2017 Best EMBAs: Miri Rosner, Georgetown (McDonough) and ESADE

Miri Rosner

Georgetown McDonough School of Business | ESADE School of Business

“I am energetic and goal-oriented, grounded in tradition and family values.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Family Members: Moshe and Malka Rosner – the most amazing and supporting parents – with an immediate family of 15 siblings and niblings. The guiding star of our family is my 90-year-old old grandmother, a Holocaust survivor who epitomizes compassion, resilience, and perseverance.

Fun fact about yourself: I’m 5’3”, but have been told that I still manage to intimidate people with my “verbal RPM”.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Touro College, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Where are you currently working? AST Financial, Chief Administrative Officer

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: My extracurricular activities have mostly been centered in adding value in the small ways I can across multiple organizations that either help children (struggling with health or family challenges) or adults (seeking to learn more through higher education or religious pursuit). Over the last fifteen years, I’ve done the following:

  • Organized various events for children struggling with cancer or terminal illness.
  • Organized events distributing gifts over Chanukah to children from broken homes who might not otherwise receive a gift.
  • Taught basic Hebrew reading and religious studies at a Jewish outreach center to professionals who are seeking to explore their Jewish heritage.
  • Organized an airlift for both wounded soldiers in Landstuhl (medical supplies) and children in Kabul (school supplies).
  • Coordinated a program linking AST colleagues with a freshmen seminar at a local community college to help inspire and support freshmen students at risk of dropping out due to their struggles in juggling many commitments.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? To date, I consider my greatest academic achievement to be my nomination for publication in this acclaimed forum from amongst a cohort I greatly admire.

I am also proud that my decision to pursue my MBA has inspired peers around me to follow suit.  Two of my colleagues have now either applied to or enrolled in Executive MBA programs for the next academic year.

Additionally, I have taken part in GEMBA’s Legacy program (“an initiative from GEMBA students to highlight the values of solidarity and justice within the GEMBA program”), and I look forward to the positive difference it will make to migrants and refugees.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At the age of twenty-seven, I found myself in a management role, responsible for twenty developers and thus, all aspects of system and application development and maintenance for my company. Over the last eight years, I have played a strategic role as AST has grown from three hundred employees to more than eleven hundred, while tripling its earnings and expanding its product set to a full-service offering for public companies and their shareholders. I established the PMO office for our organization which was responsible for key system and regulatory implementations, data center migrations, the due diligence of thirteen acquisition considerations, and the integration of six completed transactions across North America.

By the time I applied to Georgetown in 2016, I was dubbed “Chief of Staff” for our Chief Operating Officer, responsible for an organization of more than six hundred employees spanning Issuer and Shareholder Services, Print and Mail Services, Call Center Utility (including NYC’s 311 overflow facility), Relationship Management, Product and Project Management, Facilities Management, Vendor Management, as well as IT and Information Security.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This was a tough question because I truly believe that almost all of the professors I’ve encountered this year have been superb and candidates as “favorite.” The one(s) who stand out, perhaps because they created an energy that was unique to them (and one I would love to mimic if I was ever to teach a class!), were a “tag team” who taught Global Operations and Supply Chain.

Professors Kasra Ferdows and Ricardo Ernst of Georgetown taught this class. Both possessed tremendous intellectual depth and commitment to the subject matter.  Moreover, their energy and respect towards each other, as they taught, created life and excitement in the class.  While thoroughly enjoying the class, each student still walked away having learned a great deal about a complex topic.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?  Our Consulting Project Practicum project revolved around technology innovation for a Product Engineering and R&D firm based in India. This was coupled with the class in Technology and Knowledge Management. The combination reignited my interest in technology, but from the angle of strategic leadership of a global enterprise.

In order to succeed as a leader in today’s competitive global economy, one must keep a finger on the pulse of disruptions stemming from technology. In class, I studied the innovation success of companies like Google and learned about the practical application of technology in every sector. This created a new space for me to consider future opportunities.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? There were several factors that influenced my decision to choose the Georgetown|ESADE GEMBA Program. First, I attribute my ability to attend this program (and achieve a longtime dream!) to the arrival of an executive at AST, who quickly became a mentor to me. She was the one who, unknown to me at first, proposed to the CEO that the company make the investment in furthering my development in a meaningful way. If not for her recommendation, I’m not sure that this opportunity would have actually come to pass at a company that had not previously considered this. She was also, incidentally, a Georgetown alumna! So, when I shared with her that I was thinking of this GEMBA program, I can essentially say, the rest is history.

