passport and left having studied abroad in Madrid, going on International Studies Program (ISP) Chile, and spending a January in India with Stern Around the World. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity getting to travel the world with some of my closest friends.

Justin: Of all the things I accomplished at Stern, my favorite would have to be serving on Stern’s first Health and Wellness Committee. The committee’s goal is to increase awareness of health and wellness topics within the greater Stern student body on topics ranging from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders, and safe sex choices. While on this board I was able promote positive awareness on health and wellness especially during the most stressful times in a student’s career such as midterms, finals, and recruiting season. The joy that I received from helping other students on their own journeys will forever be a lasting memory of my time at Stern.

Dana: The greatest opportunity I had at Stern was being a part of the Peer Mentor program. As a Consulting Peer Mentor, I provided guidance for students regarding classes, on-campus organizations, and professional development with a focus on the consulting industry. Mentorship has always meant a lot to me and my mentors from when I was an underclassman is the reason why I have been able to accomplish so much during my time at Stern. It was great that I had an opportunity to give back to the Stern community to help students with the same experiences I had when I was in their shoes not too long ago.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

Nicole: I am still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, but hopefully in five to ten years I will have worked abroad for some time and own a dog.

Justin: Going forward, I always keep an open mind about where the future will take me. Currently my goal is to become a visionary buyer of a luxury menswear retailer. However, recently I have gained an interest in retail consulting and human resources which could lead me into a different direction. Ultimately I aspire to be the first Guyanese CMO of a major retailer.

Dana: To be honest, I don’t have a firm plan for my future, but I really enjoy the uncertainty. I’ve been thinking about going back to school to get a law degree since I realized that I am interested in studying law and seeing how I can leverage that with my business background in the future. Maybe that will be next, but who knows?

One piece of advice you would give to incoming/current NYU Stern students?

Nicole: Chart your own path! It’s so easy to try to stick to the status quo and do things because you think that’s what’s expected of you and “everyone else is doing it.” Now is the time in your life to take risks and explore what really inspires you. Be adventurous and say yes to (almost) everything — in the end, it is only the things that you didn’t do that you regret. Lastly, take it easy and be kind to yourself. College is supposed to be fun!

Justin: If there was one thing I could tell any incoming or current Stern students, it would be to “be your unique self.” Oftentimes, students follow the masses into certain business concentrations or careers which are not ideal for who they are. I urge students to take the first two or three years while at Stern to reflect on what really sparks their business mindset and how that fire aligns with their core values. With this motto in mind, I was able to find an industry which engaged me both creatively and analytically.


As I go into my final semester here at NYU, I have to say that I agree with all the advice and reflections made by these recent graduates. However, I would like to add one piece of advice: do not rush. That may seem very vague, but as my time at Stern comes to an end, I realize there are so many opportunities I said no to or didn’t explore because I thought it was a “waste of time.” Make the most of the four years you have and don’t feel pressure from your peers or family to do something that won’t make you happy in the long-run.

And of course, with a new semester comes even more exciting events, classes, and more! One specifically I am excited about is a trip to Broadway to see Aladdin! Thanks to the Cohen Arts and Culture Experience (or CACE), students have the chance to go to events around NYC for free. During my last semester, you can bet I will be taking full advantage of all of those experiences!


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.