The reason, however, that I first discovered the program, aside from their brand name and my interest in a successful global program, is closely tied to the values that Georgetown’s Jesuit influence embodies. The notion of “educating men and women to serve others in the world and providing opportunities for intellectual, spiritual and moral growth” is one that resonates with many of the values I strive for as an Orthodox Jew. Further, the school had committed to accommodating my observance of the Sabbath, holidays and Kosher diet. While this was an influence in selecting this program, the support that has actually followed, by the program coordinators as well as the professors, has far exceeded any expectation. I attribute so much of my success in this program to this support, and I thank both Georgetown and ESADE for it.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? First, it is difficult to compare my MBA experience to a typical classroom experience. The hands-on learning on the ground in a region to which we traveled, as well as the insights from executives and professors who are living and breathing the content they shared, was invaluable.

Further, the exposure to such a culturally and professionally diverse cohort has been one of the most amazing parts of this program.  In my personal statement, I had initially shared that the opportunity to interact with a diverse cohort of achievers that this program attracts was another reason I desired to join, and this too, was an expectation that did not disappoint!

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Murphy’s Law struck this year, and during a time when work and school alone had me burning the candle on both ends, there were a few personal events that were taking place, at a flight’s distance, that I did not want to miss.

First, my dearest friend in Australia was planning a third birthday party for her daughter. This was a special moment for many reasons, and in the interest of not wanting to miss it, I flew to Australia for the weekend, arriving on Friday and leaving first thing Sunday morning. I managed to get through several case study write-ups on the flights alone!

Moreover, my parents decided to dedicate a Torah scroll (a lifelong achievement for many Jews) in memory of our collective extended family who perished in the Holocaust, inclusive of my grandfather’s first wife and six children who did not return from Auschwitz. This was to take place at my grandmother’s home in Israel, just after I returned to work from two weeks of study in Spain, during finals. However, this was something I did not want to miss, and I’m glad I didn’t. Watching my grandmother and her brother cover this Torah scroll for the first time, with a coat engraved with the names of their family members, was probably one of the most inspiring moments in my life. Luckily, it took place over the weekend, and so, it was my quickest trip to Israel, where I stayed for less than 24 hours. I, then, returned in similar fashion for her 90th birthday a few months later, two days before I left for India for an upcoming module.

In continuing this theme, many answers to this questionnaire were in fact compiled on my return flight from a “daytrip” to LA to attend a wedding – a wedding which symbolized a beautiful turn of events for a family dear to me.

So, what did I learn in all this? Life happens and we can be creative about it. Anywhere in the world can be the equivalent of “a bus-ride” away and the commute can be an opportunity to get lots of work done. You just must set your mind to see it as such!

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into your schools executive MBA program?  Show the admission team what makes you unique and what makes you stand out. Embrace those parts of yourself, and reflect how it’s closely tied to your success, both in your resume and personal statement.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Multitasking is a myth! I cannot actually multitask when it comes to learning, reading, researching, studying, etc. I’m simply aggressively single-tasking back-to-back and constantly prioritizing between work, school, and my personal life, and some things will have to give for the duration of the program (gym? what gym?).

What was your biggest regret in business school? The first answer that comes to mind is I wish I had done this sooner. Of course, the thought that follows is that each experience in my life allowed for a much richer experience this year.

So, I’d say that, since I believe multi-tasking to be a myth, I probably did not take as much advantage of the international modules as I could have. I wish I had explored the countries I visited in fuller depth. My advice to future cohorts is to focus on maximizing these trips in whichever way one can.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is another tough question as I have been blessed to be a part of a truly incredible cohort. Of two individuals who come to mind, the common theme between them is the way they stay true to who they are no matter how stressful a situation becomes. They have a high level of intelligence, drive and EQ.  More importantly, they are human beings who show respect to and genuine curiosity in their peers and seek ways to make a positive difference to those around them.

I knew I wanted to go to business school whenI was promoted to manage a full application development team for the first time, and I quickly realized that my background in computer science would, ultimately, not suffice. I knew, that in order to lead, I would have to augment my technical skills and practical experience with the tools that business school provides.”

If I hadnt gone to business school, I would belacking the academic depth and perspective I have gained over the last nine months. I also wouldn’t possess the confidence that I’ve grown into a well-rounded leader with the proper foundations and concepts needed to strategically grow a global organization.”

What is your favorite company and what are they doing that makes them so special? While there isn’t a specific company, I would recognize an organization that has made a huge difference in my community as well as several more around the world. Bonei Olam (whose literal translation means, “building a world”) was started by a couple after facing their own challenges.  It is an organization dedicated to providing fertility treatment funding for those who struggle with infertility.

Over six thousand children have been born to date, thanks to the millions of dollars raised annually towards this cause. Further, “hundreds of genetic research projects and medical breakthroughs, spearheaded by or in collaboration with Bonei Olam, will continue to make parenthood a reality for an infinite number of others beyond Bonei Olam’s circle of direct beneficiaries.”

This is an extraordinary example of the human spirit and highlights the power to transform a personal challenge into an opportunity to make a tremendous positive difference in this world.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?  Ultimately, I seek to bridge my professional and non-profit interests by leading a global organization whose mission statement has personal meaning to me.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? This is a long list and culling it as I have (by narrowing the scope to what has helped me get through GEMBA) will nonetheless make me kick myself later for overlooking someone vital!

My CEO, Brian Longe, and my boss of over seven years, Bob Carney, have been instrumental in making this year a reality for me. Moreover, a major propeller for all of this is the mentor and Georgetown graduate I mentioned earlier, Loretta Mockler.

Throughout this year, my family and so many friends supported me in so many ways. One friend who has been consistent in her daily support is Kerren Bancroft, a brilliant, successful, and most importantly, exceptionally kind woman who joined my team almost two years ago.  We work together daily and (as such) she has provided that constant support on every front.

While seemingly cliché, my parents have truly gone above and beyond the role of any usual parents, not in only in their love, guidance and support for the last thirty five years, but at the level far and beyond even that since I started GEMBA.

Finally, each person is shaped by their history. It is my family’s struggle for their lives in World War II and the Holocaust that created the foreground for my life which consistently seeks meaning and value.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope I’m remembered as someone who makes a positive difference in a meaningful way.

Favorite book:  My favorite book is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. It resonates with my family history.

Favorite movie or television show: I’d have to say Chopped. My affinity for this show is tied to my love of hosting and entertaining.

Favorite musical performer: It is difficult to pick one, but one of my favorite songs is “Time to Say Goodbye”, by Andrea Bocelli.   That said, a close competitor as of late (really, since the passing of Leonard Cohen late last year) is Pentatonix’s version of “Hallelujah”.

Favorite vacation spot: Israel — it brings my family and religion together while bridging traditional and modern culture. Israel also provides so many perfect vacation spots within its borders that can be covered within a five-hour drive.

Hobbies? Hosting and entertaining; organizing events

What made Miri such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Miri Rosner represents many of Georgetown’s defining principles. When we received her application to our GEMBA program, we were impressed by her service to others. Of course, she is an accomplished executive and her supervisors have labelled her a “beautiful mind” able to handle disparate and complex information and provide solutions to the most difficult challenges for her clients and organization. She has played a pivotal role in helping her company grow by size and earnings while overseeing the management of more than 600 employees.

You would expect all nominees to have succesfull professional careers, but where Miri stands out is through her compassionate, caring, and genuine care of others, especially when no one is looking. Despite being extremely busy, Miri has organized events for children of broken homes to give them a sense of normancy. She choreographed and led dance performances to fundraise up to $100,000 for cancer foundation. She created a “Sister to Sister” program partnering families in need with families seking to assist during holiday seasons, and she coordinated airlifts to provide goods to wounded soldiers in Germany and to school children in Afghanistan.

She brings that same spirit to her GEMBA cohort. She has truly a “beautiful mind” whose values aligns well with the Jesuit’s principals of being in service to others and to caring for others.”

Elie Farhat
Associate Dean of Admissions and Executive Outreach